Causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease according to Functional Medicine:
Clearly not all of the above apply in each case. Each person is unique as to what is triggering the immune system. As one or more of these areas are addressed specific to the individual, symptoms can be resolved. *Every case of Crohn's involves dysbiosis. Also, in my clinical experience, I have never seen a case of Crohn's where food allergies were not a significant issue.
Epigenetics is a huge area of focus in Functional Medicine. Epigenetics is the study of biological mechanisms that will switch genes on and off. The epigenome is another “layer” of chemical compounds that have been “attached” to our DNA as a way to regulate the activity or expression of all the genes. DNA modifications that do not change the original DNA sequence can affect gene activity and are known as “epigenetic changes.” Epigenetic changes can help determine whether genes are turned on or off. Environmental influences, such as a person’s diet and exposure to pollutants, and infection all greatly impact the epigenome. The epigenome can direct the activity involved in controlled or uncontrolled cell growth or immune response. Metabolic disorders and degenerative disorders have been found to be related to epigenetic errors.
Simply put- even if one has marked genes for a specific ‘disease,’ these genes can be turned off in their expression. Eliminate the infection, resolve any other triggers, and the genes for said ‘disease’ turn off. This is a fascinating and very up and coming area of science. Meditation has also proven to drastically effect the expression of our gene’s as well.
Crohn's Disease is specifically linked to infection; a very specific infection that takes hold on only those with a genetic mutation. Due to this infection, many of the above 'causes' simultaneously ensue.
Mycobacterium Avium Parataberculosis in Relationship to Crohn's Disease
The term ‘auto-immune’ is under speculation in regards to Crohn's Disease. Did you know that science has only discovered less than 5% of disease causing microbes? That’s it! There has been an increase as of late in the discovery of specific diseases being linked to certain pathogenic bacteria (or virus, parasite, fungus etc). This is a huge topic that surely cannot be summarized here. However, I will reference my favorite quote, by a doctor that is a pioneer in a very specific field of digestive disease right now:
“Infection and auto-immune disease are the opposite sides of the same coin.”
Dr. William Chamberlin
There is currently much research that supports Crohn's Disease being linked to Mycobacterium Avium Paratabuerculosis (MAP), a bacterium with super-human powers that is VERY hard to kill. There are organizations popping up all over the globe dedicated to further scientific study of this disease causing bacterium. For a very in depth summary of the science, history, vaccine, studies, and treatment for Crohn's in relatiosnhip to MAP please read my ebook Wake up to the Truth Behind Crohn's Disease. You will never see your disease the same again. Science has come a long way. Crohn's can be treated naturally or with pharmacueticals.
The new MAP test currently being developed is a simple, smart test which can be done on blood samples or routine gut biopsies. It is highly accurate and quantitative and will help to dispel diagnostic uncertainty in Crohn's Disease.
This is, in summary, is a look at Crohn's Disease from a Functional Medicine perspective, taking into account microbiology. Now let’s change hats and look at it from a TCM perspective.
Crohn's Disease According to Chinese Medicine
As stated above, differing constitutions of individuals will elicit a unique Chinese Medical diagnosis. I do know that Chinese theory will not make sense to most, but I find it important to at least offer the most common differential diagnosis in Chinse terms so that the reader can begin down the path of understanding their illness specific to their constitution. This differential diagnosis could also be a contributing factor as to why people respond differently to medications/supplements.
Chinese Differential Diagnosis of Crohn's Disease
- Damp-heat Accumulation
- Spleen and Stomach Deficiency
- Liver overacting on Spleen Qi
- Spleen and Kidney Yang Deficiency
- Blood Stagnation
Damp-heat accumulation is almost always involved in Crohn's Disease; it is just a question as to whether or not it is the primary pattern of disharmony. The Spleen Qi is usually affected, and in long- term, chronic Crohn's the Yang of the Kidney’s is hindered. For those with remittent sharp, knife-like stabbing pain, blood stagnation is present.
In my shop I offer the 3 most common Chinese Formulas prescribed for Crohn's- these formulas mostly address damp-heat. It takes a skilled Chinese Practitioner to thoroughly interview a person, find out signs and symptoms and accurately diagnose according to Chinese medical theory. I certainly cannot offer all Chinese Formulas in my shop as there are hundreds. However, should we work together, I can investigate your case specifically and prescribe accordingly. Together we can discover which of the above patterns are dominant in your condition. I will say that usually either the Isatis Cooling or Formula H help most cases of Crohn's, to some degree.
The Curing Pill formula is like gold for any Crohn's patient, symptomatically. I could not have gotten through my active Colitis days without this one- any time there’s pain (qi/blood stagnation) or gas/bloating (damp-heat), or when symptoms ensue after eating a meal, curing pills will do the trick. Of course dosage is key.
Often 2 Chinese Herbal formulas are needed- one to address the primary disharmony and another for the secondary pattern of disharmony. I will be writing further material on each disharmony so that individuals’ can become educated on the nuances of each.
Of course Chinese herbs are only a part of my approach in treating Crohn's Disease, but they are a powerful adjunct to any regime aimed at resolving symptoms. Chinese herbs can energetically change the terrain; clear heat (inflammation). These formulas, combined with functional medicine strategies can be a powerful means of reversing even the most stubborn cases of IBD.