ulcerative colitis

  1. Natural treatments bring ulcerative colitis relief

    Beat back ulcerative colitis with these natural remedies

    Q: My 13-year-old granddaughter has ulcerative colitis, and her doctors are talking about surgery. Obviously, we really want to avoid that if we can. Are there any natural treatments for the condition?

    G.R.: First off, I truly sympathize with what your granddaughter must be going through. Ulcerative colitis is tough on anyone, but especially for kids who spend so much time in school and around peers.

    Let me talk generally about ulcerative colitis and what recent research has said, and hopefully you'll find some information you can use.

    Studies have shown that with ulcerative colitis, your immune system essentially attacks and disrupts the healthy bacteria in your gut. And lots of the inflammation, bathroom problems, and other issues are basically byproducts of that.

    So working actively to keep gut flora healthy is a really big part of managing ulcerative colitis and its symptoms. That means taking daily probiotics, avoiding processed foods and added sugars that can further harm gut bacteria, and loading up on healthy fibers, including fruits and vegetables.

    Vitamin E also may play an important role in managing ulcerative colitis. In an animal study, it was shown to significantly reduce inflammation. Some foods that are especially rich in vitamin E are spinach, avocados, Swiss chard, turnip greens, asparagus, red peppers, wheat germ, almonds (and other nuts), and sunflower seeds.

    Retinoic acid, derived from vitamin A, was also found in a Trinity College Dublin study to reduce symptoms from inflammatory bowel disease. Foods like kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, and apricots are all high in vitamin A.

    Obviously, you can also get vitamins E and A as supplements just about anywhere.

    There's also been some interesting research on Qing Dai, which is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat ulcerative colitis. In one small study, published a few years ago, six of the seven patients with ulcerative colitis were able to stop using prescription meds completely. And that only took about four months.

    Qing Dai can be a little tough to find online. A good TCM practitioner should be able to help you get your hands on some.

    Keep sending me those emails! You can share your health questions with me at askdrrothfeld@nutritionandhealing.com.

  2. Want better bowels? Head south

    The science on irritable bowels is clear as day: Meds do absolutely nothing for this condition.

    Yet docs keep dishing them out anyway. And when one doesn't work, they'll try another... and another... and another.

    It's a waste of everyone's time -- and meanwhile, your bowels are not only madder than ever, you're battling drug side effects to boot.

    Now, new research confirms what I've been telling you all along: Low vitamin D levels play a critical role in any number of bowel disorders, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

    Americans who live in the sun-soaked south are 52 percent less likely to come down with Crohn's and 38 percent less likely to get hit with ulcerative colitis than folks who live up north, according to the study in the journal Gut.

    This gels with other studies, which find that Crohn's is rare in the sunniest climes along the equator, and gets more common the further north you go (Sorry, Canada).

    Of course, there's a lot more to a healthy gut than adequate vitamin D levels. Naturally, diet plays a major role as well.

    The best way to find out which foods are behind your pain is with a food elimination diet -- a painstaking and time-consuming diet that involves starting with almost nothing and then slowly adding foods to see which ones send you running for the toilet.

    I won't lie -- it's a lot of work. If you're not ready to go through all that, try my shortcut: I had the inside scoop on the five ingredients most likely to cause bowel trouble in the December 2010 issue of my Douglass Report newsletter. Click here to get all the details.

2 Item(s)