How I Cured My Crohn’s Disease

crohn's diseaseBefore we get started I just want to point out that there is no official “cure” for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis), or any other autoimmune disease for that matter, at least not in the context of science as we currently understand it.

Even when you heal, your body will always retain the ability to attack itself.

However, you can put your disease into full remission (which can last months, years, decades, etc), which in my opinion is just as good as a “cure”.

Now that I’ve cleared up any confusion regarding the title of this article, here’s my story:

MY STORY:

I was ‘diagnosed’ with Crohn’s Disease about 13 years ago…

When I was first diagnosed I presented with most of the classic symptoms: gastritis (stomach inflammation), ileitis (an inflammation of the ileum, which is the last part of the small intestine that connects to the colon), nausea, stomach cramps, fatigue, etc.

If you have no idea what Crohn’s Disease is or have never heard of it before, it basically feels like you’re having a bad case of food poisoning…

…the thing that sucks the most is that your “food poisoning” type symptoms can last for weeks, months, or even years on end.

If you’ve ever had food poisoning you can probably imagine how much this disease sucks…

Crohn’s disease classically presents itself as inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract (but can spread deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue), and can affect any part of the digestive tract from your mouth to your colon.

Typical symptoms include: bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, stomach cramps, nausea/vomiting, fever, malnutrition, and fatigue – and these can range from mild to severe.

As the disease progresses you can end up with fistulas, strictures, abscesses, intestinal blockages, and end up having to have surgery (where they remove the diseased portions of your intestines. Some people end up having to have multiple surgeries.

Anyway, I don’t want to spend too much time discussing the miserable symptoms and complications of Crohn’s… so if you want to learn more about the disease you can read about it here.

I was a freshman at the University of Miami (a full scholarship athlete) when I first started showing warning signs & red flags (I wish I knew then what I know now)…

…and I believe my first symptoms showed up as malabsorption problems, which led to nutrition deficiencies, which led to chronic muscle cramping & fatigue in practice & in games, and ultimately led to frustration (from myself to my coaches and trainers).

I knew something wasn’t quite right…the trainers and doctors ran a ton of tests but nothing ever showed up. I’m pretty sure they all thought everything was all in my head.

I had chronic issues like severe migraines, sore throats, allergies, periodic IBS, etc off and on for a while back then, but I hit the wall around Thanksgiving break of the fall semester and got severely ill. I came down with what I thought at the time was food poisoning…and it lasted for 2-3 weeks.

After laying in my bed feeling like I was dying for several weeks my mom finally took me to see a Gastroenterologist in Maryland. He ran a ton of tests (colonoscopy, barium x-ray, upper GI series, etc) and when the results came back he told me I had Crohn’s Disease.

I had never heard of Crohn’s Disease before, but when he told me what it was I was shocked, confused, and devastated. I had nightmares about having to take medicine for the rest of my life, having to wear an ostomy bag, and having a never ending bout of “food poisoning” type symptoms.

Everything I ate made me nauseous and made my stomach cramp like it was having a seizure. I could actually see my stomach cramping up under my abdominal skin. The pain was almost unbearable. The thought of eating food now gave me panic attacks. I became too weak to walk up stairs by myself. I lost 45 pounds, and hit rock bottom.

I was too sick to practice during this time (even walking up stairs was a struggle) but my head coach at The University of Miami told me that he thought I was making all of this stuff up in my head and was using it as an excuse because I simply didn’t want to play tennis anymore – he then cut my athletic scholarship and I had to withdraw from school. I thought my athletic career was over. I sank into a deep depression and had suicidal thoughts. I was only 19 years old.

Needless to say, Crohn’s is a real pain in the ass (pun intended), and during the time I was at home trying to get better I made countless trips to the emergency room for severe nausea, cramping, and various other debilitating (and super annoying) gastrointestinal symptoms when I first got sick.

crohn's disease

Funny thing is, I received a call from the coach at Clemson University while I was lying on a hospital bed puking and feeling like shit and he told me that “he believed in me and once I got better I would have a spot on the team if I wanted it” …I managed a weak laugh and said to myself “this dude is crazy…”

To make a long story short, I was able to heal myself after months and months of misery by using natural treatments from a Holistic MD in Washington DC. His regimen included food sensitivity testing, raw juicing, balancing gut flora, and various other natural supplement experimentation.

After an entire year of suffering and feeling ill, I was well enough to start training again. Several months later I was a scholarship athlete at Clemson University. I still had minor symptoms, but was off of all medication as the colonoscopy I had before I went back to school showed no signs of inflammation in my gut. Clinical + Endoscopic remission! Woohoo! I considered myself cured.

That was 13 years ago.

Ten weeks ago, however, the disease reared its ugly head again and hit me hard.

Stomach cramps, nausea, and severe bleeding in my gastrointestinal tract.

At first I thought it was just a bad hemorrhoid or something (yes you actually HOPE for hemorrhoids over IBD), but after several weeks of suffering and over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments not doing a damn thing I finally gave in and saw a doctor. Sure enough, the lower sig test confirmed my colon was inflamed. Hey, I had a 13 year run…that’s pretty damn good if you ask me!

Of course I was a little stunned when I heard the doctor say “your colon is inflamed”…because I thought all of this stomach stuff was behind me.

I’m young, I eat healthy, I exercise regularly…what was I missing…?

But then I started thinking…

Something must have triggered this disease to come back…

…and after thinking everything over for a few days and doing some research I made a list of several factors that I believe caused me to relapse.

Although I’ll probably never be able to officially pinpoint the exact cause, my instincts & initial research told me it was most likely a combination of:

1. NSAID use. I was taking Naproxen (Aleve) as needed to ease the pain of my chronic allergy migraines I get this time of year – as well as treat some of my old joint inflammation issues from years of wear and tear from sports. I’m not that old but I have osteoarthritis in my knees and tendonitis in my wrist, elbow, and shoulder from playing tennis for 20 years.
2. Consumption of inflammatory foods (processed whey protein, grains, foods I am allergic to/have intolerances to, etc).
3. Lack of sleep coinciding with an increase in stress & cortisol.
4. Unknown environmental factors.
5. Leaky Gut Syndrome.

As I stated earlier, I eat a VERY healthy diet for the most part. In fact, 95% of the foods I eat are fresh, pure, organic, grass fed, free range, etc. So naturally I found it to be quite odd that a disease involving the gastrointestinal system would strike me of all people…especially since I pretty much had it under control for over a decade.

That got me to thinking…and when I start thinking and trying to find ‘correlations’ between events…the crazy Economics/Stats dude in me comes out in full force…

Perhaps it’s food related? Perhaps it isn’t food related?

Perhaps some health foods I eat aren’t as healthy as I thought? Was it a supplement I was taking? Was it the LA smog?

Do I need to buy a water filter? Perhaps my shower is poisoning me? 

Perhaps a consistent ingestion of the same “healthy” foods over a period of time caused an inflammatory response?

Perhaps it’s a combination of many factors that all come together to create a perfect storm?

Do I have an overgrowth of bad gut bacteria? Perhaps I was mis-diagnosed?

Maybe it’s another disease process manifesting itself as gut inflammation?

Did my great great great great great great whoever relative have this disease?

Is it the Ozone Layer? El Niño?? Maybe it was Aliens?

What is the friggin deal??

And so I began my research.

After spending what seemed like 100 hours online reading research paper after research paper I finally stumbled onto several papers and theories that made perfect sense to me.

The more I read the deeper and deeper I got into Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition – and I happened to stumble onto some really interesting papers that discussed the roles of Zonulin, Gliadin, Lectins and their relation to Leaky Gut Syndrome, Inflammatory, Processes, Autoimmune Diseases, and Cancer.

Note: If you currently have Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, or any other inflammatory process/chronic disease and your doctor tells you that food has nothing to do with it please don’t believe him/her – if you do your research you’ll find just the opposite is true…and what I’m about to show you below may blow your mind and give you a ton of hope – especially if you’re experiencing flare after flare and your medicine/diet/etc isn’t working for you.

Disclaimer: I’m not a Doctor, Biochemist, Molecular Biologist, Molecular Nutritionist, Scientific Research Phd, or anything like that, and I’m definitely not an authority when it comes to the science presented in this post. Hell, I barely passed Biology 103 at Clemson. So please read everything in this post carefully and then do your own research and try to form your own opinion. All I did here was analyze the research and tests…then made qualitative assessments and formed positive correlations where they made logical sense. Keep in mind that most of what you’re about to read here today is purely theoretical, so be sure to tread carefully when trying new supplements or diets as many of these regiments may be contraindicated depending what medicines you’re currently taking or how sick you are. Always consult with your doctor before trying anything new or experimental. You may agree or disagree with what you’re about to read – but either way I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section.

With that being said, here is my theory based on what I’ve read lately:

I believe most (if not all) cases of IBD (Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis) as well as various other inflammatory conditions and chronic disease processes may be attributed to a very prevalent, confusing, widely debated condition called LEAKY GUT SYNDROME.

Now, I know this condition has been widely debated, and not every Doctor out there considers it to be a precursor to (or be a direct cause of) disease, but many Doctors are now becoming more aware of the condition and are researching and discussing new ways to treat it.

If you’re never heard of Leaky Gut Syndrome before, here’s how it was explained to me:

LEAKY GUT SYNDROME

The term Leaky Gut is just another way of describing intestinal or bowel hyperpermeability – it’s basically just a fancy medical way of saying the intestinal lining has become more porous – a condition where a bunch of developing holes (that may gradually become larger in size) start to form and the intestinal filtering process is no longer functioning efficiently.

Leaky Gut is thought to be caused by food sensitivities, cytotoxic drugs, NSAIDS, chronic inflammation, antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, compromised immunity, and/or radiation.

Here’s how it works:

The intestinal lining works on the front lines for our immune system – I like to think of the lining as a goal line defense. Its goal is to prevent the bad guys from scoring a touchdown or at least hold em’ to a field goal (i.e. keep the bad guys out of your bloodstream).

The outer layers of this sophisticated defense system (Intestinal Epithelial Cells) are connected by Tight Junctions (TJs), and these structures represent the major barrier within the pathway between the epithelial cells that line the digestive track. At the tips of these cells are the microvilli, which absorb properly digested nutrients and transport them through the epithelial cell and into the bloodstream.

When digestion is functioning normally (i.e. all molecules are screened properly and only pass into the blood stream through the mucosa cells) the Tight Junctions typically stay closed, but when TJs are disrupted, they become permeable or “open” and allow un-screened molecules (i.e. bacteria, toxins, pathogens, yeast, incompletely digested proteins and fats, as well as unabsorbed waste) to flow directly into the bloodstream. Hence the term “Leaky Gut”.

As this process continues over time, the intestinal lining can become so damaged that it will become less and less able to protect the internal environment and filter critical nutrients… so EVEN MORE bacteria, toxins, pathogens, yeast, incompletely digested proteins and fats, as well as unabsorbed waste can leak out of the intestines and flow directly into the bloodstream.

In most cases, the liver will start working overtime to try to filter our all of the junk that’s escaping through your intestinal lining. However, as your gut becomes more and more damaged/porous over time, it may be hard for the liver to keep up with the increased and constant flow of bacteria, toxins, pathogens, yeast, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste flowing directly into your bloodstream.

As more and more of these foreign invaders break through your weakened gut barrier and pass through the weakened and overworked liver filters they will begin to settle and absorb into various tissue(s) throughout your body.

The situation is now critical and the body begins to manufacture T cells and antibodies directed against self-antigens in its own cells and tissues – triggering an autoimmune reaction that causes the attacked tissues to inflame.

Once your body begins to produce antibodies specifically designed to fight these foreign “invaders” (i.e. the foods you eat, toxins, etc) – your immune system can develop reactions to many of them (these reactions can manifest as symptoms such as bloating, cramps, gas, diarrhea, as well as joint pain, skin rashes, headaches, etc).

As a result of this immune activation, the gut gradually becomes more damaged and inflamed over time. Healthy cells and tissues are destroyed and the enterocytes experience more intestinal cell damage. The microvilli that line the intestines and absorb nutrients become unable to efficiently do their job, which leaves the person’s body unable to perform important functions. Basic tasks like fighting microbes (tiny organisms such as bacteria, parasites, and fungi) are performed with less efficiency.

As the immune system continues to fight back against the ever increasing and constant flow of garbage that is streaming into your bloodstream it will eventually become overworked and your defenses will weaken.

Leaky Gut Syndrome

When this vicious cycle continue for weeks/months/years your body may ultimately end up fighting itself, thus leading to a variety of “food sensitivities” and chronic “autoimmune diseases” such as Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, vasculitis, urticaria (hives), alopecia areata, polymyalgia rheumatica, Raynaud’s syndrome, vitiligo, thyroiditis, and Sjogren’s syndrome(1).

Now, I’ve heard of Leaky Gut Syndrome before, and the entire process explained above made a ton of sense to me – but I wasn’t exactly sure exactly what TRIGGERED all of this stuff to happen. Everyone’s disease is so different, so I figured there must be a few hidden variables at play.

THE MISSING LINKS

As I dug deeper into the whole Leaky Gut thing I stumbled onto a few interesting research papers that hypothesized several factors that could possibly be triggers to opening the “doorways” to Leaky Gut. A few variables that really grabbed my attention were Zonulin, Gliadin, and Lectin.

Zonulin is a protein that modulates the permeability of tight junctions between cells of the wall of the digestive tract. It has been implicated in the pathogenesis of coeliac disease, diabetes mellitus type 1, and is currently being studied as a target for vaccine adjuvants. (ALBA Therapeutics is developing a zonulin receptor antagonist, AT-1001, that is currently in phase 2 clinical trials)

Gliadin (glycoprotein present in wheat) activates zonulin signaling irrespective of the genetic expression of autoimmunity, leading to increased intestinal permeability to macromolecules. It’s a class of proteins present in wheat and several other cereals within the grass genus triticum. Gliadins and glutenins are the two main components of the gluten fraction of the wheat seed. Gliadin is the soluble aspect of it while glutenin is insoluble. There are three main types of gliadin (α, ϒ, and ω), to which the body is intolerant in coeliac (or celiac) disease.

Lectin is a protein in seeds and other parts of certain plants that binds with glycoproteins and glycolipids on the surface of animal cells, causing agglutination. Some lectins agglutinate erythrocytes in specific blood groups, and others stimulate the production of T lymphocytes. They are ‘sticky molecules’ and their stickiness also allows them to bind to the lining of the small intestine and cause problems.

Some of the most interesting research I found came from world-renowned pediatric gastroenterologist Alessio Fasano M.D., the founder and director of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research.

Dr Fasano proposes that autoimmune/inflammatory/etc disorders can occur when Zonulin pathways are altered (i.e. Leaky Gut Syndrome)…and that these diseases can all be reversed by reestablishing the zonulin-dependent intestinal barrier function.

Here’s the Abstract from Dr. Fasano’s paper:

The primary functions of the gastrointestinal tract have traditionally been perceived to be limited to the digestion and absorption of nutrients and to electrolytes and water homeostasis. A more attentive analysis of the anatomic and functional arrangement of the gastrointestinal tract, however, suggests that another extremely important function of this organ is its ability to regulate the trafficking of macromolecules between the environment and the host through a barrier mechanism. Together with the gut-associated lymphoid tissue and the neuroendocrine network, the intestinal epithelial barrier, with its intercellular tight junctions, controls the equilibrium between tolerance and immunity to non-self antigens. Zonulin is the only physiological modulator of intercellular tight junctions described so far that is involved in trafficking of macromolecules and, therefore, in tolerance/immune response balance. When the finely tuned zonulin pathway is deregulated in genetically susceptible individuals, both intestinal and extraintestinal autoimmune, inflammatory, and neoplastic disorders can occur. This new paradigm subverts traditional theories underlying the development of these diseases and suggests that these processes can be arrested if the interplay between genes and environmental triggers is prevented by reestablishing the zonulin-dependent intestinal barrier function. This review is timely given the increased interest in the role of a “leaky gut” in the pathogenesis of several pathological conditions targeting both the intestine and extraintestinal organs.

Zonulin is what opens up the tiny spaces between the cells of the intestinal lining in order for nutrients and various other molecules to get in and out of the intestine, but in a Leaky Gut scenario the spaces between the cells open too wide which allows larger protein molecules to escape into the bloodstream. As discussed earlier, this process can trigger an immunologic reaction.

The worst part is that once the body mounts a defense against any particular protein that escapes, it becomes trained to react to those proteins every time they appear which can lead to a chronic inflammatory process.

Based on Dr. Fasano’s research there are two key triggers to open the zonulin pathways: (1) gut bacteria in the small intestine and (2) gluten. He suggests that gliadin causes zonulin levels to increase in people who have Celiac Disease as well as in people who do not have Celiac Disease. As Zonulin levels rise, the seal between the intestinal cells gets weaker and weaker, thus opening up larger spaces (pathways) between cells that allow numerous unwanted particles to pass through(2).

In conclusion, Dr. Fasano states:

The classical paradigm of inflammatory pathogenesis involving specific genetic makeup and exposure to environmental triggers has been challenged recently by the addition of a third element, the loss of intestinal barrier function. Genetic predisposition, miscommunication between innate and adaptive immunity, exposure to environmental triggers, and loss of intestinal barrier function secondary to the activation of the zonulin pathway by food-derived environmental triggers or changes in gut microbiota all seem to be key ingredients involved in the pathogenesis of inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer. This new theory implies that once the pathological process is activated, it is not auto-perpetuating. Rather, it can be modulated or even reversed by preventing the continuous interplay between genes and the environment. Since zonulin-dependent TJ dysfunction allows such interactions, new therapeutic strategies aimed at reestablishing the intestinal barrier function by downregulating the zonulin pathway offer innovative and not-yet-explored approaches for the management of these debilitating chronic diseases.

In another research study, Dr. Fasano suggests that gluten/grains may contribute to the development of all autoimmune diseases due to Zonulin being activated by Gliadin – so this type of disease process may stretch far beyond just Celiac Disease. It may extend to IBD and various other inflammatory processes as well. Check out his piece in Scientific American or read the abstract below:

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:
Little is known about the interaction of gliadin with intestinal epithelial cells and the mechanism(s) through which gliadin crosses the intestinal epithelial barrier. We investigated whether gliadin has any immediate effect on zonulin release and signaling.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:
Both ex vivo human small intestines and intestinal cell monolayers were exposed to gliadin, and zonulin release and changes in paracellular permeability were monitored in the presence and absence of zonulin antagonism. Zonulin binding, cytoskeletal rearrangement, and zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) redistribution were evaluated by immunofluorescence microscopy. Tight junction occludin and ZO-1 gene expression was evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

RESULTS:
When exposed to gliadin, zonulin receptor-positive IEC6 and Caco2 cells released zonulin in the cell medium with subsequent zonulin binding to the cell surface, rearrangement of the cell cytoskeleton, loss of occludin-ZO1 protein-protein interaction, and increased monolayer permeability. Pretreatment with the zonulin antagonist FZI/0 blocked these changes without affecting zonulin release. When exposed to luminal gliadin, intestinal biopsies from celiac patients in remission expressed a sustained luminal zonulin release and increase in intestinal permeability that was blocked by FZI/0 pretreatment. Conversely, biopsies from non-celiac patients demonstrated a limited, transient zonulin release which was paralleled by an increase in intestinal permeability that never reached the level of permeability seen in celiac disease (CD) tissues. Chronic gliadin exposure caused down-regulation of both ZO-1 and occludin gene expression.

CONCLUSIONS:
Based on our results, we concluded that gliadin activates zonulin signaling irrespective of the genetic expression of autoimmunity, leading to increased intestinal permeability to macromolecules.

According to Dr. Fassano, gluten attaches to the transport molecule, which causes an enormous release of Zonulin. This Zonulin surge can dissolve the Tight Junctions between the intestinal epithelial cells (enterocytes) and leave the door wide open for systemic inflammation and autoimmunity to happen. This process does not appear to be isolated to just Celiac Disease, everyone is at risk(3).

After reading through these papers I was convinced Dr Fassano was onto something big here with his Zonulin pathway theories, but I still wasn’t exactly sure what my “food derived triggers” were…

SNEAKY INFLAMMATORY TRIGGER FOODS

After a few more days of research, however, I came across some highly controversial proteins called Lectins.

Lectins are essentially carb binding proteins that are commonly found in all plants and animal products to varying degrees, but they have exceptionally high levels in grains of all types (especially wheat), dairy, seeds, nuts, legumes (especially soy), and nightshade plants (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, tamarios, tomatillos, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, cayenne, and peppers of all kinds except black pepper).

They are estimated to be present in roughly 30-40% of the American diet and they are not degraded by proteolytic enzymes or stomach acid, which makes them literally impossible to digest – digestive enzymes only do about half the job (lectins totally suck if you have IBD).

One of the more interesting things I discovered about lectins during my research was that they can be a precursor to Leaky Gut Syndrome as they can help “open the door” from the small intestine so they (along with other particles and toxins) can leak into the bloodstream.

Here’s how the whole Lectin scenario typically goes down: 

After ingestion, most dietary lectins bind to the absorptive microvilli of the small intestine. From there they may gain access into the blood and lymph system through a process called endocytosis which carries the intact lectin across the microvilli membranes as a vesicle(4). Then, the lectins may enter the liver, pancreas and systemic circulation.

Note: Experts argue that about 5 percent of ingested lectins enter the body systemically, where, depending on the lectin and depending on the person’s unique glycoconjugates, lectin binding occurs on other tissues such as nervous and connective tissue and the bladder, which are very sensitive to the agglutinating effects of lectins.

Some of the lectins consumed in everyday foods can act as chemical messengers that can in fact bind to the sugars of cells in the gut and the blood cells, initiating an inflammatory response which can lead to intestinal damage, compromised intestinal villi, altered gut flora, malabsorption, impaired cellular repair potential, cellular death, and disease.

When Lectins escape the gut in a “Leaky Gut” scenario they are then free to travel throughout the body and bind to any tissue they come across. Autoimmune mayhem ensues as the body reacts by attacking these particles and the healthy tissue they have attached to. As discussed earlier this could be a precursor to chronic disease.

Note: The intestinal lining of people with Crohn’s disease and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) appear to be more sensitive to the effects of food lectins because the lining is constantly being replaced by new tissue that is made up of immature cells that are more glycosylated and thus more susceptible to lectin attachment. It becomes a vicious cycle.

Researchers are still trying to identify specific lectins and how they may be associated with certain diseases (studies have shown that lectins are linked to many autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Arthritis, etc) but more research is needed to confirm any specific connections. Based on what I’ve read so far, the correlation between intestinal lining damage, gut permeability, and powerful autoimmune reactions appears to be quite strong.

For example, in wheat, gliadin, a component of gluten and an iso-lectin of wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), is capable of activating NF kappa beta proteins which, when up-regulated, are involved in almost every acute and chronic inflammatory disorder including neurodegenerative disease, inflammatory bowel disease, infectious and autoimmune diseases(5).

There is also an abundance of literature from the most prestigious journals suggesting that Lectins like WGA can initiate allergic reactions in the gut causing the release of IL-4, IL-13, and histamine from human basophils producing noticeable allergic symptoms(6-7). WGA has also shown to interfere with protein digestion and increase gut permeability(8-9).

Other examples of lectins that have influences on bodily tissues are peanut lectin, kidney bean and soybean lectins. On the flip side, the lectins in broad beans, jackfruit, and culinary mushrooms have been shown to slow the progression of colon cancer(10-11).

Lucretius said, “One man’s food is another man’s poison” and lectins are a prime example of this. Our individual genetic inheritances determine how and to what degree lectins can affect any of us. Just about all of us have antibodies to some dietary lectins in our bloodstream and many experts agree that most food allergies are nothing more than immune system reactions to lectins(12).

Now, it’s almost impossible to avoid eating lectins because they are in just about every plant and animal to varying degrees (even if you try to avoid them you’ll still end up eating small amounts given their omnipresence in nature). However, lectins are definitely more concentrated in some sources than others.

Foods with high lectin activity: All grains (wheat is the worst offender), dairy, nuts, legumes (soy is the worst offender), and nightshade plants (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, tamarios, tomatillos, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, cayenne, and peppers of all kinds except black pepper).

THE EVIDENCE IS STRONG

Given the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence out there that suggests Leaky Gut Syndrome may be a direct trigger of a variety of autoimmune diseases I decided that the concept was worth exploring and placed most of my focus onto healing my “Leaky Gut”.

Of course I don’t have any solid scientific evidence just yet that zonulin, lectins, escaping toxins, NSAID use, etc contributed to me having a ‘Leaky Gut’ and triggered my relapse (I plan on taking a Gut Permeability Test soon to confirm), but these are the areas that stood out the most to me and are also areas that I have the ability to control.

I can’t control any immunological, genetic, or environmental factors, but I can control what I put into my body. I can definitely stop eating foods that activate Zonulin signaling and/or foods that could possibly contribute to a Leaky Gut situation.

I know it’s easy to look at this and say “dude, it was the foods you were eating that caused the problem” but I completely disagree. To a certain extent it may be somewhat true, but I don’t think that IBD is directly caused by an unhealthy diet, or any diet for that matter. A terrible diet may be a contributing factor which can increase your risk of developing IBD, but the research shows that diet isn’t really a direct cause.

Now I know certain ‘health peeps’ may also look at this situation and say “it’s the animal protein that did it” or “these types of diseases never happen to vegans/vegetarians” etc etc… while these naïve assumptions may make practical sense on some levels, science proves them to be completely off base and flat out dangerous.

I know quite a few vegans and vegetarians who have been diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease while never touching animal protein pre-diagnosis. On the flip side, I know the same amount of people who have reversed their disease by going vegan/vegetarian post-diagnosis. There doesn’t appear to be a correlation either way.

This disease can hit you regardless of your gender, race, age, or diet plan – it doesn’t discriminate. Plus, research has shown vegan/vegetarian diets, while healthy in many respects, can trend toward the consumption of more Lectins & Inflammatory Proteins (i.e. soy, grains, nightshade plants) thus leading to an increased disease risk.

This evidence leads me to believe most diseases aren’t caused directly by the foods we eat per-se, but more so caused by a leaky gut allowing food molecules into the bloodstream. Sure, they can be some exceptions (severe allergies, Celiac, etc), but for the most part I truly believe most of this stuff is caused by a Leaky Gut issue.

Instead of blaming every disease on diet (especially autoimmune disease) I think a more accurate description or scenario of the disease process would be:

1. You may be genetically predisposed to certain diseases; 2. You eat food(s); 3. You are exposed to a variety of environmental toxins; 4. Over time the gut breaks down after repeated exposure to certain foods and/or environmental toxins in genetically predisposed people; 5. A leaky gut situation occurs and toxins spew out into the bloodstream; 6. Those toxins attach to various tissues throughout the body; 7. The body begins to manufacture T cells and antibodies directed against self-antigens in its own healthy cells and tissues; 8. An autoimmune reaction is triggered that causes the attacked tissues to inflame; 9. A chronic disease state or inflammatory process occurs; 10. Patient takes medicine & may temporarily get better 11. Patient stays healthy for a certain duration and then relapses, perhaps all correlating to disease progression, toxin/sensitivities exposure levels, genetics, and a variety of other lesser factors.

I could be dead wrong here, but this is just my opinion based on what I’ve been reading lately. When you think about it though, this very cycle may be the reason the SCD Diet has worked so well for many patients with Crohn’s & Colitis.

Anyway, based on my research and learnings about Leaky Gut, elevated Zonulin levels, Lectins, and various other protein molecules, I decided the best course of action to get out of my latest flare was to: (1) address my leaky gut issue via diet; and (2) heal my inflammation via medicine.

I did not consider these two factors to be mutually exclusive – and I thought that by addressing the Leaky Gut issue directly, the inflammation would slowly go away on its own either by taking my medicine, by a direct result of my dietary restrictions and nutritional supplementation, or a combo of both.

So I decided to make the following changes in a personal experiment I hoped would (1) help me get better; and (2) prevent me from getting sick in the future (or at least prolong remission as long as possible).

THE PLAN

Here’s what I did to heal my damaged/inflammed gut:

DIET/NUTRITION

I completely avoided:

1. All grains (Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Wheat (as well as sprouted wheat like Ezekiel Bread and cross gluten reactive foods) due to the gluten and various other zonulin pathway triggering proteins.

2. Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, sweet and hot peppers, cayenne, red pepper, tomatillos, goji berries etc. and spices derived from peppers, including chili powder, curry, red pepper, paprika, etc). Nightshades contain two primary toxins: Saponins and Lectins, both of which can increase gut permeability and act as an adjuvant, thus exaggerating immune responses.

3. All derivative products from nightshade food sources (i.e. nightshade derived oils).

4. All GMO food (lectins are often merged into modified varieties of GMO foods in order to enhance their natural pest and fungal resistance).

5. Dairy (bye bye whey protein).

6. All processed foods (for obvious reasons).

7. Nutritive sweeteners – (i.e. fructose, dextrose, lactose, maltose, corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol and erythritol) Note: I had a limited daily fructose allowance from fruits.

8. Non-nutritive sweeteners – (i.e. saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K, sucralose and stevia) Note: I had a limited daily stevia allowance but rarely used it.

9. NSAIDS (Naproxen, Ibuprofen, Asprin, etc). NSAIDS block Prostaglandins, which have a protective effect on the mucosal lining of the gut. NSAIDS may also may trigger the recurrence of IBD in patients who are in remission causing bleeding and inflammation. Studies have shown rapid development of colitis in NSAID-treated IL-10-deficient mice.

10. Emulsifiers, thickeners, food colors/additives, or anything that said “natural flavors” (these ingredients are in a ton of “health foods” including protein powders).

11. Alcohol (yes even wine).

12. Nuts & Seeds (including coffee, cocoa, and seed-based spices). I did eat small amounts of almond butter when I was absolutely starving.

My goal for this “diet” was to remove all potential gut irritants and immune system stimulators, but I also wanted to address any underlying nutritional deficiencies. There is a ton of evidence out there which suggests that vitamin/mineral deficiencies are one of the strongest factors that can increase your risk of autoimmune disease, especially deficiencies in: Vitamins (A,B,C,D,E,K); and Minerals (Zinc, Magnesium, Selenium, Iodine, Iron, Copper, etc.).

After eliminating all potential trigger foods, I put a ton of focus on eating more of the following:

1. Quality meat (Wild/grass fed/cage free/pasture raised bison, salmon, white fish, etc).

2. Veggies (green, red, purple, yellow, white, and orange), while upping my intake of cruciferous vegetables.

3. Fruits (mostly organic and tried to keep fructose intake lower than 25g per day).

4. Healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado, fatty fish, healthy animal fat, etc) while restricting nuts and other types of oils.

Note: I plan to increase my intake of fresh fruit/veggie raw juices and start eating probiotic foods like kimchi, kombucha, healthy yogurt, etc in the next few weeks.

If you currently have digestive issues you may want to read these 10 simple digestion tips that have helped me tremendously.

SUPPLEMENTS

Here are the supplements I am currently taking:

1. Digestive Enzymes (Digest Gold 3 per day taken with larger meals).

2. Probiotic (RenewLife Ultimate Flora 100 Billion taken before bed).

3. Astaxanthin (Nutrex Hawaii 12mg once a day). Studies have shown that dietary astaxanthin inhibits colitis and colitis-associated colon carcinogenesis in mice via modulation of the inflammatory cytokines.

4. L-Glutamine (RenewLife Intestinew 1 serving twice a day). Glutamine helps restore gut barrier function and supports the healthy function of the intestinal lining. Studies have shown that L-glutamine enemas attenuate mucosal injury in experimental colitis.

5. Evening Primrose Oil (3 per day, 1500mg). A randomized controlled study of evening primrose oil and fish oil in ulcerative colitis shows evening primrose oil may be of some benefit in IBD.

6. Alfalfa (3 servings per day taken with large meals, 3,645mg).

7. Lily of The Desert Aloe Vera Juice (Taken as needed).

8. Slippery Elm Bark Powder (You can find the good stuff at Vitacoast.com, Mountain Rose, or Pacific Botanicals).

9. Boswellia (300mg 65% Boswellic Acids 3 times a day). Studies have shown Boswellia serrata gum resin to be effective in patients with ulcerative colitis.

10. Kyolic Garlic Extract (Two servings per day). Herbs with natural antimicrobial effects like garlic, grapefruit seed extract, golden seal, artemisia, sanguinaria, and gentian have been shown to be helpful in Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

11. Vitamin D (from the sun). Vitamin D deficiency is common among patients with active IBD (particularly those requiring corticosteroids) and studies on experimental mouse models have suggested a role of vitamin D in immune system regulation and IBD disease severity.  Vitamin D deficiency in mice has been shown to impair colonic antibacterial activity and predisposes to colitis. The vitamin D receptor has an important role in maintaining the integrity of the intestinal mucosal barrier.

12. Technology (iPhone app) I use an app called D-Minder to help optimize my vitamin D levels naturally.

Note: I may start using Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL) in the next few weeks because it helps repair the gut and has been shown to support a normal mucous lining in the digestive system.

Leaky Gut Test: If you suspect your issues may be due to Leaky Gut you may want to look into getting an Intestinal Permeability Assessment, which is a noninvasive assessment of small intestinal absorption and barrier function in the bowel. This test analyzes urine for the clearance of two non-metabolized sugars, mannitol and lactulose, identifying intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) and malabsorption.

Rx Strength Probiotics: If you have advanced IBD you may want to ask your doctor about prescription strength VSL3, aka the probiotic medical food for the dietary management of patients with Ulcerative Colitis, IBS, or an Ileal Pouch.

Pro Tip: everyone’s disease process is different and IBD doesn’t affect everyone the same way, nor will everyone respond to the same supplements, medicines, or have the same foods trigger symptoms. These supplements may or may not work for you so be sure to do your own research to come up with a plan designed to work for you.

Expert Advice: Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. has some very helpful information on how to fix autoimmunity issues over on her website.

RESULTS/CURRENT STATUS

So far the results from my “experiment” have been even better than I anticipated. After 10 weeks of pain & suffering my flare is pretty much under control. I was sick for about 7 weeks but within 3-4 days of eliminating grains (brown rice, oatmeal, pastas, etc), as well as various other potential triggers (nightshade veggies, etc) from my diet the bleeding stopped and I started feeling a lot better.

It has been almost two weeks now and I haven’t had a single “allergy migraine” (I used to get one or two per week this time of year). Of course this could be statistically insignificant, but it is definitely worth noting.

I was taking my medicine (which I’m sure helped a great deal) as well as gut friendly supplements during this time – but after 6 weeks of flaring, my symptoms pretty much cleared up during my ‘Grains Armageddon’ week allowing me to function as a normal person again. I know that my medicine definitely helped a TON in my recovery process, but I strongly suspect that the diet modifications and supplementation worked synergistically to accelerate the healing process.

I may re-introduce brown rice (as well as a few other suspected trigger foods) into my diet within the next few weeks and see what happens – I’ll update the results section of this post if anything significant happens.

TRAINING/EXERCISE

I strongly recommend against any strenuous exercise when you’re sick (some studies have shown it to cause Leaky Gut even in healthy people). While I was flaring I trained at a moderate intensity 2-3 times per week for 45-60 minutes. Also, if I felt super sick I didn’t force myself to go to the gym and cause more damage, I rested, which is probably what my body needed anyway.

jamin thompson clemson workout

A pic from my workout a few days ago – still feeling a little sick, but getting back into the swing of things. 

 

MENTAL & EMOTIONAL FACTORS

I think two huge factors in allowing your body to regain optimal health and heal itself are: (1) controlling stress and; (2) getting enough sleep. Try to get at least 8-10 hours of sleep per night, and practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga regularly to de-stress and clear your mind of all negative energy. Also, try to laugh every day.

I believe the mind-body connection is more powerful than many people give it credit for. You may fix your “Leaky Gut” or your respective disease, but if your mind isn’t healthy you’ll continue to experience symptoms. I know this from experience.

So try to sort out all of the issues and stressors in your life (relationships, family, work, etc) and try to calm your mind. The goal is to get yourself into a calm, relaxed, happy place emotionally where you’ll experience less stress and anxiety.

Your emotional well-being is SUPER important and I know it can be a difficult ongoing process to re-claim your “mental health” but trust me all of the hard work will be worth it – your stomach and loved ones will thank you! I also highly recommend reading self-help books or talking to a professional if you struggle with the mental aspect of wellness.

Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to talk to a friend, relative, or healthcare professional about your mental health. I know it can be a difficult thing to discuss and that there is a certain stigma surrounding “mental health”… but you’ll be thankful you did in the long run. I saw a psychiatrist when I first got sick 13 years ago and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Here are some great places to get advice and find emotional support for IBD:

1. Crohn’s Disease Forum – Support group and forum for Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and other IBD.

2. I Have UC – International Community of People Sharing Stories about Ulcerative Colitis

FINAL THOUGHTS

Like many of you, I have been constantly asking myself the classic question, “why me?”

I’m a young person with no other health issues, in pretty good shape, been healthy for over a decade, have no other family members with the disease, etc…

I thought I was doing everything right…

…but there’s no point in worrying about situations I can’t control.

I’ve learned from experience that constantly worrying if your disease is going to get worse only leads to a never ending spiral of mental anguish and despair. Constantly worrying yourself sick, questioning why, and feeling sorry for yourself only adds to the frustrating, embarrassing, inconvenient, painful, debilitating, isolating and lonely feeling IBD already gives you. My advice is not to do it.

Some of you may agree with this (or maybe you won’t) but I believe worst part about IBD is the lack of understanding (or lack of giving a crap at all) from family and friends. They really don’t know much about or understand the disease…and by looking at me you would probably never know I was sick. Most people with IBD look completely normal on the outside…but their insides are a friggin mess.

Sure, I try to act normal, but you can only excuse yourself from meetings, dinners, family events, and lie to your girlfriend and say you “hate that sushi place” or make up some other lame excuse so you don’t have to go out so many times before people start asking, “what’s wrong with you dude…?” or talking about you like, “that guys sucks, he’s always in a bad mood, what a buzzkill…”

…and you’re not really sure whether to be honest and tell them a long boring IBD story they wouldn’t understand…or just say “I’m fine” because your symptoms are super embarrassing and you may feel gross, ashamed, and annoyed.

If you have UC or CD and ever had to sprint to the bathroom and expel all sorts of weird colored nastiness from your butt crack 15-30 times a day and felt like nobody in the world could possibly understand your pain or know what you were going through I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about here.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, even though we may not know each other personally I feel your pain and I know what you’ve been through. The pain, the suffering in silence, the lack of empathy from family, friends, and loved ones… the feelings of despair and isolation, etc – we all go through it to some extent.

I know there are a ton of people out there that are a lot sicker than I am, but I have experienced the pain and frustration that accompanies your body giving up on you in a super embarrassing way – it can be very depressing, debilitating, and isolating. I can totally relate to what you’re going through.

So with that being said, I just want to encourage all of readers out there who may be currently battling illness to stay positive. Especially any young teens or kids reading this that may be sick with IBD. Sure, IBD sucks and you may feel hopelessly depressed, but you can get better if you start taking your health and wellness seriously. These days you’ve got to be your own healthcare advocate – you can’t put all of the responsibility in your doctor’s hands – that’s not fair to you or to your doctor.

So go do some research, ask your doctor the tough questions, talk to your doctor and pharmacist about any supplements/drugs you may be taking, go get second opinions, talk to people who have done things to get themselves into remission and see if you can copy some of the things they did or tweak them according to your own needs. The main thing is to just keep fighting and always stay positive. Never lose hope.

I think half of the recovery battle in any disease all comes down to mindset. You have to stay positive – even when things feel hopeless.

Before I get out of here I just want to thank my friends who encouraged me to write this post – I was feeling a little apprehensive about it at first because I hate talking about my problems (in my family it’s called whining and complaining) and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to present the research in a way that the average person would understand (and in a way that an expert wouldn’t say was stupid).

I truly hope that this post will help someone else out there get better just like I did. If this post helps just ONE person I will consider it to be a massive success. That’s what life is all about – helping others succeed. We can overcome just about anything in life if we work together and help each other. I wish you the very best in health.

Please leave your questions/comments/thoughts/concerns below. Thanks for reading.

REFERENCES

1. Fasano, A. Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology, Feb;42(1):71-8. doi: 10.1007/s12016-011-8291-x.
2. Fasano, A. Zonulin and Its Regulation of Intestinal Barrier Function: The Biological Door to Inflammation, Autoimmunity, and Cancer. Physiol Rev January 1, 2011 vol. 91 no. 1 151-175
3. Fasano, A. Gliadin, zonulin and gut permeability: Effects on celiac and non-celiac and non-celiac intestinal mucosa and intestinal cell lines. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 2006; 41: 408 Á/419
4. Pusztai A, Ewen SW, Grant G, Brown DS, Stewart JC, Peumans WJ, Van Damme EJ, Bardocz S. Antinutritive effects of wheat germ agglutinin and other N-acetylglucosamine-specific lectins. Br J Nutr. 1993 Jul;70(1):313-321.
5. Jones, David S., ed.. Textbook of Functional Medicine. Gig Harbor:The Institute for Functional Medicine, 2005, 303.
6. Watzl B, Neudecker C, Hansch GM, Rechkemmer G, Pool-Zobel BL. Dietary wheat germ agglutinin modulates ovalbumin-induced immune responses in Brown Norway rats. Br J Nutr. 2001 Apr;85(4):483-90.
7. Eur. J. Immunology. 1999. Mar;29(3):918-27.
8. Falth-Magnusson K., et al. Elevated levels of serum antibodies to the lectin wheat germ agglutinin in celiac children lend support to the gluten-lectin theory of celiac disease. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. May 1995; 6(2): 98-102.
9. Hollander D, Vadheim CM, Brettholz E, Pertersen GM, Delahunty T, Rotter JI. Increased intestinal permeability in patients with Crohn’s disease and their relatives. A possible etiologic factor. Ann Intern Med, December 1986; 105(6):883-85.
10. Gut 1999. May; 44(5):709-14
11. J Cell Physiol. 2001 Feb;186(2):282-287.
12. Pusztai A. Dietary lectins are metabolic signals for the gut and modulate immune and hormonal functions. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1993 Oct; 47(10):691-699 ( Pusztai A Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, UK.)

Jamin Thompson
Over the past 10 years, Jamin Thompson – actor, sport & fitness model, and former world ranked tennis player – has appeared in or on publications such as Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Bodybuilding.com; as well as worked as a sponsored athlete for and/or been featured in commercials and print ads for Nike, Reebok, ESPN, Wilson Sporting Goods, Powertec Fitness, Gifted Nutrition and more. Using his real world, in the trenches experience, writes to help others dominate in the gym, on the field, and in life. His book, The 6 Pack Secret, has been sold in over 50 countries and has helped thousands of folks from all walks of life get cut and jacked the healthy way.
Jamin Thompson

@jaminthompson

🎬🎥💪🏽 Actor | Creator | Internationally Published Fitness Model | @GiftedNutrition Athlete | Instagram: JaminThompson
RT @jaminthompson: 3,500 pound German machine vs 1 American savage. #GrindNeverStops 🇺🇸⛏ Watch the full workout: https://t.co/liLNn6BiIx ht… - 2 hours ago
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79 Responses to How I Cured My Crohn’s Disease

  1. Laura August 21, 2013 at 12:51 am #

    Hi jamin

    Have you had your ANA antinuclear antibody level tested?? Mine changes depending in flare ups. I don’t have crowns but have raised ANA allergies, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, and generalised anxiety which can also apparently be caused by it. I am unsure if you are born with them raised as something a bit off or if certain things set them off. I seem to have large gaps between my illnesses where I am fine and then something else pops up. Have a look at this guys blog http://josephloegering.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/the-mutant-forms-of-abnormal-immune.html?m=1

    • laura August 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

      Excuse my spelling, was writing on a phone!

    • Jamin Thompson August 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      Hi Laura,

      I’ve never had my ANA antinuclear antibody levels tested (I didn’t even know such a test existed lol). Where did you get yours done and how much did it cost? Also, what kind of signs/symptoms do you get when you feel a flare coming on? All of this inflammatory/antibody stuff appears to be correlated somehow…

      I just had a look that that guys article you shared – interesting stuff. I definitely need to read up on it a bit – thanks for sharing!

      • laura August 21, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

        I am in Australia so my GP ordered the test for me. Our blood tests are subsidized by the government so cost $70 for the Dr appointment and testing. I believe the Mayo clinic does them in the states?

        I am not sure about Crohns and the test but the Dr said to me that I have a “funny” immune sytem so the positive ANA shows I will always be susceptible to some type of autoimmune problem. I seem to get one disease after the other, not simultaneously though. For example I have not had an RA flare up since I developed severe allergies to animals and dust mites (never been allergic to anything in my life) I am now not allergic to them anymore after about a year but have developed high blood pressure out of the blue, and low kidney function, with vertigo induced migraines! I have a sneaking suspicion my immune flare ups are hormonal… I came off the pill and they have become less intense, and my crappy episodes seem to fluctuate through the month.
        I do believe alot of my problems are Genetic also, as I can’t figure out if anything in particular sets things off, but they must do. My gran had a “funny immune system as well and passed away from a very rare immune reaction to breast cancer Called Paraneoplastic Opsoclonus-Myoclonus Ataxia (POMA); so maybe the immune system probelems came from that side of the family. The problem is its an evolving fiels and limited research seems to be done on these things unfortunately, but I think understanding yourelf and what sets things off is an excellent idea! I also try and read medical papers on things but it all goes over my head a bit ;p

        • Jamin Thompson August 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

          Interesting, I’ll definitely have to check into that test for sure.

          Your symptoms are intesting as well – they are very similar to one of my friends symptoms (she has had a ton of weird diseases randomly pop up and then go away all of the time). Sometimes she even has to wear a special type of gas mask when she goes outdoors due to severe allergies – yet nothing conclusive ever shows up on tests. She is hanging in there though.

          You’re 100% right – understanding yourself and what sets off your individual symptoms is important. Hopefully you’ll figure all of your stuff out soon though and start improving!

          • laura August 22, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

            Hi Jamin,

            I was having a search around as you had me thinking! Recently I have been put on a new type of antidepressent (for anxiety) Its called Valdoxan. It is a synthetic version of melatonin. Like taking thyroid hormones Im assuming. I have felt fantastic since taking it. Energised pain free, and allergy free. It has only been a month, my hair is starting to grow back as well. Anyway I found this article of the effects of Melatonin and autoimmune disease. May be something you could discuss with your Dr about supplementing naturally. (We have to get it on presecription in Aus) http://www.ariaintegrative.com/melatonin-may-be-helpful-in-treating-autoimmune-diseases/

            When having a look around it seems melatonin deficiency can cause lots of problems. In this little quote found here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3354573/:

            “being a regulator of numerous functions in many tissues and cells, indicates that melatonin deficiency or dysfunction of melatonin signaling leads to a plethora of consequences, which go far beyond sleep difficulties. Results on receptor knockouts in animal experiments and human gene polymorphisms of MT1, MT2, and melatonin biosynthetic enzymes indicate an association of melatonin deficiency and dysfunction with numerous diseases, as different as forms of cancer, metabolic syndrome, diabetes type 2, rheumatoid arthritis, and various mood disorders”

            Very interesting!

  2. Nick August 21, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    Great article! Well written & very well researched! I have a friend who is battling Crohn’s and I will definitely share this article with him – but even going past Crohn’s, I think this research and information can apply to just about any autoimmune disease. More stuff like this needs to be published so folks out there suffering with these diseases become aware these types of alternative treatments are available.

    • Jamin Thompson June 8, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

      Thanks Nick! Glad you enjoyed the article. Be sure to give your friend my regards.

  3. Rachel June 8, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    Hi Jamin. I hope you will read this comment. I’ve had Crohns for about 8 years now and have decided to go off all meds and change my diet. I tried cutting out all grains (I followed the Specific Carbohydrate Diet) for a month, but stopped because I had no energy, ever! How do you get enough energy to make it through the day and even work out without consuming carbohydrates? Thanks, Rachel

    • Jamin Thompson June 8, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

      Hi Rachel. Which meds were you taking…and how is your body holding up since coming off of everything? I’m sure you know this already but sometimes coming off meds and focusing only on diet can be a bit risky…

      I know the meds are dangerous & unhealthy but many times they are a necessary evil.

      With that said…the SCD is very difficult to follow for long periods of time…and I usually only follow a ‘super strict’ diet when I’m flaring. I don’t think that full-time low/no carb diets are healthy at all.

      I do eat healthy 99% of the time…and I still try to minimize my intake of foods that contain gluten, lectin and gliadin…but I’ve gradually re-introduced certain foods into my diet since I’ve been healthy for a while. I eat white jasmine rice now as my primary starch (I’ve found it to be really easy to digest), but I have completely given up oatmeal. Occasionally, I’ll also have potatoes/yams as well. I also eat fruit at least once a day. You should experiment with certain types of carbs to see which ones work best for you, but white jasmine rice is a great place to start. Hope that helps!

      J

  4. Steve June 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    Hi Jamin. First of all, a major thanks to you for taking the time to write this detailed blog post and sharing your knowledge – I realize how tedious it can be to put something like this together and I really appreciate it.

    I was diagnosed with Crohns about 11 years ago, and managed to control my symptoms extremely well through a natural diet and lifestyle and through prayer and the Lord’s grace. About 6 months ago I found myself in an extremely stressful situation (which I’m still in the midst of – and believe me, I’m trying to find ways to better manage and reduce my stress since I know what an impact it can have not only mentally, but physically as well). I believe the extreme stress is what caused my Crohns to flare up, and now I’m trying to get it under control again for the first time in 11 years.

    I’m also really interested in trying the diet that you described (avoiding all grains, nuts/seeds, dairy, etc.) and I’m struggling a bit with knowing just what to eat. You got the ball rolling by listing some of the foods that you focused on while on the more strict phase of the diet, but I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind elaborating on these foods in a bit more detail? If you could provide some examples of some of your complete meals during the extra strict phase of the diet that would be extremely helpful.

    For example, looking at your list of approved foods, just about the only complete meal that I could conjure up in my culinary challenged mind was a chicken breast slathered in about 3 TBSP of Coconut Oil with a few cups of steamed Broccoli on the side. If I had at least 5 other go-to meals in mind I would feel prepared and ready to rock.

    I’ve always found it a challenge to eat clean and healthy while still getting enough daily calories in (I find that I do best on at least 2500 calories per day, or closer to 3000 calories if I’ve been training hard).

    Finally, are eggs and beans (black, kidney, pinto, lima) considered okay during the extra strict portion of the diet?

    Thanks again for taking the time to share the (real) wealth.

    • Jamin Thompson June 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

      Hey Steve, no problem at all.. I’m happy to share and I’m glad you found the info helpful.

      Sorry to hear about your flare…I know what you’re going through and stress only makes it worse. On the bright side, it sounds like you had a pretty good run of quite a few years staying healthy…so hopefully after you get this flare under control you can do the same thing again.

      As far as the diet goes…bodybuilding usually goes out of the window for me when I’m flaring and my diet changes dramatically. My meals are usually super bland as my main goal is just getting my symptoms under control and helping my insides heal. I’ll usually eat the same thing 4-5 times a day…baked chicken (or bison/salmon/white fish) with steamed veggies usually. This is just my opinion, but your best bet is probably to just stick with lean meat and veggies…but you can try throwing in some yams to keep your calories up if you’re worried about losing too much weight. I tolerated yams pretty well…but it all usually comes down to what your system can handle.

      As far as eggs & beans go…I would definitely avoid the beans. I’m not 100% sure about the eggs…I avoided them because most of the stuff I have read suggests they do more harm than good when flaring but you can try em and see how they affect you. A lot of this stuff is very experimental so feel free to use the guidelines I came up with here and tweak them for your own use. What works for one may not work for another, unfortunately.

      Here’s a sample of one of my meals:
      6oz ground bison or salmon
      steamed veggies
      half of a small yam

      It was relatively strict…but it worked for me (along with taking my meds of course)

      How bad are you flaring right now? I hope you feel better soon bro!

  5. Gemma August 23, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    Hi Jamin,

    I’m so pleased to have found your article. After being an athlete in my younger years, being diagnosed with CD after my third child really hit me hard. I love training and to the most part I have been very healthy. But I rarely have the strength and energy now days, as I work fulltime and obviously have a busy family life.Though I did need surgery to removed strictures. That was September 2012. A year on I completed a 10k to celebrate how much I had improved… But things have really gone down hill the last 6 months, I’ve always been on Pentasa and I have been on AZA but that didn’t agree with my liver. I’m now having to take steriods again, which I really don’t like but I need something to reduce the pain and symtoms. I have been having lots of bone broths etc which have helped, but one thing I crave is potatoes and I’ve always seemed to think they have helped, but interested to read that they may contribute to a leaky gut.

    Also interested to know what medication you are also on? I’ve been talking with my GI and I’ve been very adamant that I don’t want to be on the meds and that I could control it with diet but this isn’t proving to be the case, I don’t like what I read about all the medications we are given but if they help and I can try and eat as best as I can for my body, I guess we have no choice.

  6. Jamin Thompson September 15, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    Hi Gemma,

    Sorry to hear your issues have flared up again (and my apologies for seeing your comment this late). How are the steroids working out for you? Hopefully they have gotten everything under control and your pain has subsided.

    I think we all hate the meds (yes many of them are dangerous) but I think the positives outweigh the negatives in most cases so I definitely support staying consistent with your meds. The diet part is very important in my opinion, but it’s just one part of the puzzle. Diet definitely isn’t a cure all…and since CD varies greatly from person to person…diet may not work for you the same way it works for someone else (and vice versa).

    I recommend listening to your doctor and sticking with your meds (provided it makes sense based on your research and 2nd opinions from other doctors) and experiment with your diet to try to figure out what works best for you. Also, don’t forget to factor in the mental aspect which can be HUGE.

    Lastly, I’m currently taking Rowasa…and the meds have worked pretty well for me so far so I consider myself very lucky…fingers crossed though. Hope this helped a bit…if you have any more questions just let me know.

  7. Lisa September 18, 2014 at 6:03 am #

    Thanks Jamin for the great article. I was online looking into kimchi/fermented foods and crohns when your post came up. I found the correlation between nightshade veggies and lectin very interesting. Considering most of us crohns sufferers consider potato a fairly safe food, I’m intrigued to see that perhaps it’s not doing us many favours. Definitely something to look into further. I’m also interested to know how you dealt with the cruciferous veggies. I seem to only cope with cruciferous veggies if they’re fermented re kimchi. Also, many thanks in particular for these words

    If you have UC or CD and ever had to sprint to the bathroom and expel all sorts of weird colored nastiness from your butt crack 15-30 times a day and felt like nobody in the world could possibly understand your pain or know what you were going through I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about here.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, even though we may not know each other personally I feel your pain and I know what you’ve been through. The pain, the suffering in silence, the lack of empathy from family, friends, and loved ones… the feelings of despair and isolation, etc – we all go through it to some extent.”

    They were needed tonight. I even got a bit misty eyed reading them. So, thank you.

    • Jamin Thompson September 18, 2014 at 11:17 am #

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for the kind words..I’m glad you found and enjoyed the article! To follow up on your point…the correlation between lectins and nightshades is very interesting indeed. I know many of these foods are considered healthy (and are also on the UC/CD ‘safe’ list) but perhaps they are silently doing more harm than we think. Of course, a lot of this is purely theoretical, but I do think the science is pretty strong. At the end of the day, however, I think it’s all about reading, learning, and trying new things to help the cause….especially since every case of UC/CD is so different and not everyone responds or reacts to everything the same way.

      With that said…cruciferous veggies have never really bothered me…and I try to eat as much of them as I can…even during flares. Of course…this could be the absolute worst thing to do if you are sensitive to them but I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that ha 🙂

      Lastly…I’m glad those words helped you out tonight…and you have me over here getting a bit misty eyed reading that you got a bit misty eyed. Stay strong over there friend and don’t hesitate to reach out anytime.

      J

  8. Frank November 16, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

    Hi, awesome article! Did you take maintenance meds during your first remission in addition to your diet, or did you just control it with diet?

    • Jamin Thompson November 17, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed it Frank. During my first remission I took Pred and Pentasa to get things under control and once I was healthy again my docs tapered me off all meds. I did not take any maintenance meds during that time.

  9. steve Nice February 15, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    Dear Jamin,

    My name is Steve Nice. I read your article, How I Cured My Crohn’s Disease.

    I am an entrepreneur in Johnson City, TN. My wife and I own Mona Lisa’s Gelato and Cafe. You can get get a sense of what we do by looking at our facebook page located at http://www.facebook.com/monalisasgelato

    One day, a customer came in for a bowl of our home-made soup and one of our sourdough ciabatta rolls. As she sat there eating, she looked at me and explained that she was cheating on her gluten-free diet. My private knee-jerk” reaction was “here’s another one jumping on the gluten-free fad wagon”. (Sadly, I was guilty of contempt prior to investigation.)

    She went on to say that since she had gone gluten-free, her joint pain had gone away. Since I too had joint pain, my ears perked up and I decided to discuss this encounter with my wife. We both chose to avoid gluten completely for several months to see if our joint pain would abate. It did.

    We began our restaurant business 5 years ago and during that time, have heard from many of our customers that gluten intolerance was a problem. Over time, we developed many gluten-free options on our menu.

    For the past year, I have taken it upon myself to get to the bottom of why. I began researching plant lectins, enzymes and the genetic predisposition (HLA-DQ) to improperly digest gliadin and so much more. I decided after considerable research that I would create a line of gluten-lectin defense dietary supplements.

    I have started a company and am in the process of building a website. Our team includes a Nutritional Biochemist by the name of Andy Clark, PhD, who is the Dean of the nutrition program here at East Tennessee State University. Another member is Charles Collins, PhD, a dissolution chemist who is a professor at the Gatton School of Pharmacy at ETSU. A third member, Audrey Depelteau, PhD, Director of the Innovation Lab at ETSU and a former Biology professor is my guide on this project.

    We have created and tested a new product that we are in the process of preparing for launch. I am interested in your thoughtful, informative and brilliantly presented piece and would like to feature it our website with your permission.

    Respectfully,
    Steve Nice
    stevenice57@gmail.com

  10. Annie June 10, 2015 at 4:16 am #

    Hi Jamin!
    Thank you for this informative article!
    I have crohns – currently under control with no meds but has been really severe.
    I have been trying to gain muscle mass and lose body fat for about 5 years now – work out with a trainer etc 5 times a week and my body just won’t change! I’m stuck on 29% body fat with a nice layer of blubber covering everything. Any tips?? Feeling very frustrated and a bit embarrassed that I can’t get any results!

    • Jamin Thompson June 12, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

      Hi Annie! Glad you enjoyed it and also happy to hear you have your Crohns under control with no meds…that’s great! Sorry to hear you have hit the wall with your gym results…what does your diet look like these days? Also, have you ruled out any conditions such as hypothyroidism? I have heard that the weight gain that results from taking prednisone can be more difficult to lose…but I am just reaching here because I don’t have a lot of info. Fill me in…I will try my best to help! 🙂

  11. Annie June 13, 2015 at 1:19 am #

    Thanks so much for the reply. Since writing this comment I’ve purchased your 6 pack abs book and am making a few changes to see if that makes a difference.
    I’ve started taking probiotics and kombucha to get my gut healthy.
    I’ve decided to do fasted cardio on my rebounder at least 4 mornings a week (I can’t leave the house to go for a run as have a child that I don’t want to wake up so hoping my rebounder will be sufficient!) I thought I will also do Hiit two times a week. Plus normal weight training that I already do.
    I’ve also made an appointment with a naturopath to get all that other stuff tested.
    Re:my diet, can I do this without having to count macros? My bmr is only 1200cal and I’ve just been trying to eat protein with every meal which has definitely stopped muscle wastage even though I haven’t grown any! Apart from that I’ve just tried to eat well & have no sugar …

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  13. Andrew Kornfeld February 23, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

    Hi Jamin,

    Thanks for you post. I am a 25 year old aspiring physician who has had moderate to severe crohn’s disease for some time. I took hard core meds for a long time, however have been on a regimen similar to yours for a couple years. I’m looking forward to cutting nightshades after reading and getting lectured by my naturopathic doctors. 😉

    Luckily, my symptoms tend to correlate with how well I am following my diet and also exercise (I surf or mountain bike almost every day).

    The proposed connection with leaky gut, while speculative, is very interesting and deserves further research.

    Something else to avoid is called carrageenan (found in turkey breast, soy milk and tons of other “natural things.”) Type it into pubmed and you will find that it’s used to induce IBD in animals. I also take a good amount of phosphatidylcholine (it’s cheap and studies show it can be helpful.)

    I’ve also found citrus fruit bothersome, and I eat lots of fermented stuff like Kimchi (super helpful).

    Thanks!

    Andrew

    • Nyle August 1, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

      Avoid all those gums as the research seems to point to the fact that they strip away the mucus that protects your stomach lining. Which does the opposite of the slow release phosphatidylcholine. Interestingly Lecithin is related to phosphatidylcholine but is not the same. Lecithin is an emulsifier that may strip mucous, while phosphatidylcholine appears to help build it. The studies I found as below concentrated on UC but also mention Crohns.

      Here is one of the studies. phosphatidylcholine appears to help build protective mucous and sounds like something good to try.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1774598/

  14. LAXMAN SINGH SAJWAN April 15, 2016 at 9:42 am #

    Hi jamin this is laxman
    Myself suffering from ter.ilium ileal erosion and ileitis with sig spasm shown in my colonoscopy.
    It is last ten months I diagnosed with it and taking medicines rowasa menoctyl and duphalac now I have lost 15-16kg of weight due to which I feel tired and energy less and feeling difficulty in performing normal routine. Now my doc told me to take wheat(roti) in my meal and stopped duphalac ido take medicine for high bp (channel sr) which he recommended ok after couple of months iam again feeling that screwing paim in my intestinal portion even it is not so severe as it wads initially. Frequently infection occurring in my intestine for which I had to take antibiotic and now taking snapgut what should I do kindly help me

  15. mike May 2, 2016 at 11:41 am #

    I would highly recommend anyone with digestive related issues to have a look at a product called Restore 4 Life Gut health!!!! This stuff is amazing!! You take it 30 mins before you eat(ideal) or with food(still effective). It will close tight junctions prior to eating and all food sensitivities and resulting inflammation will start to dissapear!! Glysophates (A.K.A Round up,,, weed killer) are a huge cause of leaky gut and disfunction of tight junctions, as is gluten with the Zonulin connection mentioned in the above article! It is worth remembering that even though your digestive system is under the skin, the whole track from mouth to anus is still classed as outside the body. So if tight junctions/leaky gut are a problem then it’s just like bacteria entering a wound on the skin, and none of us want that right!?!? This is also being used in clinical trials for children with autism, the gut brain connection is so strong that healing the gut in these children is bringing starting to reduce the autistic behavior!! Anyway, quite excited about this so wanted to share, i occasionally suffer with IBS, not a patch on what some people go through but it’s helped with that. I am having regular normal bowel movements 3 to 4 a day!!! The importance of proper digestive transit and the elimination of toxins from the body is so important! Not to mention the reabsorption of toxins with slow digestive transit!!

  16. Jamin May 7, 2016 at 6:48 pm #

    Hi Laxman,

    My apologies for the late reply and I am sorry you aren’t feeling well. I have never taken Duphalac personally, but due to the nature of that drug…it may have contributed a bit to your weight loss…combine that with the typical weight loss and lethargy that typically comes with IBD and it isn’t surprising you lost that much weight. How is your weight now…have you gained any of it back yet?

    You mentioned that you have terminal ileum erosions…is your doctor 100% sure you have Crohn’s Disease…? I know that there are several other things that can cause terminal ileitis: NSAID) use, infections, Ulcerative Colitis, lymphoma, etc. You also mentioned that you are taking Rowasa…do you also have colorectal inflammation?

    I know the first year being sick can be a little tricky to figure things out, but you will probably have to keep trying various treatments (both natural and traditional therapy) and see what works best for you. First, I would focus on cleaning up my diet, as suggested in this article – and also try to do exercises such as meditation or yoga to help you de-stress. Next I would try to be patient (as patient as you can at least) and see if the medicine will eventually help push you into remission.

    Last thing…just from personal experience…if you are working with a doctor and what he/she is telling you just doesn’t seem to add up or if they just don’t seem to want to go the extra mile to help figure things out for you…time to find a new doctor. Just my 2 cents!

    I hope my answers were somewhat helpful…feel free to reach out anytime if you have any more questions my friend.

    Best,
    Jamin

  17. Jamin Thompson May 7, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

    Hi Annie! I just wanted to check in and see how you were doing with everything…I hope your belly is doing great both inside and out 🙂

    To answer your question about macros…it depends. I personally don’t count them, but I can sort of estimate mine by sight because I have been doing it for so long. I know that doesn’t work for everyone…but it works for me. There are apps out there that make it easier…but sometimes you just have to count em depending on your goals and personal situation. In any case, let me know how it is all going!

    Jamin

  18. Jamin Thompson May 7, 2016 at 7:10 pm #

    Hi Andrew,

    Sorry to hear you have had some issues, but glad to hear you have things under control now! It is great that you have found some correlation between your symptoms and a certain stimuli…that definitely makes managing this thing a whole lot easier. Have you been able to come off of meds completely?

    It’s funny you bring up carrageenan…I was just talking about that stuff with someone a few days back because it is in a ton of protein powders as well. There are so many things to look out for…but the most interesting thing to me is how one thing can make one person super sick…but not affect another person at all. Crohn’s is weird like that.

    I have never used phosphatidylcholine but I’m glad you have found it to be helpful. I’ll definitely have to read up on that a bit. What type of medicine are you studying? Hope all is well!

    Best,
    Jamin

    • Nyle August 1, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

      Your article is great and really gives me a new avenue to explore with my sons Cronhns and my undiagnosed IBD. Thank you.

      Carageenan Gum, along with Guar Gum, Arabic Gum, Lecithins, etc. are emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners. They cause things to bond together that normally would separate. There have been some studies linking emulsifiers to UC and diabetes. While these additives from from natural sources it doesn’t mean that they are something that we humans should actually be eating in any quantity.

      We may find that the rise of certain things in our diet may be causing an increase in IBDs. Simply because in nature we wouldn’t consume so much of any one particular substance.

      How much more Soy, Emulsifiers, Preservatives, herbicides(round up), pesticides, food dyes, etc. are we eating now than our ancestors ate? I think we will find a strong correlation to all of these things being added to our food and consumed in quantity. Let’s say that 70% of the public aren’t harmed at all by these additives, what about the other 30% that are? The studies done on these food additives and food extracts are usually so limited as to be scientifically invalid.

      Look at it this way, let’s say raw natural Soy beans are safe for 99% of the public to consume occasionally. Is it really safe to consume Soy in multiple different forms on a daily basis in such quantity? Soy Oil, Soy Protein Isolate, Soy Lecithin, etc., etc. On top of that most Soy is sprayed heavily with Round Up Glyphoaste as is the GMO wheat crop in the US. So we go from eating something a few times a year to eating it almost daily if you eat any processed foods.

      So add all of these changes in our diets up and why wouldn’t a larger percentage of us be diagnosed with IBDs and look how science has failed us. Food science has become more about how can I make something go further, be smoother, last two weeks longer on the shelf, or look more colorful, than how can I make food healthier.

      Studies of ancient cultures actually showed that their consumption of certain food items at the core of their diets actually caused physiological changes in them. Why should we be any different.

      So while the corn lobby, and soy lobby look at how they can put as much corn and soy in our daily diets and Monsanto looks at how they can convince people to farm with chemical herbicides up to harvest time instead of plowing and pulling weeds – we all suffer with food options that should be health for 95% of us all but instead are now filled with potential risks.

  19. Madelaine May 11, 2016 at 6:41 am #

    How does exercise aggravate leaky gut?

    • Emily Harding July 20, 2016 at 5:57 am #

      Exercize creates lactic acid. Acids burn body tissue and if your body is not filtering out acidic lymphatic wastes fast enough, acids build up and create inflammatory conditions and your immune system reacts..Anyone with any chronic or degenerative condition is not getting rid of their body’s cellular wastes fast enough. They are also eating a diet that is probably very high in acid forming foods such as meat dairy grains (complex carbohydrates) legumes and processed foods. If they knew what was good for them, they’d ignore most of the “experts” and eat a species appropriate diet which is alkaline forming. We are not omnivores like dogs, hogs, and chickens. We are frugivores with digestive systems 97 percent identical to primates which are designed to digest raw fruit and the fruit like vegetables containing seeds and some tender greens and a few nuts and seeds..

  20. Bradley abeyta May 17, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    Hey man, this is a life saver. Well I hope it is. It makes so much sense, Iv just gotten out of hospital, I was in for 6 days. My first ever attack. They still haven’t diagnosed me properly yet. But they think it’s Crohn’s. I’m going to jump on your nutrition advice. I’m a strength and nutrition coach so It makes sense. I’ll keep you posted.
    Thanks

  21. Jamin May 21, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    Hey Bradley, sorry to hear you have been sick, but hopefully you’ll start feeling better real soon. Diagnosing IBD can be tough (and hopefully it isn’t Crohn’s)…but if it is…it is definitely smart to jump on a solid nutrition plan as soon as you can. This article should give you a decent template to help get you started – and if you have any questions feel free to reach out anytime.

    All the best,

    J

  22. Nick May 26, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

    Hi Jamin Thompson! I read your blog articles several times. Very interesting too. I have Crohn’s and IBS since end of 2008. I’m 34 years old healthy fit and active person. I do regularly HIIT to Liss. Weight training to some powerlifting. I eat very healthy and I cheat once month. As right now my Crohn’s is inflame right now pretty bad too lots loss of blood diarrhea and exhausted too. They got me on prednisone and possibly going on humira which I don’t want. I’m on low fiber diet high protein and good fats. Low carb somewhat lol! I have been taking some supplements to help and took break from them too so body doesn’t get immune to them. One thing I notice stress can play role on the body especially Crohn’s or Immune system. I did move to new state and got a new job. Yes things are going on as well but there are other factors cause me stress little. I do fasting lot and warrior diet does help. Give digesting a break and body. I say one thing during the fasting or warrior diet I feel light and go long on workouts. It’s weird but like more energy than before. Sometimes I do go back on regular schedule eating like two meals a day. Breakfast and dinner. No lunch. I do some pre workouts but nothing to extreme. I do vegan protein and beef too. No whey. How did you get around the medication or do you take anything now for just keep the disease in check? What is your workout regimen that you do? What you think about Humair other ones? Do you do any pre workout stuff or fat burners? Thank you for listening. Appreciate it. God bless you and your journey.

  23. Sean May 28, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    I suffered from crohns disease for about 11 years but only properly diagnosed about 3 years ago. They put me on meds after a blocked intestine. The inflammation is of the terminal ilium. I would just like to say that a diet and lifestyle change has changed my life for the better. I maybe feel ill once every couple of months now and it lasts maybe a couple of hours. I’ve cut everything out that has been known to be irrantants. Ie sugar, processed foods, grains, )legumes … I eat select fruits veggies, meats and almond butter. Everything organic and chicken turkey free range. Cut red meat out. Worked for me.

  24. Larry June 1, 2016 at 6:45 pm #

    Excellent article. I would like to add another idea and give everyone another rabbit hole to crawl down.
    Some autoimmune diseases are actually caused by mercury/metal poisoning. Dr Andrew hall cutler has a great book called “amalgam illness”.
    Metals can wreak havoc on the immune system, yet dentists still insist that it’s harmless. Dr cutler explains how to safely detox your body from metals so that your body can recover.

  25. Rami Ayyash June 8, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    Thanks Jamin. Great and courageous work. Although the technical content of the article was specific to CD, the article was simply inspiring and provides encouragement and reassurance for anyone struggling with a health issue. I will share this with my brother who was recently diagnosed with CDs. All the best to you. I wish you and all the readers a life long remission from CD.

  26. Ginger June 26, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

    Hi, Jamin you are a blessing. I was so lucky to come across your story. I was recently diagnosed in Jan. 2016. It took 4 mos. and many trips to the ER. Different Dr’s running test. I was told it was gallbladder. So it was taking out, still sick. So more test, scopes ,biopsies and than the final crohns blood test. Confirmed I had crohns. I have yet to get s handle on this. I’m sick more than not. The Dr. have put me on more medicine and different meds trying to find the right fit. Mornings are the worst for me. I feel really weak until I start eating. I keep losing weight and cant afford to loose anymore. How long did it take you to start gaining weight? You said you ate chicken, bison, fish and broccoli. For how long before you moved on to fruit? Did juicing come way later? I’ve been sick for so long I just want to get better! Thank you, Ginger

  27. Jamin Thompson July 1, 2016 at 12:16 am #

    Hi Ginger, sorry to hear about your struggles leading up to the diagnosis. Unfortunately, that is an all-too common story though as Crohn’s can be very tricky to diagnose at first. When I first got sick I felt pretty crappy for around 18 months…I was really weak…had awful nausea…lost a lot of weight…and yes mornings are always the worst. In my humble experience/opinion…the weight loss (if you are eating) is usually due to the inflammation & resulting malabsorption issues. Since I was very sick at the time I stuck to broths and juices for around 10-14 days (I was working with a holistic MD at the time who created my initial plan). However, doing the juice/broth thing was easier in my case because I didn’t really want to eat anyway…my nausea could get pretty bad. To answer your question…I went from juicing and then added leaner meats…and finally carbs as I could handle them. Every case of Crohn’s is so different…what works for one may not work for another. I have one friend who can eat cheeseburgers but broccoli is a major irritant. Go figure lol. The best advice I can give you is to experiment as much as you can (within reason) with your diet to find something that works for you. Also, I know many folks may disagree with me on this, but the meds can be a lifesaver. The key is to try to get the inflammation under control and most of the time you’ll need a good combo of meds + diet to get it done. I hope you feel better soon…feel free to reach out anytime if you have questions!

    Best,
    Jamin

  28. Jamin Thompson July 1, 2016 at 12:24 am #

    Hey Rami, I appreciate the kind words and best of luck to your brother. If he has any questions be sure to tell him he can reach out to me anytime.

    Best,
    Jamin

  29. Emily Harding July 20, 2016 at 5:35 am #

    Wow! What an interesting journey you’ve been through. Sorry you had to go through all that. You’ve done a lot of research. I’m surprised you never looked into fruitarianism or fasting. Animals in the wild when they are sick always fast.

    You know it turns out the medical profession is clueless about what foods are “good” for us — as you found out. However, I guess you still bought into the myth that too much sugar isn’t good for us including the simple sugar from fruit. They couldn’t be more WRONG about that.

    Refined complex sugars is one thing but fructose from fruit is the best way to energize the body’s hundred trillion cells! Glucose from vegetables in fact is inferior as it requires the pancreas to first produce insulin before it can be used to do the same.

    Our digestive tracts are 97 percent identical to primates and they are frugivores! They eat mostly raw fruit and raw tender leafy greens and a few nuts and seeds. They aren’t plagued with all the “diseases” humans are from eating acid forming dead cooked food with all the life force cooked out of it. Those in the raw food movement enjoy stellar health, aging reversal and astounding strength without even doing a lot of exercise. Check out thefruitarian.com

    The key words are “acid forming”. Acids BURN away your tissues. You can imagine what drinking battery acid would do to your digestive tract. Well eating a modern western diet loaded with acid forming proteins that our digestive tracts are NOT designed to break down and utilize, has the same effect. It is inflammatory.It burns away the lining of the stomach. Of course your gut will be “leaky” if you allow acids in your body’s lymphatic/immune system to build up and burn away tissue. (The remdy for that is to eat ALKALINE forming foods.) Any viruses or bacteria are there to try to clean up the mess.

    We humans have been eating a species inappropriate diet. No wonder we are so sick! We aren’t true omnivores like dogs, and pigs with stomachs designed to break down meat.

    Sure there are unhealthy vegans and vegetarians. They are unhealthy because they are still eating undigestable things such as cooked grains and legumes and processed foods. Vegetarians are eating eggs and dairy which are highly acid forming and mucus producing.

    Actually this is nothing new. They’ve known that too much protein causes cancer and ruins the kidneys since the 1940s if not way before that. The doctors people used to go to before the banksters backed the allopaths were herbalists and homeopaths. They knew (and still know) how to heal people gently..

    Western medical doctors are only taught allopathic medicine which is to treat symptoms only with invasive methods such as drugs and surgery. Their forte is stabilizing a patient from an acute illness or accident as opposed to a chronic or degenerative disease like gastrointestinal conditions. If Americans weren’t so misinformed about what medical doctors actually are trained to do, they wouldn’t be wasting so much time and money consulting them about their Cancers Crohns and Colitis and instead seek out a Master Herbalist or a Naturopathic Doctor who DO understand diet and underlying causes of disease..

    I’ll confess, it wasn’t until the last 8 years or so that I found out the truth about this and I have Dr. Robert Morse, a naturopathic doctor, herbalist, biochemist and author of THE DETOX MIRACLE SOURCE BOOK to thank.. He has a big presence on YouTube. Just go to “Robert Morse N.D.” His videos called “The Raw Truth about Cancer”, “The Great Lymphatic System” are must watch videos. For highlights of some of his best videos where he talks about the causes of diseases watch the compilation by Insightfreeman called “No such thing as diseases. It’s acid damage”

  30. Shanmugan August 16, 2016 at 9:02 am #

    Great Article…..i have diagnosed with IBD chrons on last year… i came to know the main factor involves in my disease is
    1. food – Prefer Easily digestible food apple,banana.Curry mainly beetroot,carrot,Dal
    .Fish,meat in small amounts.
    Fully Avoided nuts ,cashew,Water lemon,jack fruit,big mangoes,Chilly,
    Coriander power,Wheat

    2.sleep – 9 hours

    3.Stress relief – Mainly involve in Mobile games ..It may childish but for this disease its needed

    This way improved alot..i made a chart of things that is save to eat but still feeling hard days in my life once in a two months. So after reading your article i am curious to know is it save to eat rice…. You have mentioned that soon you will include rice in your food.. I would like to know the result

  31. Tamar August 16, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

    Hi Jamin,

    Thanks so much for the insightful information. My 16 year old son has been diagnosed recently with Crohn’s and we decided to try natural first as the drugs are so scary. Poor guy is doing OK, but diet elimination is exhausting, and nutrition as we’ve always known it has now been turned on it’s head.

    Gastroenterologist said diet has no relation to the disease, but our growing understanding of the reaction he has to certain foods, even before diagnosis, leads us to believe that’s nonsense.

    After doing copious amounts of research myself, as well as seeing an amazing Naturopath, I found myself agreeing with much of your article. My son will also enjoy reading your life story as he feels fairly low right now.

    There are foods we can live without, however nuts and seeds are something we are not so keen to cull. I was wondering though if you have ever considered soaking and fermenting them; something I’m learning to do now? What are your thoughts on that, as there is a lot of information to suggest they would be ok then?

    You’ve also given me some extra homework on nightshade. We’ve realised potato is probably suspect, but not the rest.

    Thanks again 🙂

  32. Jamin Thompson September 5, 2016 at 12:13 am #

    Hi Shanmugan, glad you enjoyed the article and happy to hear you are feeling much better. Also, you are 100% right…food, sleep, and stress are very important factors so if you have those under control it definitely helps a lot. As far as eating rice goes…i know it can be tough to digest for many folks but I have found that white jasmine rice doesn’t affect my system too bad. Everyone is different, but you may want to try it and see how well you tolerate it. Keep me posted!

    J

  33. Jamin Thompson September 5, 2016 at 12:32 am #

    Hi Tamar, sorry to hear you son isn’t feeling well but glad you found the article helpful. Hopefully he can get back on track and start feeling better real soon.

    Regarding the food…your gastroenterologist is partly right…food doesn’t “cause” the disease, but it can definitely affect it, make the symptoms worse and slow down the healing process (in my humble opinion).

    With your son being just 16…the nutrition part is arguably a lot harder because he may not want to give up certain foods (and many of the foods he can tolerate may not be his favorites to eat), but the food restriction doesn’t have to be permanent. He may be able to resume a “normal diet” once the inflammation dies down and he is healthy again (with some minor restrictions perhaps).

    As far as the fermenting and soaking of nuts and seeds goes…I have not personally tried that but I have heard some positive things here and there. I am not a huge fan of eating nuts/seeds while inflammation is present, but you may want to experiment with that in small amounts and see how he responds. Much of the nutrition part is all about trial and error as Crohn’s can affect everyone in different ways. I know folks who can’t tolerate broccoli but can eat cheeseburgers with no problem…go figure lol. Anyhow, keep me posted with how he is doing, tell him to keep his head up, stay positive, and that I am rooting for him!

    Jamin

  34. Jeremy September 6, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    Hey thanks so much for the write up. Super interesting. Question for you based on this quote of yours – When you think about it though, this very cycle may be the reason the SCD Diet has worked so well for many patients with Crohn’s & Colitis. What’s confusing about you saying that is that the SCD says that nuts, peppers, tomatoes, and a few others things you speak against and say to avoid are very much legal according to them.
    What gives?

  35. Jamin Thompson September 6, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    Hey Jeremy, thanks for reading and I appreciate the feedback. Just to clarify, the tips presented here are really just general guidelines detailing what I have used personally to help heal up from flares combined with the latest research I could find to support my methods.

    There may be some similar elements to the SCD Diet, but much of the latest research I have come across suggests that there is a strong correlation between inflammatory processes like Crohn’s and foods with high lectin activity (grains dairy, nuts, legumes, soy and nightshade plants (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, tamarios, tomatillos, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, cayenne, and peppers of all kinds) as I pointed out in this text. Lectins aside, nuts can be very difficult to digest for many folks (especially with an under-performing digestive system), and my GI generally recommends avoiding them. Other doctors may have different views, but I can only speak from personal experience on that one.

    Crohn’s is a tricky disease though…and there is no one way that works for everyone 100% of the time. However, i think that by paying attention to the little things as well as experimenting with new tricks from the latest research, we can help shorten the duration of flares and increase the odds of staying healthy longer. With that said, I usually only follow a program like this when I am flaring. Otherwise, I eat a fairly normal but healthy diet (with the exception of some foods that screw with my system like cheez-its and ice cream lol). It’s all about finding a program and plan that works best for you. Hope that helps.

    All the best,
    Jamin

  36. Kels September 20, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    Hi Jamin! Any chance you want to give that holistic practioner in the DC area a shoutout? lol I live in the region and am currently in the worst flare yet (newly diagnosed as of Nov 2015). Have tried going the no meds route (stricly AIP/SCD type diets and supplements but no dice), followed by a short stint of Lialda, then Balsalazide (I think mesalamines don’t agree with me), and then Budesonide. I may try Predn. or LDN next. But in the mean time, it’s SOS for sure to get out of this flare, work with my current GI (3rd time’s a charm?) and see if we can put a plan together. Thanks for any info.

  37. Jamin Thompson September 23, 2016 at 12:32 am #

    Hi Kels, sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well but if you live in the Baltimore/DC area you should definitely reach out to my old doc. His name is George Mitchell and he’s great. The GI’s at Johns Hopkins are great as well (arguably the best I have worked with) and I highly recommend trying to work with them as well if you can swing it. It sounds like your situation may be a little tricky since you haven’t had a lot of luck with the meds/diet/supps so I would definitely try to leverage the best minds in the area to come up with a good plan of attack…and in my very humble opinion the team at Hopkins and Dr Mitchell are the best of the best. Good luck and keep me posted!

    J

  38. James September 23, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

    Jamin thank you for publishing I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head so to speak. After 20 years of been constantly in a state of illness I eventually hit a wall three years ago and had to have a resection of the small intestine. I spent my time whilst in hospital researching my disease and the affect of diet and other factors and can say that the chanGE to what is predominantly an SCD diet has turned my life around. The thing that I really relate to is the mental toll of the disease and how it can be a viscous cycle of mental stress and anguish, anxiety and depression. Not once in twenty odd years of seeing specialists or GP’s has anyone suggested that I seek counselling or help to understand and deal with the pressures this disease can take. It took relationship breakdown for me to seek help as I finally realised how much it had affected my state of mind. This has and is helping immensely with how I cope with the disease and is part of the process along with diet of keeping you fit in mind body and soul. My advice to anyone who has just been diagnosed is to seek help in understanding and how to cope with the issues you as an individual will endure. My last colonoscopy showed no active Crohns much to my gastros surprise. He thinks it’s the meds which I barely took, I know in my heart it was the changes I made in my diet that got me there/here. As you said you need to take control of you life and not let the disease control you. Peace and love James

    • Jamin Thompson September 26, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

      James – thanks for the kind words I do appreciate it…and congratulations on your clean bill of health from your last colonoscopy. It sounds like you have had a rough go of it for a while but I’m happy to hear you’re finally in remission and doing a lot better! To your point, yes, the mental/emotional side is definitely huge – and when mismanaged it can make everything worse…from your symptoms to your relationships. I was sort of lucky in that regard because my GI worked in a large research hospital and he didn’t waste any time sending me upstairs to talk to a professional. It helped a great deal (and in my situation, the mental part was arguably more critical than the digestive part). In any case, Crohn’s is always a process and a learning experience…and I’m happy that some of the stuff I have learned over the years is able to help others through this website. I’m sure your post will help many folks as well. Thanks again for sharing. All the best, Jamin.

  39. Will Rogers September 25, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    Dear Jamin,
    Thank you for your article and for hosting this forum. I am 60 yrs. old and I apparently, according to my GI doctor, have a “rare form” of Crohn’s. I immediately feel a connection to all those who have this malady. I am 6’4″ and weigh 143lbs. and I just can’t gain weigh. Through trial and error over many years I discovered a diet that keeps my Crohn’s fairly under control. The diet is very similar to what you have described. For me, I eat cooked veggies and meat. My wife makes me bone broths that she uses as a base for thick stews. I avoid raw foods, except soft fruits. I avoid grains (including rice), diary (except goat yogurt), and sugar and processed foods. I have trouble staying hydrated.
    I don’t take meds although a week ago I started smoking a very low THC, high cannabinoid marijuana (so far I can attest to acute relief of symptoms). Do you or your readers have any experience with medical marijuana?

    • Jamin Thompson September 26, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

      Hi Will – thanks for the kind words I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Much like you, my GI also said I have a “rare” form of Crohn’s. In all of his years practicing he said he had never seen biopsy slides like mine…I am not sure if that is good or bad but I can definitely relate to your situation! I’m glad to hear you are able to control your symptoms meds free with just diet. The malabsorption and hydration stuff can be tricky but a recent study has identified a fungus for the first time as a key factor in the development of Crohns. Perhaps you may have a higher level of this fungus than a “normal” person with Crohns which may be a factor? I am not an expert on this, but it may be worth exploring. Probiotic experimentation may be helpful. Here is a link to the study if you’re interested http://mbio.asm.org/content/7/5/e01250-16 and here is a general overview https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160920151435.htm

      Regarding the medical marijuana, I do have several friends who use it for symptomatic relief. I have heard nothing but good things, and I definitely recommend it over general pain killers as they can do a lot of damage to your gut. Hope that helps! All the best, Jamin.

  40. Patricio October 15, 2016 at 8:25 am #

    Hi Jamine
    I really enjoyed your article. Thank you for taking the time in writing and sharing it with all of us. I hope you’re still in remission and enjoying life to the fullest.
    You mentioned that you’ve eliminated whey protein from your diet. What type of supplemental protein are you using now, if any?
    I have UC, and I was almost in remission (without meds) following a strict GAPS diet and supplements, but 3 weeks of grass-fed whey protein isolate (75-100 grams a day)sent me into a bad flare with lots of cramping and pain. I stopped taking the whey protein when cramps got frequent and very painful. Today is day 3 since whey elimination, and I am finally feeling better.
    I love hitting the gym hard, and I would like to know if you have tried other supplemental protein alternatives.

    Thank you.

    • Jamin Thompson November 14, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

      Hi Patricio, glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for the kind words! Just to clarify, I typically eliminate whey protein during flares because many of the additives can trigger symptoms, but when I am healthy I do use whey protein regularly. When I am flaring, however, i try to keep my protein sources very basic and clean (chicken, fish, etc) and try to keep anything with “ingredients” out of my system (i.e. whey protein)…as they can be pretty rough on the gut. Unfortunately, I have not seen or tried any supplemental protein alternatives that are safer/better than whey if you are in a flare or are sensitive to these types of products…most of the veggie/rice/etc proteins are actually a whole lot worse actually. I would probably just stick with lean meats and hold off on the protein supplements until your flare heals up. Hope that helps!

  41. Kels October 28, 2016 at 8:35 am #

    Thanks so much Jamin for your response (I was the person who currently lives in the DC area). I haven’t been able to locate Dr. Mitchell upon searching for him online (his credentials appear, but no office number yet I’ve called says he’s there at their practice). However, I’ll keep searching. I have an appt finally at the Myeroff IBD @ Hopkins next week. So I’m hoping they’ll have some insight. Thanks for that tip! Believe it or not, still in that flare, but I’m hoping to get things figured out soon bc I hate feeling so sick. Be well!

    • Jamin Thompson November 14, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

      Hey Kels, no problem glad to help. I will try to dig and see if I can find a contact number for Dr. Mitchell for you…but he was getting up there in age last time I saw him and he may have actually retired. Either way, the doctors at Hopkins are EXCELLENT so you will be in good hands. My old gastro there (Dr. Theodore Bayless) is retired now but the whole Hopkins team is amazing. Lots of brilliant minds. Good luck with the flare and keep me posted!

      J

  42. Tony November 5, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

    Hi Jamin

    Txs for your story and all information provided, amazing and i hope you feel well now. We got to talk about the 6-pack later ;). If my english is poor at times the laughs are on me 😉

    Im 45 years old live and born in Sockholm-Sweden and got my Chrons diagnose 3 days ago!!!!!!!!

    After being ill since 1998, i also was an athlete, played soccer in swedish 2nd division as a semi-pro and i was on holiday in Greece -98 after two extremly stressful years and my body completely “died” from one day to the other. All my tears, saliva everything dissapeared emmiadetely, the mucuos went superdry from being a “drevler” it was like being an dry alien in your own body. It hit the neurosystem and autonome system with big problems, got major polyneuropathy, it also affected bladder, pooping ;), balance, vision, cognition, mild fever etc etc. Its so sick everything. Ive been on sickabsence the last 10 years and im on pension now and they havent found anything in tests until now. I believe i got Sjogrens syndrome then back in -98 but tests are negative for PSS although symptoms are for. We have rheuma in the family. But sweden is now a u-country regarding healthcare sorry to say. Thats why its free of charge i think ;). It could be Chrons alone but ive never heard of Chrons attacking the saliva glands? I get all strange stuff last was a lot of 1-2cm benign lipomas on cheast an ribcage and the radiologist confirmed that the saliva glands are under “attack”. Anything you heard about? Neurolog problems and Polyneuropathy ive now read can occur with Chrons!? This is the extreme short version of what ive been going through the last 18 years. But im a warrior as you and the rest of people posting here :).
    I have a chef plus nutrition education ( but i am a stupid one ) lol, havent changed my diet earlier despate problems with food and the gut for more 18 years. Totally makes sense about the lectines. I have map tongue and lichen since a young boy and there we have the lectins, it all makes sense now. My tongue has been swollen/painful with a lot of foods all my life but no allergies confirmed not then nor now either, not gluten, diary, lactose nothing so i just thought everybody feels pain from food and get mouthpain, nesslerashes, stomachpain. But now i see that thats not the case at all ;).

    So 5 years ago i got worse with low ferritin, tired, more stomachproblems , hungerproblems and then its for me easy to go with junkfood cause its the only thing that tastes. Nothing on coloscopy, they could see very slightly signs of inflammation then but they went on the patalogies findings wich were none at that time. Now though they could only see inflammation in transversum but the whole large colon was inflamed recording to patalogy findings.

    The doctors are scary in my opinion, they wanted to put me on a medication regime rightaway after taking some tests necessary. First they said prednisol 7weeks and then Azatriopin treatment!? What do you or anybody else say about these medicins? And do they now something about my “mild” inflammation that theyre not telling!? When i asked about the diet they answeared -there are no science that the diet have anything to do with this!!!! I had a 9week flare starting 15weeks ago. Lost 6 kg’s but that was for not eating. Now im 172cm, 80kg. Last week of the flare 6weeks ago i took out gluten totally and ate rice, chickenbreast, cod. With amazing results, polyneuropathy reduced with 50-70% , happy all the time, the brain whent from 60% to be a “supercomputer”, better concentration, less impulsive, better sleep, a little more mucuos, clean nose/breathing etc etc feel like a different person and my CRP whent from 29 to 16 in 4weeks without gluten. The flare whent away emmediately. 3days ago i went on further with taking away all diaryproducts except i made ghee, all lectinfood that affects me whent and all glutamat-msg food. So now im doing my own protein soups and then i mix them in the blender and just eat the puresoup with white rice. Thats what you give the dog on diarrea 😉 boiled cod/chicken and rice plus some ricewater and it always workes on him and he eats a lot of crap outside. So it should matbe work for me aswell!? 😉

    My last bowelpart , rectum has been “boiling/heating” as long as i can remember and now 3days in on my protein/veggie puresoup even 60-70 % of that is gone. Whent to the gym today and legday on schedule and this is remarkable, a lot stronger today than my last legday 10 days ago and then i was on diary and whey-80 protein !!!??? I eat 500gr lean meat+ 5-700grams kind veggies at the time. I want to rub this “dietdoesntmattercrap” in the docs face, i asked him, if food could bring down my calciprotectin level under 50 would i need prednisol then? And he answears NO, so why shouldnt i try the food first. Hope it works, would be so nice.

    Have a question about meds. Have anyone or you Jamin tried “kinder” remission meds ? Azatriopin feels in some way “crazy” cause they also said that you have a “mild” inflammation maybe the problem is that the whole bowl is inflammed!? What do you think about this? And is that why they wanna go all-in emmediatelly? I read of an italian/american guy whos been in remission 8 years whitout meds also taking away lectins and food bad for him!? For me its more important living on kind meds or whitout meds if possible comparing having sweets or icecream. But thats how i think, adding right now 😉 lol!!!!! but i do my own chocolate on coconutoil, cacao and honey! Ghee, rice milk etc….

    Please would be very thankful for tips regarding medication and food.

    Sorry if i wrote a lot “own stuff” but trust me 18years being called a hypocondric, part of me is steaming 😉

    Looking forward to some feedback on this.

    Kind regards and the best to all /Tony

    • Jamin Thompson February 7, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

      Hi Tony! First of all I want to apologize for being so late replying to your comment. I try by best to keep up but there are a ton of articles on this blog so I get behind in my replies sometimes 🙁 Secondly, I am sorry to hear you have been sick. Your story sounds “crazy” as they say, but it sounds very similar to mine and many other people who have also posted here as well as people I know personally. Crohn’s is just a “weird crazy” disease, so anything and everything is possible in my humble opinion – and much of what you’re going through may not make any sense at first, but if you keep thinking and digging and researching you can often find a small tip that changes everything so don’t give up!

      To answer your question about the meds, I have never used Azatriopin (aka Imuran) personally – and without questioning the credibility of your doctors…it sounds like a strong recommendation for just “mild” inflammation. However, if you have been sick for years it may be a solid call. What is the extent of your inflammation? Are your symptoms pretty awful? If you are super sick and have tried the safer meds without success you may want to look into using the immunosuppressants, but there is no real right and wrong answer because every case of Crohn’s can be 10,000 times different. If it was me, I would try to start out with something safer like Mesalamine (and/or Prednisone if necessary) and see how those work for you. Then combine that with many of the diet tips outlined in this article and go from there. Just be sure to discuss it with your doctor first. I hope that helps a bit! Keep me posted on your progress.

      Best,
      Jamin

      PS – you may want to try reducing all of those veggies you’re eating and see if that helps a bit. Sometimes veggies can do more harm than good!

  43. Aaron November 16, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    Hi Jamin,

    Great article and confirms a lot of what i have been thinking/researching.
    Since writing the article how have you found your progress, is it working for you?
    Are you still having flare ups?

    Thanks
    Aaron

    • Jamin Thompson February 7, 2017 at 5:46 pm #

      Hi Aaron, glad you enjoyed the article. Not that I’m counting or anything lol but it has been 3 years and 5 months (1,267) days since I wrote this article…and *knock on wood* I haven’t had a flare since. Of course, I still have some bad days here and there, but nothing too bad. I do think that if/when I have another flare, however, I would have a lot less anxiety about it because these tips worked so well the last time. What about you…how are your symptoms these days? Hope all is well.

      Best,
      Jamin

  44. Angie December 31, 2016 at 2:59 am #

    Your generosity and knowledge is inspirational… my husband has been diagnosed with Crohn however also has high levels of mercury found in his hair analysis… what advice do you have on Mercury, Crohn and major fatigue heavy head symptoms? He was once a weightlifter addicted to the gym now can’t bare to walk more than 10 minutes… I hope you are doing well?? Thank you your support would be greatly appreciated.

    • Jamin Thompson February 7, 2017 at 5:17 pm #

      Hi Angie, thanks for reaching out and I appreciate the kind words. Sorry to hear your husband has been feeling sick…when I was first diagnosed I could barely get out of bed or walk up the stairs…the fatigue was incredible. To answer your question, however, I don’t have a ton of experience when it comes to heavy metal toxicity and it’s relationship to Crohn’s, but eliminating all fish and shellfish from his diet is probably a good first step. Also, there is also a strong correlation between levels of inflammation and fatigue…so I would focus on reducing the gut inflammation with a combo of meds + diet and hopefully his energy levels should slowly return. Keep me posted on his progress!

      All the best,
      Jamin

  45. Andrea MacInnes January 14, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

    WOW! I have been following you on IG for months but came across this post today looking for info on remission and I have to tell you….you rocked this post! Finally, someone else who’s properly informed and is writing and educating the right way. I see too often bs all over the web and want to shut those ppl down. But not you my friend! This post is incredible, thorough and accurate! Thank you so much! Peace ~Andrea (AKA One Gutsy Lady)

    • Jamin Thompson February 7, 2017 at 5:08 pm #

      Hi Andrea, I am glad you enjoyed the post and I truly appreciate your kind words. Hopefully this article can continue to help folks get healthy again without having to jump through the same hoops of misinformation that many of us have had to do for so long (especially online).

      All the best,
      Jamin

      PS – I do appreciate the follow on IG – say hello over there sometime! 🙂

  46. Arula January 29, 2017 at 9:51 am #

    Hi Jamin, your article is so inspiring! I read a lot of staff about lectins and according to Dadamo’s blood type diet, diifferent lectins aggrevate the GI tract of each individual depending on their blood type. For example according to Dadamo, eggplant, tomato and potato doesn’t seem to be a problem for blood type O. I was wondering if you decided which lectins to avoid according to your blood type.
    Thanks again for this article!

    • Jamin Thompson February 7, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

      Hi Arula, I am glad you found some inspiration in the article! To answer your question, I do not follow a blood type diet. Usually, if I’m flaring I just cut out all of the typical offenders and try not to overthink it…but my way may not work for everyone. Have you tried experimenting at all with a blood type diet yet? I’d love to hear about anything you may have tried or learned.

      Best,
      Jamin

  47. Dawn February 9, 2017 at 5:26 am #

    Looks like you Jamin have found your purpose in life! Thank you for putting your story out there for us to read! Sorry to hear what you’ve been through, but also I am amazed at your focus and perserverance! I stumbled upon your site and this post while searching “Jasmine rice and SCD”. I am helping my teenage daughter pull out of Leaky Gut, IBS, Food Allergies. We’ve been on the journey for 5 years, but only recently made the biggest additional diet change to eliminate all grains and sugars (SCD). She is toughing it out… has not been easy. I am wondering if you can respond: 1. Do you eat Jasmine Rice and how has that worked/ or not for you? I just read a book: Fast Tract Diet and it is similar to SCD but allows Jasmine rice due to it’s low fermentation potential. Wondering about your experience, your thoughts? Thanks for you time to respond, and keep doing what you’re doing, you’re sure to help so many!

    • Jamin Thompson March 18, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

      Hi Dawn, thanks for taking the time to comment…I really appreciate the kind words! How is your daughter progressing along with the changes in her diet so far? To answer your question about the Jasmine Rice…yes I do eat it (white jasmine rice specifically)…and I have found it to be a lot easier to digest than many other starches. I know that everyone is different, but you may want to have your daughter try it for a while and see how well she tolerate it. She may respond and feel a lot better using a modified form of SCD. Let me know how it goes! 🙂

  48. Maggie February 20, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

    What a gift your research is to others. Many thanks for sharing your experiences too. I hope we get to hear more of your inspiring efforts to heal yourself…………and others.

    • Jamin Thompson March 18, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

      Thanks Maggie that really means a lot. Helping others is what it is all about 🙂

  49. Cal February 20, 2017 at 9:35 pm #

    Hi, I’m looking for all and any info and as such I will also share. Currently having my first ever fistula and hoping to resolve it before needing surgery: just started a new supplement called Villicote, will see if it works, but if you haven’t heard about it check into that. I’ve had Crohns for 26 year and have my first fistula episode now. Anyways, I’m doing basically all of what the OP is doing but on top of that am also taking peppermint oil, seasoning foods with either cinnamon or turmermic or both (in tiny amounts mind you. I’m not on any RX except for Cannabis. I’ve actually totally settled two flares in the past by use of massive doses of cannabis unattainable to most people and unattainable to myself currently but not too far out of reach hopefully. In the meantime also awaiting a shipment of pure frankincense oil which is one of the oldest anti-inflammatory medicines in the world.

    I’m a professional musician. I understand how big a factor stress is in managing this. Not much I can say there, goign for a (subsidized) therapy appointment tomorrow so I can bitch for an hour. Now and then that’s all you need to charge up the batteries for more motivation in eating healthy.

    On the topic of diet I highly recommend eating tripe: its hard to make it taste good but worth trying, or get it from an Asian restaurant. Also, beef tendon which is pure protein and easily digested: its actually considered a no residue food. It’s basically gelatine though so I wouldn’t advise eating more than half a lb at a time as a serving, more like 1/4 to 1/3 lb.

    • Jamin Thompson March 18, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

      Hi Cal, thanks for taking the time to share your story. How did the fistula issue end up turning out? I hope you were able to resolve it without having to have surgery. What you mentioned about the pure frankincense oil and cannabis is interesting as I have a few other friends with moderate Crohn’s who use those as their primary medications to treat symptoms (pain/stress/etc) as well. Are you using the cannabis regularly or just during flares?

  50. Chris Buchanan March 23, 2017 at 9:20 am #

    Thanks for the info.
    Imuran gave me pancreatitis and I had an allergic reaction to remicade. Recent blood test show that I’ve built antibodies to the humor treatment I’ve been on for a few yrs.i purchased the items you suggested and going to give them a try before I try a new drug the doc suggest. Still active crohns revealed from recent colonoscopy. I’m hoping this work! Not sure what my doc will have to say when i say I want to put off trying new treatment they suggest. But I’ll let her know I’ll continue regular visits.

  51. muscleessentials March 31, 2017 at 11:45 pm #

    Nice post. Thanks for sharing it. I was searching information about Glutamine Plus

  52. Clare April 1, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

    Hello Jamin,
    I really enjoyed reading your post, im sure it has helped so many of us Crohns sufferers – I came across it (like many im sure) by spending yet another evening googling various Crohns-related questions into google!

    Im 31 years old and have had Crohns since I was 20 years of age (boy that time has flown). My 1st hospital admission when no one knew yet why i was so sick resulted in an 8 week stay and so many meds, and at the end of the 8 weeks of trying meds on me, i had to have an emergency total colectomy and ileostomy.
    The surgeon also made a j-pouch out of my small intestine. I had the stoma bag for 8 months.

    Stoma reversed and ileostomy reconnected back inside again 2007. Anyway, long story short since – over the next 6 years i had to have 13 surgeries for my crohns, afew resulted in intensive care. Anal fissures, fistula, perianal abscess, perianal drains etc..

    The med i was left on when all the rest where tapered off was azathiaprine (imuran) been on it for 8 years !! – and for the past 3 years ive felt well in self, fistula so close to being fully sealed … I decided i didnt want to take the azathiaprine anymore, ive always feared popping that pill over the years with the risks linked to it.

    Its now been 5 months off the imuran. And instead i take aloe vera juice, probiotic acidophilus, codliver oil for EFAs , and the prescription med loperamide (immodium). My last bloodtest in jan showed all fine except alittle anamic and low vit D. And my flexible pouchoscopy exam showed no active inflammation (including in biopsies that were taken at the time) – and that test was run 3 months into me not taking the imuran.

    Im so up and down with my thoughts – am i doing the right thing?! Should i be on maintenance meds?! Will being off the imuran open up my fistula? (This would truely break me as its caused me so much suffering over the years).

    I do have the odd bad day – mine doesnt consist of tummy pain, mine bad days consist of urgency and very water-like output, along with an EXTREAMLY sore bottom – to the point where walking becomes a challenge and every movement down there brings tears to my eyes. (My last episode of this being lastnight infact!) … But its not like this is new since stopping the imuran, i used to still get these days being on it.

    I was also told i had ‘gilberts syndrome’ years ago, with raised liver enyzmes. But maybe it was just an effect of years of imuran?!

    Anyway i was determined i would keep this post short and to the point – failed on both accounts!!! Hope you are in remission and hoping for long remissions for all fellow crohns sufferers.
    #butyoudontlooksick

    Im now drawing up a journal to keep better track of bad days – how frequent, what eaten on that day etc

    Thank you again, i dont know you in person, and im not even reading this from the same country as you! But your shared experience is wealth.

    Clare, UK.

  53. Christiana April 25, 2017 at 7:47 pm #

    This was so amazingly well done and researched. Thank you so much for this post!

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