by Dr. David Williams
Discover easy, natural treatment options for this inflammatory bowel disease
Most doctors in this country rely on powerful drugs to treat the inflammatory bowel disease known as ulcerative colitis even though their side effects can be substantial and their success rate is relatively low. My suggested seven-step treatment plan below, however, consists of proven all-natural therapies for relieving ulcerative colitis symptoms. I also include a few additional alternative remedies to try for stubborn cases of ulcerative colitis. Of course, because ulcerative colitis can turn severe in some instances, it is one condition that should always be monitored by a doctor. I encourage you, therefore, to talk to your doctor about the following alternative therapies that can increase the success rate of any treatment plan you may be on for this particular inflammatory bowel disease.
- STEP 1: Cut the Refined Carbs
- STEP 2: Identify Any Allergens
- STEP 3: Fill Up With Fiber
- STEP 4: Seek Out Nutritional Support
- STEP 5: Add Oils
- STEP 6: Consider Protein
- STEP 7: Accelerate the Healing
- Restore Colon Balance
- Boost Beneficial Bacteria
- Buy Some Bromelain
- Have Some Honey
- Watch Your Water
STEP 1: Cut the Refined Carbs
To begin to get a handle on your ulcerative colitis symptoms, you need to eliminate refined carbohydrates (sugar) in your diet. Refined sugars can cause a couple of major problems. First, sugar can create an abnormally high pH problem (too acidic) in the lower bowel. This, in turn, disrupts the normal bacterial flora in the colon and can be a reason for chronic diarrhea. Secondly, sugar helps feed certain forms of bacteria and yeast-like fungi like Candida, which can get out of control and cause systemic infections.
STEP 2: Identify Any Allergens
In some cases, ulcerative colitis has been related to allergic reactions to certain foods. Corn, wheat, and milk products seem to be the most common culprits. Elimination of these foods in the beginning of treatment may be required. (See my directions on how to follow an elimination diet.)
STEP 3: Fill Up With Fiber
Gradually institute a high-complex carbohydrate, high-fiber diet. Include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (excluding wheat and corn initially because they are potential allergens).
STEP 4: Seek Out Nutritional Support
Due to the chronic diarrhea and malabsorption issues that stem from ulcerative colitis, most people suffering from this inflammatory bowel disease will quickly become deficient in vitamins and minerals. Therefore, a high dosage multi-mineral/vitamin—one offering four or five times the RDA of most nutrients—should be taken. Extra vitamin C should also be taken, but not in quantities that could further irritate the lower bowel. Exact amounts have to be determined on an individual basis.
STEP 5: Add Oils
Increase your intake of omega-3 oils, such as those found in fish and flaxseed oil, as they have been shown to help reduce the inflammatory process. I recommend between 1 and 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil daily.
STEP 6: Consider Protein
For long-standing cases of ulcerative colitis, I would suggest trying a predigested protein powder to correct any amino acid deficiency. You can find these powders at practically any health food store. Take about 15 grams (that’s a little over one-half an ounce) three times daily.
STEP 7: Accelerate the Healing
The two natural substances, aloe vera gel liquid and liquid chlorophyll, have been shown to be quite effective in speeding the healing of ulcerative colitis. When considering aloe vera gel, look for “whole” aloe vera gel, not products with aloe juice in them. You should be able to find products like this in most health food stores. I suggest taking about 2 ounces, six to eight times a day, on an empty stomach. Stick with this regimen for several weeks, even if your ulcerative colitis symptoms stop before then. And to make the aloe vera even more effective, add a teaspoon of liquid chlorophyll every time you take the aloe vera. Two chlorophyll products I highly recommend are the one by Nature’s Way and the one under Bernard Jenson’s label. Both are available in most health food stores.
Restore Colon Balance
In the few cases where the above seven-step plan didn’t relieve the chronic diarrhea in three or four days, I have successfully used enemas of butyric acid. Butyric acid is naturally produced by cells in the colon through the fermentation of fiber, and is the main source of energy for the cells lining the large intestine. German studies have repeatedly shown that butyric acid enemas can reduce diarrhea, inflammation, and the discharge of blood in ulcerative colitis.
Butyric acid is generally only available through doctors. A company called Tyler Encapsulations makes a kit that contains everything you need to give butyric acid enemas for two weeks. This is the time period used in the German studies, and should be adequate to restore a balance in the colon. The kit is available from Key Pharmacy at 800-878-1322.
Boost Beneficial Bacteria
Many of the treatments for ulcerative colitis, natural and pharmaceutical, address the problem of irritation to the bowel, but few are geared toward re-establishing the beneficial bacteria in the bowel. I’ve seen remarkable turn-arounds in those suffering from the inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, by using retention enemas containing only 1) lukewarm water, 2) yogurt with active live cultures, and 3) pulverized lactic acid yeast tablets.
To make the enema solution, you can mix one quart of lukewarm (not hot), distilled or filtered water (not chlorinated tap water) with eight ounces of room temperature plain yogurt and 6 to 8 pulverized tablets of lactic acid yeast. Use half the solution as an enema and retain the fluid as long as possible, then repeat with the rest of the solution.
Buy Some Bromelain
Bromelain is a protolytic enzyme (one that breaks down proteins) with strong anti-inflammatory powers that can help calm the lower bowel. It has also been shown to be effective at preventing the attachment of the bacteria Escherichia coli and the infection that often follows. Simply taking a couple of bromelain tablets with each meal can help resolve ulcerative colitis symptoms.
There are dozens of different brands of bromelain available at health food stores, but determining their strength is difficult because of the way they are labeled. So start with a couple of tablets with each meal and adjust that dosage depending on your ulcerative colitis symptoms. You should begin to see results within a week.
Have Some Honey
Researchers at the Chandigarh Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research have discovered that eating regular doses of manuka honey can help in cases of irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. They induced the digestive ailments in experimental rats, then fed the animals manuka honey. At examination, the rats that received the honey showed greatly reduced levels of inflammation in the bowel, and improved values for cell changes and antioxidant levels.
The dose used in the studies was 5 grams per kilogram of body weight daily. (The rats didn’t weigh a kilogram, though.) For a 100-pound person this would work out to about half a pound of manuka honey a day, obviously a huge (and costly) amount for a person to be consuming regularly. I would suggest starting with a much smaller amount, a teaspoon a day, to see what effect the honey has on your ulcerative colitis symptoms. You can increase the amount if needed.
Watch Your Water
Make the switch to distilled water. Eliminating the chlorine and other irritants found in most public drinking water can sometimes benefit those with the inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis.