When you have Crohn's disease, not even a day at the beach is a day at the beach.
You have to carefully plan everything you want to do around your proximity to bathrooms. If you've planned poorly and your bowels betray you, you face embarrassment and outright humiliation.
There's the body-bending stomach cramps... the awful gas... and of course that urgent dash to the toilet. And if you're on a beach, the bathroom could be far away, have a long line and look like a crime scene inside.
But don't let that stop you. It turns out if you've got Crohn's a day at the beach is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered -- because it's the best source of the leading weapon we have against this disease: The sun!
When you get sun exposure, your body makes vitamin D, one of nature's most powerful inflammation fighters and a potent immune booster. Crohn's, of course, is an inflammatory bowel disorder that's accompanied by immune system dysfunction.
Talk about a match made in heaven.
Americans who live in the sun-soaked South have half the Crohn's risk of those who live to the north. But D can do more than help you avoid this disease. It can treat it if you have it -- because a new study finds that 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day can help you better maintain your intestinal permeability.
That's the "leakiness" of your gut. The more it leaks, well... I think you get the picture.
As a result, D supplements can slash your inflammation and raise your quality of life, according to the placebo-controlled study.
Of course I would encourage you to get a daily dose of D the old-fashioned way, from sunscreen-free exposure to the sun. But since everything from the seasonal angle of the earth to cloud cover to clothing can impact how much D you generate, make sure you cover all your bases by taking a vitamin D supplement.
The 2,000 IU per day used in the new study is what I'd call a "good start." Many people, especially those with chronic disease such as Crohn's, could use double that amount or more.
Your own doc can help you figure out how much you need and the best ways to get it.