Spotlight on Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is one of a group of disorders known as an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which affects more than half a million people every year. Symptoms can be debilitating, such as:
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Urgency to move bowels
Standards of care today include different medications to control symptoms, like steroids, immunosuppressant’s, antibiotics, and biologics. Over time, even with these types of therapies, many patients require surgery. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America claims the number is high as 75% of patients, who will eventually require a surgical procedure, but even then, there are often still complications.
From a functional level, it is important to look at Crohn’s from a deeper perspective. Crohn’s, like other intestinal conditions, comes as a result of a sparse microbiome that is devoid of the rich, varied species known to confer health benefits. Once the ecology is thrown off, over time “holes” or empty pockets allow for more opportunistic and virulent strains to colonize and multiply. In this environment, without proper treatment to restore the gut microbiome to a vibrant and diverse state, patients suffer a wide range of conditions. Affecting areas as far away as the brain, it can spark mood disorders, as well as declines in cognition. Autoimmunity often ensues, including the possibility for Type 2 diabetes, and as the immune system suffers, IBS and IBD become more likely.
When dealing with Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, and all intestinal disorders, it is imperative to study the function of the entire body and microbiome by starting with comprehensive testing that goes well beyond the standard. DNA stool analysis gives an in-depth understanding of pathogens such as parasites, yeast, opportunistic bacterial populations, inflammation and the way the intestinal immune system is functioning. An ion test uses blood and urine to measure the way the body is absorbing and using nutrients, making energy, plus it also measures metabolites produced by different bacteria in the intestine. Comprehensive blood testing should be performed to uncover hidden issues such as undiagnosed low thyroid, which is frequently present in these patients. The highly specialized TRH stimulation test is necessary, simply because highly inflammatory conditions suppress TSH in the body, rendering the routine thyroid test ineffective. When used in combination with a full panel such as TSH, Free and total T3, Free and total T4, RT3, antibodies to thyroid tissue plus secondary, the TRH test can detect cases of low thyroid that are completely invisible on routine tests. This is key, since the intestine is exquisitely dependent on thyroid hormone in order to function. Additionally, deeper tests should also be performed measuring more telling, inflammatory markers such as TNF-alpha, Il1, IL6, IL8, and IL 10, autoimmunity markers, in addition to searching for other systems that require intervention.
Treatments for Crohn’s disease center on restoration of the microbiome through the 4R program which works to restore and improve healthy bacterial populations without further damaging the ecology – often the result of continued antibiotic use.
Recommendations are made for additional treatment based on specific test results to improve function of the entire body as a whole. Modalities such as PEMF, nutritional IV’s, IV’s phosphatidylcholine and glutathione, and use of the short chain fatty acid, butyrate, taken orally and rectally, are also used to improve immune functional and colon health.
Crohn’s disease does not have to be a life sentence of debilitating symptoms. With proper care, nutritional interventions and the latest in cutting-edge approaches, it is not only possible but probable to resume a normal, vibrant life.
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