Healthy Living

Crohn's Disease: Foods, Vitamins, Supplements, and Herbal Remedies

Crohn's Disease: Foods, Vitamins, Supplements, and Herbal Remedies

Key Takeaways

  • Crohn's disease affects the digestive tract of the body.
  • Crohn’s medicine does not allow vitamins & minerals to be absorbed effectively in the body, hence the doctor may prescribe supplements.
  • Consult a gastroenterologist or a dietitian, if you have Crohn's disease, who will offer the best treatment and diet, for faster recovery. 

Crohn's Disease and Vitamins

Crohn is an inflammatory bowel disease which mainly affects the gastrointestinal tract causing severe pain in the abdomen, constant fever and reduction in weight. It does not allow the digestive system to absorb the required vitamins and nutrients from the food.

Vitamins help your body and makes it healthier. Without having vitamins, your body may not always be able to get what it needs because you may not eat the food items which you wish to eat and when you do, your body may not able to absorbs the vitamins from the products that you eat. Taking vitamins in form of tablets or mixtures always help in maintaining good health.

Crohn's disease affects digestive tract of the body. the damages are sometimes so serious in nature that it needs either a surgery or dosages of the medications. The disease makes it difficult for the body to get and to absorb nutrients. The best way to deal with Crohn’s disease is to have a planned diet and a dosage of multivitamin on daily basis.

The University of Rochester Medical Centre in Rochester, New York has offered various forms of multivitamin diets which can effectively minimize the effect of Crohn’s disease and even cure it completely. The dosages of the required vitamins can vary depending on the severity and the damages done by the disease and it will be decided on the patient’s health condition.

Always consult the doctor by giving the proper health information and also about the various vitamin deficiencies and decide about the diet which will be useful in offering the required vitamins in sufficient quantity and makes your body healthy by eliminating the effects of Crohn’s disease.

The Crohn’s disease can ruin the digestive system and make the person sick. This disease works on the body and spreads the infection in a higher order and reduces the effect of medicine over the body. When a child suffers from Crohn’s disease, it affects the growth of the child and stops the child's normal growth.

Crohn’s disease affects the body elements in and around the digestive system. The digestive system of the body gets weak and it cannot get vitamins and minerals from the food that the patient consumes. The capacity of the body to absorbs or to get the nutrients, carbohydrates, water and even fats reduces completely. The disease could also result in complicated and serious problems to such an extent that it may require removal of the small intestine due to the severe infection.

The patient loses his appetite and he or she may not have any desire to eat food. The infection of Crohn’s disease is so severe that it causes continuous pain and affects the body with diarrhea. The patients suffer more due to the anxiety, severe pain and tastelessness. It affects the diet and reduces the hunger and patients stop eating food.  Even after taking the medicine, the absorption power of the gut is not sufficient to obtain the vitamins and nutrients from the drugs given. The patient may bleed from inside the body which can lead to anaemia and also reduce the percentage of iron from the body.

Vitamins and Minerals Affected by Crohn's Medication

Having medication for Crohn’s disease also affects the body because it does not allow a number of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to get absorbed in the body easily. Some of the vitamins and nutrients which get affected by Crohn’s are :

  • Vitamin B12 - If you have surgery to remove the infection from the small intestine, then your body may not absorb vitamin B12 from the food that is passed inside it. You may need to take vitamin B12 either using a nasal spray or injection.
  • Folic acid - Crohn's drug which consists of elements such as methotrexate and sulfasalazine reduces the level of folic acid present in the body so you should take 1 mg folate supplement every day.
  • Calcium - Crohn's disease reduces the strength of the bones and makes it difficult to absorb the key minerals required for the body. If digesting milk or milk products is a difficult task for your body, then you have to take extra supplements in the form of 1,500 mg of calcium per day. It can be useful in building the bones and making them stronger.
  • Iron - The effect of the infection may cause anaemia which causes blood loss and reduces the percentage of iron in the body. As per medical consultation, you can take additional tablets, liquids or infusions to increase the level of iron in the body. Even the doctor may suggest dosages of potassium, magnesium or even zinc as a part of daily supplements.
  • Calcium - The deficiency of calcium is also common among patients suffering from Crohn's disease. Mainly, the deficiency is caused because the body is unable to absorb calcium from the food supplements. Quite often, people suffering from Crohn's disease experience lactose intolernace which means they find it difficult to digest milk, which is actually a good source of calcium. So they tend to avoid consuming dairy products. Because of the calcium deficiency, the chances of corticosteroids and other disorders and active inflammation can be more. It always increases the risk of having early osteoporosis in life. But most of the patients benefit when they have enough calcium and vitamin D which helps in keeping the bones stronger.
  • Magnesium - Crohn’s disease is highly infectious and it can cause diarrhea. It not only increases weakness in the body but also deprives the body of nutrients such as magnesium and potassium. These minerals are useful in keeping the body active and making the processes easier inside the body. it regulates the functions of the heart and kidney. The symptoms of magnesium deficiency can be a feeling of sickness, anxiety and weakness.
  • Zinc - Prolonged diarrhea can cause many deficiencies. Zinc deficiency is one of them. It could lead to a vicious cycle which is a perilous health situation. It is mainly found in children affected by Crohn’s disease when the zinc levels get lowered in the body.

Vitamin to be Taken as Supplements

The surgery which is needed to remove the Crohn’s infection makes it difficult for the body to digest fats and it affects the level of vitamins present in the body. The patients have to take extra dosages of the required vitamin.

  • Vitamin A - Crohn’s disease which damages the small intestine causes difficulty in absorbing vitamin A. The disease can even block the intestine and it becomes difficult to pass the vitamin A to the body, but the bacteria in the ileum, the last part of the small intestine, can be used to consume the vitamin as required by the body.
  • Vitamin B12 - When you have surgery to remove the infection from the small intestine, then you may not absorb vitamin B12 from the food that is passed inside it. You may need to take vitamin B12 either using a nasal spray or injection.
  • Vitamin D - About 69% of people having Crohn's disease have deficiency of vitamin D, as reported by CCFA which causes bone pain and weak muscles. Vitamin D is mainly derived from sun exposure. The level of vitamin D should be checked at least annually and it needs to be supplied, if necessary.
  • Vitamin E - The deficiency of vitamin E, known for the anti-oxidant properties, causes symptoms that include tingling and numbness in the body, especially in fingers or toes due to the weak muscles. This vitamin is found in nuts, seeds and in vegetable oils; also it is present in green vegetables and cereals. But vitamin E can be given to the patients in liquid form using the medication tocopheryl polyethylene glycol-1000 succinate.
  • Vitamin K - Vitamin K is not soluble in water and it is not easy to pass vitamin K to the patients as required.

Foods or Supplements?

One is always advised to take vitamins and minerals from food products rather than pills. The patient should consume food items that have a lot of fibre, which includes nuts and seeds.

When the disease gets active, it spreads the infection and increases stress on the body, making it weak. The patients need more calories and nutrients during this time to combat the disease. In case of difficulties in digesting milk or dairy products, consult with your doctor and he may suggest lactase in the form of pills which helpsthe person consume milk products, without any difficulty.

Having additional supplements is always a good way of getting a nutritious diet as per the requirements. It is always suggested that patients do not work independently, instead they should talk to the food consultants or doctors in deciding their everyday diet.

Crohn’s drugs are highly effective, but sometimes they make it difficult for nutritious food products or medicines to work efficiently on the body. It may create problems and increase your difficulties if you decide to work on your own, while deciding the diet you should take along with the medication for Crohn’s disease. The doctor may suggest better techniques to deal with Crohn’s. Also, it allows the doctor to test your condition and to recommend the best of medications and supplementary food items.

Dealing with Crohn’s disease is quite strenuous and loss of vitamin, minerals including other nutritious elements adds to the difficulties of the patient. It is always a good idea to work in groups consulting other people going through the same experience and the physicians who can guide the patient well. The supplements of vitamins such as vitamin D, B12, iron and other minerals help in building the body and also it allows to cure the infection completely by overcoming the problem in the small intestine.

Effective Herbal Remedies

Apart from vitamins, studies show that some herbal remedies and herbal medicines can also help patients suffering from Crohn's disease. Herbal medicines and therapies too are useful in providing the much required nutrients in the form of vitamins, minerals and other healthy food supplements.

It is required to feed your body with proper amounts of nutritious food which can help the patient to feel better and herbal products are the best in supplying such body requirements as per the patient’s ability and health condition.

Herbal products used in the therapy certainly help in overcoming inflammatory bowel disease(IBD), which is a part of Crohn’s disease. According to a study conducted among 1.9 million people suffering from IBD, many of them have serious digestive problems and suffer from malnutrition, diarrhea and cramp-like conditions. It makes a person weak because of loss of appetite and the patient does not enjoy his food.

Dealing with Crohn's Disease

The best way to deal with the health problems caused by Crohn’s disease is to consult a gastroenterologist or a dietitian. Gastroenterologist or a dietitian can effectually offer the best treatment which will be most suitable for early recovery of the individual. The entire treatment is mainly based on the check-up where the gastroenterologist or a dietitian can check the health condition and decide the diet which could be most effective. Even herbs and other herbal products will be added into the diet to fight the disease. Such herbal products are not a part of regulated items registered in the list of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of USA.

The important thing is that people always take medication prescribed by the doctors. Most of the doctors give medicines to the patients as the first priority and the supplements are suggested as secondary or additional treatment for faster recovery.

Patients should consult the doctor or dietician before deciding the diet, which is very essential. If the supplements are not regulated, then it could lead to many other health diseases including liver toxicity. According to a recent study, it is found that medicines made of herbs are highly useful and safer and can be effective in dealing with intestinal inflammation.