Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population suffers from an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and yet TV commercials for IBD drugs still plaster the airwaves. These drugs are worth the advertisements cost because they’re expensive—sometimes tens of thousands of dollars per person per year—and the people with these conditions desperately need treatment.
Yet, IBD is often misunderstood. Several risk factors have been identified for the group of conditions that fall under the IBD label, however there are still unknown factors at play. Pharmaceutical and surgical approaches to IBD can help patients, but come at a cost of side effects and money. For example, foods that soothe symptoms in one person’s gut may inflame another person’s gut. In the frustrating quest for treatment, a paradigm emerged that diet did not cause IBD, and could not really treat it. Typical diet recommendations can improve calorie intake, and perhaps ease symptoms, but most dietary recommendations are not aimed at controlling the condition.
Thanks to the insistence of patients and their doctors, there have been new inroads into dietary treatments of IBD. Dr. Ronald Hoffman, MD, explains the current understanding of IBD, as well as the supplement and dietary approaches physicians can use to help their patients heal. In some cases, IBD patients can live without depending on expensive pharmaceutical treatments.