Why Inflammatory Bowel Disease Needs Nutritional Supplements

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Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the name given to inflammatory disorders of the large and small intestine, is extremely debilitating and painful. Although conventional medical treatment can suppress the symptoms, it’s important to treat the underlying cause. Nutritional supplements have been proven to successfully help do this.

Let’s take a look at how and why.

Two Types of IBD

There are two main types of IBD — Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The main difference between the two is the nature of the inflammatory changes and their location.

  • Ulcerative colitis usually starts in the lower part of the large intestine and spreads upwards. It’s restricted to the large intestine, where the mucus becomes inflamed and superficial ulcers form. The diseased section of the colon has widespread, continuous inflammation with no healthy areas.
  • Crohns disease is much more serious. The inflammation can occur in any part of the digestive tract, from anus to mouth. It occurs intermittently, unlike the inflammation in ulcerative colitis. Deep ulcers form, and may extend into all layers of the intestinal wall. Groupings of inflamed cells are also present.

What Causes the Inflammation?

Unfortunately, doctors find it hard to pinpoint the reason why the inflammation occurs. Immune system problems, environmental factors, and genetics are commonly listed as factors.

However, a growing body of scientific evidence points to oxidative stress as the underlying culprit.

Dr Ray D. Strand, M.D., discusses oxidative stress and inflammation in detail in his book, What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You.

The Problem of Oxidative Stress

What’s oxidative stress?

Essentially, it’s the term given to the amount of cell damage in the body caused by what are known as free radicals — unstable oxygen molecules with unpaired electrons. They readily rip electrons from other molecules in order to become stable, thereby causing changes to cell structures.

The main source of free radical production and oxidative stress is the body’s normal metabolic processes, such as the reduction of oxygen into water to create energy. Each water molecule normally takes up four electrons. However, sometimes, oxygen might escape with unpaired electrons before the conversion is complete.

Free radicals and oxidative stress also result from other factors such as cigarette smoke, excess consumption of alcohol, environmental pollution, asbestos, radiation, and infections.

Hence, the amount of oxidative stress in the body is determined by an individual’s hereditary factors, as well as the environment, and lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, these days, unhealthy choices mean that many people have way to much oxidative stress.

Irreparable Cellular Damage

The body does have a mechanism for dealing with free radicals. It makes substances called antoxidants, which can give up an electron to a free radical, to balance out its unpaired electron and neutralize it.

Health problems arise when our bodies make more free radicals than they can fight off. This inability to restore balance and repair cellular damage has the potential to cause significant levels of inflammation, as the body attempts to get the situation under control. However, the body can only manage unhealthy levels of inflammation for a short period of time, as it hinders its natural immune system response.

As Dr Strand points out in his book, chronic diseases contain an element of increased inflammatory response, often observed long before the disease is documented clinically. It is such an inflammatory response that leads to inflammatory bowel disease.

Oxidative Stress and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

There’s a substantial body of scientific research that’s been conducted into oxidative stress, and Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

For example, this study confirms:

“Oxidative stress and oxidative cellular damage are hallmarks of UC (ulcerative colitis), and probably play key roles in the pathogenesis of this disease and the associated carcinogenesis process”.

In addition, this study, which examines the role of oxidative stress in Crohns disease states:

“There is increasing interest in oxidative stress being a potential aetiological factor and/or a triggering factor in Crohn’s disease, rather than a concomitant occurrence during the pathogenesis of the disease”.

This study also found that patients with Crohn’s disease had a significantly higher level of oxidative stress in their bodies than healthy people.

These abnormally high levels of oxidative stress were present, even though the majority of patients were taking medication that controlled their symptoms.

Nutritional Supplements as the Solution

Fortunately, it’s possible to boost the level of antioxidants in the body, and thus reduce oxidative stress, by taking nutritional supplements that contain them.

A combination of antioxidants and fish oil (which is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, known to naturally inhibit the production of anti inflammatory compounds in the body) seems promising for treating inflammatory bowel disease. Confirmation can be found in this study on patients with ulcerative colits. In addition, results from this study on patients with Crohn’s disease showed that defense cells were producing less inflammatory chemicals in subjects who consumed fish oil and antioxidants.

Important antioxidants and nutrients include Vitamin E, Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Vitamin A (taken with a mixture of carotenoids), Bioflavinoid antioxidants, Glutathione, Co-enzyme Q10, Alpha-Lipoic acid, a mineral complex (containing important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc).

The Importance of Choosing a Specialist Supplement

These antioxidants and nutrients must be provided to the body at optimal levels, much higher than Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) levels, depending on the severity of a person’s condition. In addition, you won’t find all of them in a simple daily multi-vitamin. You’ll need to choose a specialist supplement.

Several companies are now putting all of the nutrients and more together in one or two different pills. However, it’s extremely important to choose a quality product for maximum effectiveness. The raw materials used and how they’re processed affects the quality dramatically.

The most important thing to find out is whether a company follows Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for pharmaceuticals. These companies produce what is called pharmaceutical grade supplements. Such supplements aren’t cheap, but it’s very much a case of getting what you pay for.

The specialty nutritional supplement that we recommend on this basis is Xtend-Life Total Balance. In our opinion, it’s the most advanced and best quality antioxidant nutritional supplement of its kind on the market, with specific formulations for both men and women as well as unisex. Each contains around 80 different ingredients in therapeutic dosages to restore your health. The pills are also enteric coated, to ensure that they are properly absorbed by your body.

Xtend-Life is a family owned company that offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all products. This means that you can try them absolutely RISK FREE.

Probiotics and Prebiotics for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

In addition to the above, high dosage probiotics and prebiotics have been found to be very beneficial in treating Crohn’s disease. As indicated in this study, they restore the bacterial balance in the gastrointestinal tract. Seven out of 10 patients had improved clinical symptoms following combined probiotic and prebiotic therapy.

Find out what we think is the best prebiotic supplement and why.

We Use and Recommend!

Xtend-Life because they are a family owned company specializing in development of innovative products to meet specific needs.

Xtend-Life combines top quality raw ingredients that are laboratory-tested, with superior manufacturing practices. Satisfaction is guaranteed, or your money back!

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