Managing Crohn’s Disease

Managing Crohn’s disease can be difficult.  Many people who have Crohn’s disease change their diets and skip meals to help reduce the symptoms, and some people with severe Crohn’s disease even avoid going out in public.  There are no known cures for Crohn’s disease, but the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory (NIMML) at Virginia Tech recently discovered that conjugated linoleic acid can help in the treatment of Crohn’s disease.

The NIMML tries to find new natural and nutritional treatments for a number of chronic inflammatory diseases.  Natural treatments and therapies can be safer for patients, because allergic reactions are less likely to happen.  The NIMML’s research methods include computational modeling and clinical trials.  Their research on Crohn’s disease was recently given the American College of Gastroenterology Presidential Poster of distinction, and their findings were published in an edition of Clinical Nutrition.

Crohn’s disease can be a painful disease, and it causes inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract.  It is an autoimmune disease, which means that it is caused by the body’s own immune system, and it is capable of affecting the entire digestive tract.  Crohn’s disease can cause ulcers in the intestines, and sometimes it can even lead to blockages within the intestines.  Common symptoms include abdominal pain, cramping, fatigue, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, and fever.  Crohn’s disease can also increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

The fact that conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA can help in the treatment for Crohn’s disease is certainly exciting news.  Conjugated linoleic acid is a natural acid that can be found in meats and dairy products. There’s actually a high concentration of CLA in the bone marrow of grass fed meats.  CLA is also produced in small amounts by probiotic bacteria in the human stomach.  Conjugated linoleic acid has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can directly combat the inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease. DC Labs has a brand of CLA called Tonalin.

The quality of life is drastically decreased in those who have Crohn’s disease.  Their inability to go out in public and consume a healthy diet can cause severe consequences.  The NIMML’s research showed that conjugated linoleic acid helped to reduce the symptoms of Crohn’s disease enough to improve the quality of life in 50% of their test subjects.  Negative side effects are also common with medications for Crohn’s disease, but none of the test subjects had any adverse reactions to conjugated linoleic acid.

The findings of the NIMML will now go onto a controlled clinical trial.

The Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory at Virginia Tech recently brought hope to the nearly half a million Americans that suffer from Crohn’s disease.  Their finding – that conjugated linoleic acid can help in the treatment of Crohn’s disease – can potentially change the lives of many who have this painful and inflammatory disease.

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