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IBD

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While colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence and mortality rates are decreasing in those 50 years of age and older, CRC in young adults is on the rise. New research sheds light on the differences between early and late onset CRC. Analyzing data from 36,000 patients, a recent study found that younger patients (aged 18 to 29 years) diagnosed with CRC are more likely to have specific genetic mutations and CRC sub-types, while older patients and those with predisposing conditions like inflammatory bowel disease have different clinical and genetic characteristics. Cancer  Takeaway: These very distinct differences in CRC between younger and older patients may affect how the cancer presents itself and may call for different types of treatments. The researchers who conducted the study are hoping for more studies looking at very young CRC patients and those with predisposing conditions. For more on early onset CRC, check out Did You Know – Colorectal Screening Age…

Coconut water is one of the biggest wellness fads in the last 10 years. But is it everything it claims to be: a great source of potassium, magnesium, antioxidants, amino acids, and even cytokinins (a hormone with hypothesized antiaging, cancer-fighting properties), plus low in calories, and an excellent hydration tool? I can definitely speak to the last claim based on personal experience in my gastroenterology practice. Growing up in Jamaica and drinking coconut water right out of the coconut, I was excited when coconut water hit the U.S. market. As a gastroenterologist, I began using coconut water as a form of oral rehydration therapy in patients who struggled to stay hydrated because of diarrhea, which can be a problem for people with inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) or in those who’ve had their colons surgically removed because of cancer or disease. While sports drinks are often the…

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is drastically higher in those with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD – Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis). After analyzing 11 studies, including over 1,100 IBD patients and 400 controls, researchers found that IBD patients are 9 times more likely to develop SIBO. Alimentary Pharmacology Therapeutics →Takeaway: Why this incredible risk of developing SIBO in IBD patients? Scientists hypothesize that prior surgeries, gastric pH changes and compromised intestinal mucosal integrity, all common in IBD, could be to blame. If you have IBD and/or think you may be suffering from SIBO, or if you are a practitioner who treats IBD and/or SIBO, check out Dr. Chutkan’s course, the Gutbliss Guide to SIBO for an incredible compilation of clinical information on testing, diagnosing, and treating SIBO.

Chronic IBD symptoms (such as fecal incontinence and constipation) don’t have to be chronic. A recent study in 40 patients with IBD (24 with Crohn’s disease, 12 with ulcerative colitis, and 4 with an ileo-anal pouch) showed that gut-directed behavioral treatment (pelvic muscle training, lifestyle modifications, and biofeedback therapy) could make a big difference in chronic symptoms. 77% of patients with fecal incontinence and 83% of patients with constipation reported improvements of “much better” and “very much better”. Inflammatory Bowel Disease →Takeaway: Gut-directed behavioral treatment should be a first line therapy in relieving IBD symptoms. Researchers encourage patients to not only undergo therapy during a flare, but also in remission to improve outcomes.

Artificial sweeteners promote dysbiosis (imbalanced gut bacteria) in Crohn’s disease (CD) patients and may worsen the disease and its symptoms. In a series of 3 studies, scientists mixed a low dose of Splenda into the drinking water of mice (who originated from a genetic line of mice with CD). They increased the dose slightly for the second study and ten times for the third study. When compared to control groups of healthy mice that received plain water, there was an increase in Proteobacteria, E. coli, and intestinal wall immune cell reactivity – all signs of dysbiosis. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases →Takeaway: The lead researcher in the study concluded that Splenda and other artificial sweeteners should be avoided by those with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or other digestive diseases, as they can cause inflammation and disease flare-ups. He also suggested in Newsweek that those without these conditions might not need to worry about the potential side effects of Splenda. At…