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.

According to a new review published recently in Nutrition, researchers investigated the role of nutrition in the prevention of in IBD related colorectal cancer.

The study’s intent was to review the role of nutrition in preventing IBD related colorectal cancer specifically in human studies. There is often a big disconnect between the medical research and clinical practice. Often many traditional doctors will tell patients that diet has nothing to do with their condition. Many of these individuals can change the trajectory or their condition with diet, lifestyle changes, and nutritional therapeutics. This review demonstrates that nutritional interventions based on eating nutrient-dense whole foods high in fiber, vegetables, fruits, omega-3 fatty acids, and a low amount of animal proteins, processed foods, alcohol, combined with probiotic supplementation can reducing IBD severity and reduce the risk of IBD related colorectal cancer through several mechanisms; therefore, personalized nutritional interventions represent a promising approach for the prevention and management of IBD associated colorectal cancer.

Other nutrients such as glutamine, polyphenols, and mucilaginous botanicals can be helpful in immunomodulation and for their anti-inflammatory properties. Other common deficiencies include magnesium, vitamin D, and iron. A low FODMAP diet or elimination diet can improve gastrointestinal function and decease disease activity.

Autoimmunity can occur a few different ways. First, there can be a mistaken identity and the body attacks itself. This can occur with a virus where there is tissue destruction and it appears to be foreign to the body. Second, is called molecular mimicry. This occurs when the body makes an antibody (a protein in the body that attacks objects in the body that appear to be foreign) to a specific antigen. These antigens can resemble certain proteins in the body and the antibodies attack our body’s own tissues. Third, is the development of the T cells (the immune system). This can be affected by genetics, stress, and environmental triggers.

Environmental triggers are what integrative doctors mainly work with in functional medicine. These can be food triggers such as gluten or food sensitivities that can trigger inflammation as well as anything coming in with the food such as toxins or molds. In addition, the nutrient status of the person. This can be antioxidant status, vitamins, essential fatty acids, vitamin D, etc. Also, gut health. This includes “leaky gut” and dysbiosis. Finally, there are toxins that can be affect the status of the immune system. These are heavy metals, xenobiotics, as well as the total toxic burden in the body.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS Source: Cassotta M, Cianciosi D, et al. Possible role of nutrition in the prevention of inflammatory bowel disease-related colorectal cancer: A focus on human studies. Nutrition. 2023 Feb 3;110:111980.

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