New research published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) journal this month shows some improvement of symptoms of folks with IBD when they eat gluten free.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is defined by Mayoclinic.com as “…chronic inflammation of all or part of your digestive tract. IBD primarily includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.” The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America say nearly 1.4 million Americans have IBD.
Now researchers out of North Carolina want to know with the prevalence of the gluten-free diet, were any IBD patients seeing a benefit?
They surveyed more than 1600 patients with inflammatory bowel disease who are participating in a Crohn’s and Colits Foundation of America program aimed at improving the quality of life of people with Crohn’s and Colitis through research and education.
314 of these patients had been on the gluten free diet or were currently gluten free. 65% reported having improvement with one clinical symptom related to gluten exposure (including bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and fatigue). 38% of them also reported fewer and less-severe flares while being gluten free. Nearly 25% said they required fewer medications to control their IBD.
More specifically, of the group who were considered to have excellent adherence to the gluten free diet, also had reduced fatigue.
Researchers conclude that the gluten-free diet could be a therapy for some folks with IBD.
“Testing GFD in clinical practice in patients with significant intestinal symptoms, which are not solely explained by the degree of intestinal inflammation has the potential to be a safe and highly efficient therapeutic approach after appropriate testing for celiac disease,” the study said.
Personally, I feel that last part is important. You should make sure celiac disease isn’t a factor before going gluten free. But I also thought that it seemed significant that many of the patients had fewer flares and some were able to go off their medications because of the gluten free diet. I know it is only one study, but it is interesting.