Heal Your Intestinal Lining-- What you can do now

Because there is not yet a cure for Crohn’s disease, most treatments focus on relieving symptoms and healing the mucosal lining of the intestines, with an end goal of remission. Especially with Crohn’s treatment, the methods that work will vary from patient to patient depending on a number of biological and lifestyle factors. However, the main problem is the same for all patients: Crohn’s disease is always characterized by an inflammatory response in the intestines.

In this article, you’ll learn the basic facts about Crohn’s, answering questions such as:
What happens to my intestinal lining with Crohn’s?
Why is it important to heal my intestinal lining?
How can I heal my intestinal lining?

Crohn’s: How to Heal Your Intestinal Lining—And Why It Matters

What happens to my intestinal lining with Crohn’s?

The disease manifests differently across individuals, but in all cases, Crohn’s disease is characterized by areas of ulceration caused by inflammation in the gut. These inflamed areas can become the origin of fistulas (a common complication of Crohn’s disease characterized by an abnormal connection between an organ and another structure in the body), intestinal perforation, and bleeding.

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As an autoimmune disease, the exact cause of Crohn’s is not known. However, it’s common for the symptoms of inflammation in the intestines to be made worse by the consumption of dairy, fatty or spicy foods, caffeine, and alcoholic drinks, to name a few of the most common culprits.

Why is it important to heal my intestinal lining?

To date, most drug studies on treating Crohn’s have focused on medications that regulate or reduce inflammation in the gut, without considering mucosal healing as an end point. Steroids, for example, are widely applied as anti-inflammatory agents—but they do not work to directly heal the intestines.

Researchers have pointed out, however, that the most effective Crohn’s treatment will include strategies to heal the intestinal lining and reduce inflammation simultaneously. Although there have been less studies on mucosal healing, researchers have found that healing the mucosal lining of the intestines is associated with longer symptom-free intervals between flare-ups, which can help reduce inflammation and, or course, make living with the disease much more manageable.

How can I heal my intestinal lining?

Treating the symptoms of Crohn’s is no simple matter. A treatment plan can include therapeutic measures, ensuring adequate nutrition and fluid intake, avoiding trigger foods, keeping a food journal, and practicing stress-reduction methods, and more.

In short, it takes effort, experimentation, and patience to heal an inflamed gut. Luckily, companies and researchers focused on treating Crohn’s are developing products to assist in mucosal healing. For example, CROWN, a protein-rich supplement drink, is one product that has recently entered into clinical trials to measure any benefits the supplement offers for people with Crohn’s. Although evidence is still emerging, recent studies on dietary protein and mucosal healing have found evidence to suggest that dietary protein may play a positive role in healing the intestinal lining.

CROWN is currently in Phase 2 and accepting patients currently taking Humira, Remicade or Cimzia. Candidates will continue their current medication while consuming the milk based protein-rich beverage. Find more information on the protein drink and its proposed benefits for Crohn’s here.

References

Loftus EV Jr. Clinical epidemiology of inflammatory bowel disease: Incidence, prevalence, and environmental influences. Gastroenterology. 2004 May;126(6):1504-17.
Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15168363
Rutgeerts, P., Vermeire, S., & Van Assche, G. (2007). Mucosal healing in inflammatory bowel disease: impossible ideal or therapeutic target? Gut, 56(4), 453–455. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.1136/gut.2005.088732
Vidal-Lletjós, S., Beaumont, M., Tomé, D., Benamouzig, R., Blachier, F., & Lan, A. (2017). Dietary Protein and Amino Acid Supplementation in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Course: What Impact on the Colonic Mucosa? Nutrients, 9(3), 310. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.3390/nu9030310

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