Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an autoimmune condition where in most cases there are multiple triggers chronically stimulating the immune system over a long period of time in multiple ways and the immune system gets into overloaded, overwhelmed state and loses its ability to function leading to chronic inflammation causes symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other debilitating symptoms and anemia.

The current medical research demonstrates the significance of micronutrient deficiencies in inflammatory bowel disease, however, many patients are told that their condition is not related to nutrition or diet.

According to a study published last week in Nutrients, researchers investigated the prevalence of anemia and micronutrient deficiencies adolescents and children with inflammatory bowel disease.

This study consisted of 165 patients under 17 years of age with Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. Laboratory assessments included iron, ferritin, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, selenium, copper, vitamin B12, and folate. These were measured at the time of diagnosis and at a one-year follow-up. Clinical disease activity was assessed using the Physician Global Assessment (PGA) scores at baseline and at the end of the study. The research team found that patients with IBD had multiple nutritional deficiencies at diagnosis with the majority of have improved at follow-up. There was a high prevalence of iron deficiency anemia, which is common in IBD. Other common deficiencies included vitamin D, vitamin A, zinc, selenium, and copper. Anemia was present in 57% at diagnosis and 25% at follow up. Many children with IBD suffer from anemia and micronutrient deficiencies at diagnosis and some fail to recover after one-year despite being in clinical remission.

This study demonstrates that micronutrient deficiencies and anemia are significant

on-going issues in patients with IBD and the importance of testing, nutritional therapeutics, and follow up.  Addressing these deficiencies may make significant improvements in the quality of life.

The research demonstrates the significance nutrition and nutrients and their essential role in chronic disease states. Lifestyle choices and environmental exposures filtered through genetic predisposition are fundamental factors in IBD, and a successful treatment approach must include investigation into these factors.

One must also investigate into the other potential environmental triggers that can cause inflammation such as, food sensitivities, toxins, and molds. Also, stool testing is essential as one can rule of bacterial infections and dysbiosis as well as assess inflammatory, immune, digestion, and absorption markers.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Rempel J, Grover K, et al. Micronutrient Deficiencies and Anemia in Children with

Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Nutrients 15 January 2021, 13(1), 236.

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