The intestine’s job is to break down food so nutrients can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Inflammation from Crohn’s disease can make it hard for your child to get enough nutrients to grow and develop. Nutritional support can help correct any shortfalls. In times when inflammation is under control, nutritional support is still important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
Nutritional support can mean changing what or how your child eats or using nutritional therapies (formulas or special diets).
The IBD Center team designs a complete nutrition plan for your child so they get enough calories and eat a range of foods, including fruits and vegetables. Certain choices can help reduce symptoms. Two keys are to:
- Limit lactose (sugar in milk) and fructose (sugar in fruit), especially fructose that is not in its natural form, as in high-fructose corn syrup
- Chew foods well, especially raw, crunchy foods
There’s mounting evidence that certain nutritional therapies can reduce inflammation in Crohn’s disease. One is a diet made up of 100% formula. This can be formula with simple nutrients that don’t need to be broken down before they are absorbed (elemental formula) or formula with more complex nutrients (polymeric formula). Research shows these formulas can help some children with IBD.
Other options, such as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, exist. At this time, the options have different levels of evidence to support their effectiveness.
At the IBD Center, we embrace nutritional therapies and help families decide whether this type of treatment is right for their child and how to use it. The center team can give you details and resources about the options. We work with you to decide the best ways to track your child’s progress and tell whether the therapy is working for them.