Dietary Factors in the Modulation of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Activity

Shinil Shah, DO, PGY-1


March 27, 2007


Physicians may benefit from several sources when questioned by patients and/or colleagues about various complementary/alternative approaches to IBD. These include The Cochrane Collaboration (evidence based reviews on a multitude of topics;, Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (evidence-based reviews of natural supplements and medicines;, and The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (

It is also important to advise patients to look carefully at various manufacturers when choosing a particular supplement/intervention (ie, probiotics). There is a lack of oversight into the manufacturing and quality assurance of these supplements. Particular factors that may lead one to pick one manufacturer over another is their funding of published research relating to their product, length of time in business, affiliation with consumer agencies, and previous experience/outcomes.

As more research is being done regarding complementary/alternative approaches to a multitude of diseases, we can expect a multitude of articles and recommendations in the mainstream medical literature. As randomized trials are few and the evidence is not equivocal, we should be careful with broad recommendations and endorsements of these approaches. As we can see, there are a multitude of dietary variables that show promise as natural ways to affect the inflammatory bowel disease process. Although more evidence is needed before these become widely accepted as standard therapy, they represent an exciting and largely unexplored field in potential therapies for IBD.


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