| Artemisinin (Wormwood) | Ashwagandha | Butyrate | Probiotics | NAC (n-acetyl cysteine) | Slippery Elm | Boswellia |
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Supplements for Crohn’s Disease and IBS
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis (UC), are a life-long, chronic, and relapsing problem affecting millions of people worldwide.
The exact causes of Crohn’s disease, or causes of IBS have not been conclusively determined, but there appears to be three main factors that play a role:
- Immune system response: In people with IBD, the immune system may mistake foods as foreign substances, or have an excessive response to microbiota present in the bowel. It then releases antibodies (proteins) to fight off this threat, causing IBD symptoms.
- Environmental influences: Susceptible people (due to genetic predisposition/overactive immune systems) may develop the disease after exposure to environmental triggers such as diet, smoking, stress, and medications such as NSAIDS, antibiotics, and isotretinion.
- Genetics: a number of genes and genetic markers, such as NOD2 and CARD9 have been associated with IBD. It is thought up to 1 in 6 people with IBD have a family history of the disease.
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)is a type of functional gastrointestinal disease, that can alter the bowels function, causing them to contract more or less often than is usual, and is often differentiated into IBSD (IBS- Diarrhea) or IBSC (IBS-Constipation). IBS doesn’t cause actual damage to the intestines like IBD, so scans can’t detect it.
There are medications to treat IBS symptoms, and treat Crohn’s disease symptoms , such as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal cramping, bloating, fistula, or pain, and help to alleviate everyday discomfort, but currently, there are no curative therapies. Dietary supplements can potentially have positive effects in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases, (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Crohn’s disease symptoms in females, and IBS symptoms in females, do tend to vary from those in males.
Medically prescribed therapies for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) involve combinations of pharmacologic agents such as aminosalicylates, azathioprine, corticosteroids, and more recently by the introduction of medicines such as monoclonal antibodies like adalimumab. The use of these drugs can have side effects, some of them being potentially severe, and the costs can be prohibitive.
With the increasing incidence of IBD and IBS, and their chronic nature, Nutraceuticals, such as herbal products or vitamins, are often considered as cheaper and safer alternatives or supplementary treatments to conventional therapy.
Many supplements display mechanisms of action such as influencing inflammatory pathways, antioxidant behaviors, roles in the upkeep of intestinal mucosal barrier integrity, and the modulation of immune responses, that can have positive effects for those with IBD, Crohn’s Disease, or IBS.
Below are some of the Supplements that have be used in the treatment of IBD, Crohn’s Disease, and IBS.
(I have personally used all of these Supplements at some stage, or continue to use them on an ongoing basis to help treat my Crohn’s Disease.)
Try treating Crohn’s Disease and IBS with Natural Supplements. Get your IBD under control, and get back to enjoying life!
Ashwagandha is used as a herb in Ayurvedic medicine, mainly in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
The main chemical constituents of the plant are alkaloids. Ashwagandha shows anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immunomodulating activities, extracts of the roots activate the production of NO synthase by acting in the macrophages.
Ashwagandha extract– showed inhibition of lipid peroxidation, and H2O2 scavenging and histological improvement in induced colitis in animals.
I have used two brands of Ashwagandha, Now Foods Ashwagandha, and Gaia Herbs Ashwagandha Root . The Gaia Herbs version has been more effective for me.
Though Ashwagandha is a naturally occurring compound, taking it involves risks.
Ashwagandha may cause the immune system to become more active, and therefore could potentially increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases.
Ashwagandha is possibly safe when taken for up to 3 months. The long-term safety of ashwagandha is not known. Large doses of ashwagandha might cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Rarely, liver problems might occur.
In inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases) play the important role in controlling the function and migration of immune cells, chemokine activity, matrix deposition and degradation
In fact, increased levels of MMPs found in inflamed tissue of IBD may be responsible for the ulceration and fistula formation.
NAC, in conjuction with other standard treatments has shown positive effects in Ulcerative Colitis, when compared to a control group. NAC has also shown dual action as an effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in animal models of colitis.
There is no recommended daily allowance for NAC, as it is not an essential nutrient, and can be made by the body.
Oral doses above 1200 mg per day can result in headache, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea.
NAC may slow blood clotting so should be avoided if taking medication that thins the blood.
Artemisinin is thought to inhibit certain cytokines, which are proteins secreted by your immune system that can promote inflammation.
TNF-α is thought to play a key role in the pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease / Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and biologicals acting as TNF-α inhibitors, like infliximab and adalimumab, are often used in bad cases of Crohn’s disease.
Extracts of Wormwood, (containing Artemisinin among other compounds) have shown clinical improvement of symptoms in some patients with Crohn’s disease, whereas no improvement was seen in the placebo group. The benefits seen were potentially associated with significant decrease in TNF-α serum levels in comparison with those obtained in the placebo group.
Though Artemisinin is a naturally occurring compound, taking it involves risks. In recommended doses, it may be safe for a person to take artemisinin to treat malaria or a fever. However, people may experience the following side effects: skin rash after topical use, Dizziness, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, Vomiting, Nausea, tremors
Bacteroides and Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria make up the groups of the most common bacteria in the human gut. This appears not to be the situation for all individuals, potentially factors such as genetic susceptibility and inheritance factors can change this profile and facilitate the occurrence of IBD.
Probiotics have also been investigated for the treatment of ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and IBS.
The decrease of Bacteroides and Firmicutes groups, as well as the increase of Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria, stand out as the main differences in the microbiota from feces and intestinal mucosa of IBD affected individuals. The presence of pathogenic microorganisms might also contribute to IBD , Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Fusobacterium nucleatum have all been associated with IBD. E. coli is also implicated in IBD development, and studies have also correlated IBD relapses to Clostridium difficile infection. Enterobacteriaceae and Streptococcus might also play a role in dysbiosis and development of IBD. From this it can be seen that there are many potential contributors to IBD in the microbiome, and likely there will be more uncovered as research continues.
Some studies have looked at the protective role of gut microbiota against IBD. A decreased abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and butyrate producing bacteria have been noted in IBD, and it is thought that their presence may offer some protection against inflammatory damage. It has also been observed that there are differences in the composition of the microbiome of IBD patients when comparing active and inactive phases of the disease.
I have used Now Foods Probiotic 10 – 100 Billion CFU, as it contains a Lactobaccilius paracasei strain
Probiotics are safe for most people, but side effects can occur. Common side effects are an increase in gas, bloating, constipation and thirst.
Some people may react to other ingredients used in probiotic supplements or to naturally occurring amines that may be in probiotic foods. If this occurs, stop using the probiotics.
Butyrate has been shown to be a critical mediator of the colonic inflammatory response, and may have preventive and therapeutic potential to counteract inflammation in the gut.
Some research indicates butyrate supplements could potentially be used as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease. Increasing dietary fiber consumption, (potentially increasing butyrate production in the gut), may lessen the risk of colon cancer.
I have used Nutricology ButyrAid Tabs, taking as recommended on the product
There is limited clinical evidence on the safety of butyrate but during a human study 300mg per day produced no reported side effects in the subjects. In animal studies, rats given butyrate during pregnancy had offspring with increased insulin resistance and fat accumulation
Using Supplements to assist in the treatment of Crohn’s Disease, IBD, and IBS.
Have you battled Crohn’s Disease, IBD, Colitis or IBS using doctor prescribed medications and got nowhere?
Have you found medication side effects and risks not worth it, because the medications don’t help much anyway
Do you want to try cheaper natural alternatives rather than exorbitant big pharma drugs with big risk?
I have tried a lot of alternative solutions, some help a lot, some a bit, some not at all for me, and some made things worse for me. Read my recommendations and research to see if they might help you. We all know IBD is a very individual disease.
Get your IBD under control, and get back to enjoying life!