Crohn’s disease is a chronic illness where part of the digestive tract becomes inflamed and ulcerated marked with sores. Along with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease is part of a group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The cause of Crohn’s disease is not known. It is likely that there is a genetic component. About 20% of people with Crohn’s disease have a blood relative with a form of IBD.

Crohn’s disease may involve the immune system. The immune system of a person with Crohn’s may treat bacteria, food, and other substances as foreign invaders, leading to chronic inflammation from the accumulation of white blood cells in the lining of the intestines and resulting in ulcerations and injury to the tissues.

Conventional medicine says there is no cure for Crohn’s Disease and the goals of treatment are to reduce inflammation and to relieve symptoms of pain, diarrhea, and bleeding. There are several types of drugs used to treat Crohn’s disease. The first step usually involves reducing inflammation. Many people are first treated with sulfasalazine (Azulfidine). Corticosteroids such as prednisone are another class of drugs that reduce inflammation. Crohn’s disease may also be treated with drugs that stop the immune system from causing inflammation.

Patients that seek an alternative functional medicine or nutritional approach can have hope. Conventional medicine never addresses or tries to correct the underlying immune problem. They never investigate the environmental influences that can be influencing or expressing the genes. Therefore, there is no cure and medications are used to simply suppress the patient’s immune system.

There is a wealth of published research on increased intestinal permeability aka leaky gut and autoimmune disorders including Crohn’s diease. A recent study in Dig Dis Sci 2011 Oct 26, showed significant improvement with intestinal permeability and morphology in patients with Crohn’s diease by using glutamine and whey protein. Glutamine is the major fuel for the enterocytes in the gut.

Eighty percent of the immune system is found in the gut. Every patient with Crohn’s or any other autoimmune disorder must have their gastrointestinal health assessed. There are several other things in addition to glutamine and whey protein that can help keep their condition in remission and prevent a relapse. It is important for these people to get an IgG food sensitivities test. Once completed, it is important to remove these foods that are causing inflammation and autoimmune reponse. Patients may also require digestive enzymes or HCL depending on the state of their GI tract. Next, it is important to reinoculate their gastrointestinal tract with probiotics to obtain proper microbial balance. Last, add glutamine to repair the intestinal mucosa.

On my products page, Designs for Health has great GMP products for these patients. I use their Glutamine powder, PaleoMeal DF, and GI Revive. The PaleoMeal DF (Dairy-Free) is a plant-derived protein powder, a natural pea protein concentrate o­ffering a high level of functionality and nutritional benefits. It is free of casein, lactose, and gluten. I like this product since many patients with autoimmune disorders have food sensitivies and commonly have problems with diary and gluten. GI Revive provides comprehensive support of gastrointestinal health and function. It provides therapeutic levels of L-glutamine, N-acetyl-glucosamine, MSM, DGL, slippery elm, marshmallow, chamomile, okra, TOA-free cat’s claw, quercitin, and mucin for comprehensive support of optimal gastrointestinal health. Prunus and citrus pectin are included to aid regularity. I use Klaire labs for my probiotics. They have a climate controlled facility and a patented InTactic delivery technology that enables the bacteria to withstand the stomach acid. They are a GMP 9000 registered facility with independent product testing with rigorous manfacturing standards and provide excellent clinical results with my patients.


Glutamine and whey protein improve intestinal permeability and morphology in patients with Crohn’s disease: a randomized clinical trial. Benjamin J, Makharia. G, Ahuja V, et ai. Dig Dis Sci 2011 Oct 26

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