Dr. Weyrich's Naturopathic Functional Medicine Notebook is a collection of information on topics of interest to Dr. Weyrich that may be of interest to the world wide audience. Due to limitations of time, not all information that Dr. Weyrich knows or would like to further research is published here. Dr. Weyrich welcomes financial contributions to support specific research topics, as well as copies of non-free access journal articles for him to review on a topic. Constructive criticism is also welcome.


Overview of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are inflammatory bowel conditions. Crohn's disease may involve any part of the digestive tract, whereas ulcerative colitis only involves the colon and/or rectum).

Low Dose Naltrexone may be particularly effective in treating Crohn's disease. Dr. Weyrich considers this to be the first-line treatment, as it is more cost-effecive and has a lower side effect profile than other conventional treatments such as aminosalicylates and infliximab.

Complimentary and alternative treatments for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis that are considered below include:

  • IgG Food Sensitivity Avoidance Diet
  • Probiotics
  • Fecal Material Transplant
  • Low Dose Naltrexone
  • Immune System Balancing
  • Hormone Balancing
  • Neurotransmitter Balancing

Etiology of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

The definitive cause of Crohn's disease is unknown. Keeping in mind that association does not necessarily distinguish between cause and effect, the following factors have been associated with Crohn's disease, in no particular order:
  • The British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield has associated Crohn's Disease with the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine [Shaw2008].
  • Inflammatory process mediated by estrogen receptors: [Risbridger2007] has pointed out the inflammatory effect of stimulating estrogen-receptor-alpha (ER-A) in inflammatory bowel disease, and the anti-inflammatory effect of stimulating estrogen-receptor-beta (ER-B). Both estriol and the naturally occurring substance genistein have been shown to selectively stimulate ER-B.
  • Dysbiosis - which is an imbalance in gut bacteria (microbiome) has been reviewed by [Becker2015]. According to [Allegretti2021], "when the microbiomes of patients with IBD have been assessed, overall there is a decrease in certain types of bacteria, specifically Bacteroides and Firmicutes, which are thought to be anti-inflammatory. These patients have also been shown to have decreased amounts of bacteria that make short-chain fatty acids, which are important for anti- inflammatory response."
  • Genetic predisposition - According to [Oyri2015], "The presence of Crohn's-associated variants of NOD2 and ATG16L genes appears to be associated not only with alterations of mucosal barrier functions, and bacterial killing, but the gut microbiota, as well..."
  • Some practitioners have noted an association between colitis and inflammatory process mediated by homocysteine [Rogers2008, pg 9]. Note that the common diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) increases homocysteine levels [Westphal2003].

Diagnosis of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis


Differential Diagnosis of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis


Treatment of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Please see conventional, complimentary and alternative medical treatments for important background information regarding the different types of medical treatments discussed below.

Naturopathic, Complimentary and Alternative Treatments

IgG Food Sensitivity Avoidance Diet

There are different types of food allergies/sensitivities, which arise from different kinds of immune system reactions. The most "famous" kind of allergy response, which is most often tested by conventional allopathic doctors, is a skin scratch test that depends on the IgE part of the immune system. Alternative practitioners also look at the reactions of the IgG part of the immune system, which is more subtle, but which is nonetheless often associated with gut inflammation. Dr. Weyrich and Dr. Gear have had good results in treating a variety of complaints using the IgG food sensitivity test from Go to ImmunoLabsImmunoLabs.

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

The late Dr. Bernard Bihari [Bihari2003], [Bihari2013], who discovered the benefits of low dose naltrexone in 1986, reported extraordinary results treating a variety of autoimmune and neuroinflammatory conditions [Bihari2003], [Bihari2013]. In particular, Low Dose Naltrexone (4.5mg/day) has been shown to have an immune-balancing effect that benefits Crohn's disease, with a 67% remission rate [Farmer1985], [Smith2007], [Smith2011], [Smith2013], [LDN]. [LDN_Autoimmune] reports that Dr. Bernard Bihari treated a cohort of eight patients having Crohn's disease with LDN, obtaining remission of symptoms within 14-21 days in all cases. However, [Segal2014] cautions that additional research is necessary.

Dr. Weyrich has been trained in the use of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN). However, Dr. Weyrich has not treated any cases of Crohn's disease with LDN.

Please see What is Low Dose Naltrexone? for more information.

Immune System Balancing

[McCulley2018, pp 28, 33, 60, 89] reports that Crohn's disease is a TH1- and TH17-dominant, localized, autoimmune disorder, and proposes an approach to treating this disease, which should be supervised by a properly trained medical professional. Dr. Weyrich has considerable interest in this topic, but has not treated any cases of Crohn's disease with Immune System Balancing.

Please see What is Immune System Balancing? for more information.

Hormone Balancing

[Risbridger2007] has pointed out the inflammatory effect of stimulating estrogen-receptor-alpha (ER-A) in inflammatory bowel disease, and the anti-inflammatory effect of stimulating estrogen-receptor-beta (ER-B). Both estriol and the naturally occurring substance genistein have been shown to selectively stimulate ER-B. Dr. Weyrich has considerable interest in this topic, but has not treated any cases of Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis with Hormone Balancing.

Neurotransmitter Balancing

Neuro Research [Hinz2015] reports that Crohn's disease can be benefited by balancing neurotransmitter levels in the body.

Dr. Weyrich has been trained in neurotransmitter balancing protocols, but has not treated Crohn's disease using this technique.

Please see What is Neurotransmitter Balancing? for more information.

Probiotics

[Allegretti2021] reports that probiotics are helpful in treating Crohn's disease. Dr. Weyrich also has one case in which a patient suffering from inflammatory bowel disease benefited from high dose treatment with a certain probiotic formula.

Fecal Material Transplantation

[Allegretti2021] review the use of fecal material transplantation (FMT) as a treatment for Crohn's disease. (As of 2021) the FDA considers most uses of FMT to be experimental.


References for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis