I have a friend whose Crohn’s disease went into full remission after a year of eating gluten-free. This made me interested in all the research around Crohn’s, gluten, and food intolerances.

Crohn’s disease is associated with western diets. I have several citations below. The bottom line is that if you or someone you love has Crohn’s it would be reasonable to try to identify any food intolerances (IgA reactions) and allergies (IgE). There are tests for gluten and dairy, but given the potential for the culprit to be corn or citrus, I would want to work with a nutritionist on managing an elimination diet with reintroduction. Remove as many potential problem foods as possible at the same time (for a Crohn’s patient it appears that additives and preservatives, grains, dairy, eggs and citrus are most common) and eat this limited diet for a month, then reintroduce the potentially offending foods one at a time. Crohn’s patients may have atypical sensitivities as well (certain fruits and veggies) which can also trigger episodes.

It seems that vitamin D may be part of the issue. If you get yours tested, you want to see a level between 50 and 90 nanomoles per milliliter. Fish oil has also shown some promise, and you should be certain that you are getting enough nutrients overall.

So now on to the research

This first full article is from the World Journal of Gastroenterology. It is a meta-analysis of other analyses and says a lot of what I said above.

A tiny Turkish study that I would not otherwise include (12 patients is not enough for me) but I liked the design of the study

For the fifth grade science failures out there who presume that when something “runs in families” there must be a genetic component (as opposed to an environmental or epigenetic one since families tend to live in the same general area and eat the same type of food), here is some evidence to the contrary. It appears that the incidence of Crohn’s in Asia in the last 40 years has shot up.

And here is one about incidence rates by country.

And one about the correlations noted in India where the rate is increasing

And finally there is some interesting if wildly preliminary work on L-Cartinine and how supplements MAY help the Crohn’s patient.