A friend has Crohn's disease...

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 02, 2012 at 9:55 PM

My mother's trainer recently got very sick and was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, knowing it has a lot to do with gut inflammation I thought paleo might be a good addition to immunization medication she is on to better control her health. I don't really know much about it, so basically what I'm asking: Is there decent evidence that I could put forward to her and let her decide for herself if it's something she'd want to try. Any sources or information at all would be appreciated, thanks!

Thanks to everyone! All you're answers helped and I'm going to send her to Robb Wolf and Lorren Cordain's books, and advise and autoimmune version of paleo. I'll comment back later if she starts going on strong with it and recommend to this site.


on June 05, 2012
at 03:08 AM

Thanks a lot, I'll give her that exact quote, pick up the book for her, and point her towards the autoimmune section of paleo. I appreciate it!



on June 03, 2012
at 12:56 PM

I'd say listen to the advice below... But more than that tell them that this is absolutely the right thing and they must push on with it, even in the beginning if results aren't immediate. I was diagnosed with Crohns five years ago and Paleo has literally healed the lesions in my small intestine that doctors say is the prime indicator of the disease. But don't be wishy-washy: tell them this is it and if they follow it they WILL heal

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on June 02, 2012
at 10:30 PM

Yes, but she is going to fare better with the autoimmune version of Paleo - which means even more restrictions on food intake. "The Paleo Solution" is a good start. Here is an excerpt from Loren Cordain's newest Paleo book, "The Paleo Answer":

"Let me be the first to state the obvious???eating wheat is disastrous to the health of all autoimmune patients. Incredibly, wheat???consumed by nearly every person on earth, has been found to be one of the chief perpetrators of a leaky gut, not only in autoimmune patients, but also in some healthy normal people. Wheat contains a protein called gliadin that interacts with gut receptors to set off a cascade of hormonal events, which ultimately allows the intestinal contents???food and bacteria???to interact with the immune system. Gliadin is not the only problem. Wheat contains two other compounds, wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) and thaumatin-like proteins, which also increase intestinal permeability. Withdrawal of wheat and all gluten-containing cereals (rye and barley) from celiac patients completely cures their disease symptoms.

Increasingly, scientific evidence shows that this strategy may work for many other autoimmune diseases. The elimination of gluten-containing grains from your diet may even have numerous favorable health effects that aren???t necessarily limited to autoimmune illnesses. Other Leaky Gut Dietary Triggers With the discovery that a leaky gut probably represents an essential first step in the development of autoimmunity, it became apparent to me and my fellow researchers that any dietary element capable of increasing intestinal permeability should also be suspect in autoimmune illnesses. As we combed through the scientific literature, we discovered the following list of foods and substances, in addition to gliadin in wheat, rye, and barley, that also promote a leaky gut.

Many lectin-containing foods Many saponin/glycoalkaloid???containing foods Capsaicin-containing chili peppers Alcohol NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) Oral contraceptives Antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide

Lectin-Containing Foods

At first glance, the previous list doesn???t seem remarkable, as you may be unfamiliar with all of the common foods that contain lectins, saponins, glycoalkaloids, and capsaicin. Let me be a little more blunt and point out the problematic foods. Let???s first start with lectins. Almost all grains and legumes contain lectins, most of which promote a leaky gut. We are beginning to understand why the Paleo Diet, a grain- and legume-free diet, has such potent healing effects in autoimmune patients???it is virtually free of the lectins that may increase intestinal permeability. By eliminating grains and legumes from our diets, intestinal function returns to normal, and toxins within our guts can no longer cross the gut barrier and interact with our immune systems to elicit autoimmune diseases.

Lectin-containing foods that autoimmune patients should avoid are:

  1. All commonly consumed cereal grains, including wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, and rice???note that rice is probably the least damaging grain.

  2. All beans and legumes.

  3. Potatoes and tomatoes.

  4. All pseudo grains, including amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, and chia seeds.

    Almost all plant foods contain lectins, but most seem to be benign when it comes to our health, except for lectins in grains, legumes, and a few other foods that may enter our bloodstream and interact with most cells in our bodies, including those in our immune systems."

    Cordain, Loren (2011-11-03). The Paleo Answer: 7 Days to Lose Weight, Feel Great, Stay Young (Kindle Locations 3562-3599). John Wiley and Sons. Kindle Edition.


on June 05, 2012
at 03:08 AM

Thanks a lot, I'll give her that exact quote, pick up the book for her, and point her towards the autoimmune section of paleo. I appreciate it!

best answer


on June 03, 2012
at 01:44 PM

I'm 43, have crohn's, and have been in remission, symptom free for 20 years.

20 years ago, I was hospitalized for 2 weeks with a terrible crohn's flair. They wanted to operate, and chop out several chunks of my intestines. I declined, and wanted to exhaust all other possibilities before resorting to surgery.

I saw another GI doc who told me of some cutting edge research that showed that folks with acute crohn's flairs do better on an 'elemental diet'. At the time, it was basically a liquid, gluten free, dairy free diet, easy to digest meal replacement.

Since nothing was working, I gave it a try, and after a few months, was able to quiet things down within a few months.

At the time (20 years ago), I read everything I could about supplements to support crohn's. I took lots of fish oil, l-glutamine powder, and Pentasa (a prescription crohn's maintenance drug).

I remained fine, without any additional flair ups, while on this approach.

Two years ago, I decided to stop taking the prescription Pentasa. I was very nervous doing so, but I remained symptom free.

Three months ago, I discovered Paleo.

If 20 years ago I knew then what I know now, I would have been on Paleo for the last 20 years.

BTW, I have also ready many folks with Crohn's doing well on the Specific Carbohydrate diet (book= Breaking the vicious cycle).

Over the years, I remain shocked when doctors say diet has nothing to do with Crohn's.

I would encourage your friend to give serious attention to diet, read The Paleo Solution Diet by Robb Wolf (it's a fun read and spells out the Paleo stuff very well).

Best of luck, Mike



on June 03, 2012
at 10:00 PM

Chron's... go straight to Gaps Diet. Paleo will stop symptoms but not heal her intestines. If she's not an open minded person, instead of recomending a full blown Gaps diet, suggest homemade broth soup every day for breakfast and to remove grains and dairy from her diet. Should be good enough to start with. If she sees improvement from that she'll be more open minded to change her diet completely. ~ would say more but I'm on android phone

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on June 03, 2012
at 01:13 PM

Best thing to do is avoid sugar and supplement w vitamin d until your level is around 70-80. My supplementation caused my crohns to vanish; I've been med free for 5 years.



on June 02, 2012
at 10:15 PM

I suggest getting Robb Wolf's book "The Paleo Solution", it's an easy (and funny) read that won't overwhelm you or your friend. It deals is detail how gluten-grains and the SAD are bad for everyone (not just sufferers Chron's). The message that we're all in the same boat will be helpful for her I think, and she'll get some great practical advice on how to treat her condition with some diet and lifestyle changes.

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