Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.Q: Dear Terry “Could you please share your thoughts with me regarding Crohn’s disease? I have a dear friend that has been diagnosed 5 years ago and has been in treatment to little avail. He is a vibrant 52 year old man who just hasn’t found any answers. He is the funniest, most loving best friend that you would want to introduce to anyone. I was referred to you by a friend in Pennsylvania. Awesome how the world connects! Do you have any dietary supplement suggestions?” —Lisa Y., Richmond, VA A: Dear Lisa, Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder that has an autoimmune component. With a chronic disease like this, it is important that your friend keep his doctor in the loop regarding any dietary supplements or natural interventions he would like to add to his daily routine. There are some natural, supportive things that can be quite helpful with this condition. I would suggest first that he eliminate all grain products–that means bread, pasta, and pastries. At the very least, eliminate grains containing gluten and look for gluten free bread and pasta products. Avoid all dairy products. Many times these two food groups can wreak havoc in a person with intestinal inflammation, or can even be a contributing cause of the inflammation in the first place. They can also worsen autoimmune issues. As for dietary supplements, I would take a blend of highly bioavailable curcumin and boswellia. These two ingredients together can have tremendous impact on reducing inflammation, mucosal healing, and immune system balance. Both have been clinically studied for a wide variety of chronic inflammatory conditions with excellent results. Make sure the curcumin you choose has 7 to 10 times the absorption of plain curcumin, or you may not get enough of this powerful herb into your blood stream to make a difference. Avoid curcumins using black pepper extract, also called piperine, to enhance absorption as this substance is not only hard on the liver, it interacts with the majority of prescription medications on the market. I prefer curcumin complexed with natural phospholipids and oil of turmeric for the best absorption and optimal health outcomes. Next, I recommend a healthy source of the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA from salmon, bound to phospholipids. Omega 3s also reduce inflammation and help rebuild healthy intestinal function. European scientists have created a process of extracting these healthy omega 3s called “vectorization.” It uses only natural enzymes and a cold water flush for extraction, unlike fish oils, which use harsh substances, pressure, heat, and distillation to get oils from fish. In fish oils, the omega 3s are attached to triglycerides, which are very poor at facilitating absorption. With vectorization, the omega 3s are attached to phospholipids, which can enhance absorption 50 fold over fish oil. This allows for one tablet to replace 4 to 6 grams of fish oil. One reason I have spent so much time talking about absorption is that I ascribe to the naturopathic medical statement: It is not what you eat so much as what you ABSORB. You can take the best product ever made, but if it doesn’t get into your body, you are flushing your money away. While everyone benefits from enhanced absorption in both the supplements discussed above, it is CRITICAL for people with Crohn’s. Because of inflammation and damage, these folks have a very difficult time absorbing nutrients. Therefore, your friend must do his homework on any supplements he chooses, to make sure there will be enough absorbed to be of benefit to his health. I hope this helps, and best wishes to your friend.