In addition to the causes of IBD diseases like Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis that our Toronto naturopath talked about last in last week’s blog, research has shown that an imbalance in the gut microbiome, known as dysbiosis, plays an important role in IBD. In particular, lower diversity of gut microbes has been observed, in addition to higher levels of specific bacteria that have a higher inflammatory capacity and lower levels of bacteria that have anti-inflammatory effects. Experimental treatments for IBD such as fecal transplants have been gathering evidence, and probiotics have long been used by naturopathic doctors, as well as botanical medicines and eating patterns that discourage the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
Naturopathic treatment for IBD also takes a targeted approach to calming down inflammation and healing the intestinal lining. Botanical medicines play a great role in reducing intestinal inflammation and thus the symptoms of IBD. Doses, timing and forms of herbs (tincture, capsules or teas) are designed to optimize their effectiveness for each individual, as well as to eliminate the risk of interactions with any medications. The same is true with vitamin, protein, or mineral supplements used.
Nutrition plays a vital role in shaping the gut microbiome and in reducing inflammation, however there is no one diet that cures these conditions for everybody. Our Toronto naturopaths personalize their nutritional recommendations both by a thorough review of each patient’s history, signs and symptoms, as well as by testing for foods causing inflammation with a blood test. This is not the same as an allergy test, but rather a way of reducing inflammation by eliminating any foods that the body is reacting to by producing antibodies. In addition, we discuss lifestyle practices around food, cooking preparation methods, and food combinations that reduce the burden on the gut, allow complete digestion, and strengthen the digestive organs.
Each case of autoimmune illness is unique. Our Toronto naturopaths strive to identify the root causes of the inflammatory and autoimmune cascade in each patient. By addressing and supporting not only intestinal health but hormonal health, immune health, mental health, and organ function for each individual, remission can be achieved and maintained quicker than with conventional treatments alone.