Understanding the Vicious Cycle

After going through the intensive process of attaining remission from Crohn’s Disease and talking to hundreds of people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in addition to reading hundreds of peer-reviewed studies – I would like to share with you an observation I have made and model I have developed for understanding the condition.

While the exact cause of IBD is unknown, I have identified two critical factors that play a role in IBD inflammation through a Vicious Cycle (different then SCD cycle).

They are 1) your food choices and 2) your level of psychological stress. While your GI might throw up his or her hands when you bring up diet and stress, the science points to something different. It is unclear to me exactly why there is a disconnect between science, reality and the current healthcare delivery strategy for IBD. However, it is well understood that certain foods can cause inflammation (a little different for everyone) and it is also well understood that stress dysregulates immune function. Food choice affects the bacterial composition of your gut aka the microbiome (the science is clear).

The microbiome is highly linked to IBD. Stress hormones like Cortisol channel the body’s resources away from non-critical systems (in a fight or flight situation aka a stressful one) like the GI tract and your immune system (you don’t need to be digesting your lunch or fighting microbes when you’re under attack by a real or perceived threat). Stress and poor food choice COMPOUND off one another and create the IBD Vicious Cycle. If you can intervene and break this cyclical pattern then your probability of achieving remission from IBD will be enhanced.