Originally published July 13 2009
Nutrients Put Kids with Crohn’s Disease Into Remission Without Drugs
by S. L. Baker, features writer
(NaturalNews) It's horrible enough for anyone to have Crohn's disease -- a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect any area of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus, causing excruciating pain, bleeding, weight loss and diarrhea. However, it is even more worrisome when a child suffers from the disease because it can cause a delay in normal development and stunted growth. What's more, the standard treatment of high dose steroid-based drugs can cause serious side effects such as malnutrition and growth retardation.
But now there's hopeful news for kids afflicted with Crohn's. Research just published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition has found that a "cocktail" of nutrition can put the majority of these youngsters into remission without drugs.
Dr. Raanan Shamir of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine and Schneider Children's Medical Center said in a statement to the media that his study was inspired by the horrendous problems children experience battling Crohn's disease, including the drug side effects they are forced to endure from steroids and other biological agents. He turned to a drink loaded with nutrients that was first developed by NASA for astronauts to see if the concentrated nutrition might help.
When given to youngsters suffering from Crohn's disease, the supplement put a remarkable 60 to 70 percent of them into remission as long as they continued the nutrition therapy for six to eight weeks. This success rate is about the same as the steroid-based drugs usually prescribed for kids but the nutrition "cocktail" carries none of the drug side effects that cause malnutrition and growth retardation.
Dr. Shamir said that he and his research team do not understand yet exactly how the nutrition formula conquers Crohn's symptoms. But the important thing is that it does work. "People have to be committed and eat nothing else during the period of time they are on nutrition therapy, and it is difficult to do -- but if they do it, they go into remission," Dr. Shamir explained in the press statement.
In fact, the Tel Aviv University researchers found that youngsters with Crohn's stayed in remission if they continued to use nutrition therapy for 25 to 50 percent of their of their caloric intake, sometimes for years. To make sure children continue to take their nutrient drink as long as needed, Dr. Shamir pointed out that physicians, dieticians, psychologists, and parents have to get behind the treatment.
Unfortunately, that's not always easy. Dr. Shamir stated that his mission to educate the international medical community about the benefits of nutrition therapy for Crohn's disease has been an uphill battle. "The acceptance of this is difficult," he said in the media statement. "You have to persuade the family. Not all physicians know it works, and it's much easier to give someone a prescription than try to work with the child."
He added that the importance of the new study is that it will provide evidence to the international medical community that nutrition is equal to steroids in the treatment of children with Crohn's. "We published the most recent meta-analysis to show that nutrition is as good as steroids as a first-line therapy for Crohn's disease," he stated, adding that the next step in his research is to "define exactly the role of nutrition in inducing remission in these patients, and the role of nutrition in maintaining remission."
According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, mainstream medicine has no explanation for what causes Crohn's disease. The most often cited theory suggests an out-of-control immune system reacts abnormally in people with Crohn's, mistaking bacteria, foods, and other substances for foreign invaders. Then the immune system launches an attack, producing chronic inflammation which leads to ulcerations and bowel injury. As reported previously in Natural News, however, milk products have long been suspected by natural health practitioners as a culprit in Crohn's disease (http://www.naturalnews.com/002684.html) and research has shown a link between bacteria found in dairy products and the disease (http://www.naturalnews.com/022673.html).
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