Patient care involves a great deal of research in many cases. Just as every disease or condition has nuances, so does every patient and the way he or she responds to various therapies. When it comes to treating pediatric conditions, physicians show preferences for avoiding surgical intervention whenever possible. According to recent research conducted by physicians from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Seattle Children’s, diet may be a vital element to putting conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s to bed.
The study involved the use of a carb-specific diet for a 12-week period. No other intervention was performed adjacent to this diet, which contained NO processed foods, dairy, grains, or sugars (honey was the only exception). Children participating in this study consumed a nutrient-dense diet of fruits and vegetables, nuts, and meats.
Of the 10 patients who participated in this study, 8 entered into a remission state using diet alone.
Prior to this formal study, only anecdotal evidence was available to suggest dietary modifications as an intervention therapy for children with inflammatory bowel disease. Now, it seems that we are gaining new data to support the use of food as medicine.
For several years, the standard of care that has been placed on conditions such as irritable bowel and ulcerative colitis, among all age groups, has been based on the use of pharmacological agents. Steroids can diminish symptoms by reducing inflammation in the bowel, and other medications have been prescribed to manage symptoms such as bloating and diarrhea. The long-term use of such medications, though, are not without consequence. Plus, this approach does not resolve the underlying cause of these conditions, which some researchers believe ties to the microbiome in the digestive tract.
Whatever tool a physician can have in his or her toolbox is necessary to address the uniqueness of every individual patient. Recognizing the role that diet therapy plays in supporting healthy intestinal flora is a great first step in expanding the scope of care.
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