The headline is a mix of truth and lie. I’ll get to the lie later, but now let’s talk about the truth. The March 12 issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Host & Microbe has a study conducted by twenty-eight gastroenterology centers across North America, the largest of its kind. They studied a total of 1,742 samples from pediatric and adult patients with either new-onset or established Crohn’s disease.
ScienceDaily says, “The team found that microbial balance was disrupted in patients with Crohn’s disease, with beneficial microbes missing and pathological ones flourishing. Having more of the disease-associated organisms correlated with increasing clinical disease activity.” (1)
Dr. Ramnik Xavier of Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard said the study will help develop new diagnostic tools so that if a doctor sees a similar composition of gut microbes in a patient, they can diagnose them as having inflammatory bowel disease, without the need for a colonoscopy. That alone is a great benefit because the prep for colonoscopies can be dangerous for patients by further upsetting the microbial imbalance.
The study found that antibiotic use in children with Crohn’s disease caused an increase in pathogenic microbes (likely causing more inflammation) because the good microbes were killed off. This confirms that antibiotics are a dangerous treatment option for patients with Crohn’s disease. You don’t want to make a condition of imbalanced gut microbes worse!
Dr. Ramnik also said, “More importantly, our study identified specific organisms that are abnormally increased or decreased in disease, which forms a blueprint to develop microbial therapeutics.”
What he means by this is identifying and creating products of the chemicals released by the beneficial microbes which help reduce inflammation, and kill pathogenic inflammation causing microbes. (2) This ideally would mitigate the dangers from the imbalance.
I do not believe this would ensure success in patients who don’t change their lifestyle to cultivate a healthy, balanced microbiome. It would simply be another way to mask the symptoms, and sell another drug or supplement. If they don’t develop a healthstyle, they’ll sustain the status quo that created the imbalance in the first place, which is likely eating lots of sugar and grains.
Dr. Ramnik is on the right path, but he’s not wearing the right shoes for it. What research needs to establish next is how patients can use food and other healthstyle changes to rebuild their gut microbiome to a healthy, balanced state. This will help either manage or cure their inflammatory bowel disease.
For decades patients have been telling their Gastroenterologists that the foods they ate mattered in controlling their disease activity, but Gastroenerologists say no. Whether they know it or not, Gastroenerologists have lost credibility in the alternative treatment communities for their inability to even simply acknowledge that there might be something to all the anecdotal reports.
Twenty years ago, in 1994 Elaine Gottschall wrote Breaking the Vicious Cycle – Intestinal Health Through Diet. Today on Amazon.com it has over 415 five star ratings, plus another 71 four star ratings. The next three ratings of 3, 2, 1 combine for 57 reviews.
Her work outlines that inflammatory bowel diseases, both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis stem from intestinal dysbiosis, the imbalance of microbes towards inflammatory types rather than anti-inflammatory types.
I have had doctors say that food plays no roll in the disease process, but research by the Human Food Project (3) and others over the years (4) have proven that we know for a fact, food is one of the most effective ways to modify the gut microbiome composition. You can either change the composition towards disease or health, depending on what you eat.
Back to the study, some online discussions have wondered which comes first, Crohn’s disease or the dysbiosis? But this is not a chicken or the egg situation. The observance of an imbalanced microbiome IS the very definition of Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are not some tangible thing you acquire like the H1N1 flu virus. They are a state of being inside your body. They are temporary conditions of symptoms that manifest from the composition of specific microbes. Those microbes can be removed or added, at will.
Let that sink in for a few seconds.
Ready? I said above that the headline was partly a lie. The lie is that our microbiome is not Fucked Up Beyond All Repair. It changes very easily with the use of drugs (antibiotics), stress, food, and supplements.
The 5-R Framework gives you a holistic approach and alternative treatment options to help you rebuild your gut microbiome so that over time you have more beneficial microbes vs. pathogenic ones.
I have used the 5-R Framework since discovering the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and many of the patients I have interviewed for the documentary, who were doing very well managing their IBD have done the same.
Every patient I meet who manages their disease to the point of not needing any medications, uses this approach whether they know it or not. The 5-R Framework is a description, an observation of what I saw the successful, empowered patients doing. I have broken down what it was they and I do, and with the framework, you too can have success.
The study I discussed above confirms what I and many others have experienced over the years. It’s unfortunate that most gastroenterologists and national research and patient advocacy organizations haven’t gotten the message.
What do you think about the research? Does it ring true for you? Are you interested in trying the 5-R Framework for the first time? How do you feel about doctors and national Crohn’s & colitis organizations who seem to ignore this research? Let me know in the comments!