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Dr. Michael Greger explains new research in treating and preventing ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
[Note from the editor: I have suffered from ulcerative colitis most of my life. It is an extremely painful and humiliating disease which sometimes has fatal consequences including cancer and perforated bowel. It also has a social cost, including limitations on the ability to hold a job and to have normal relationships with friends and family. The standard treatment involves prescribing steroids, and if that strategy doesn’t work, then surgically removing parts of the gut. A strange thing about the disease is that, although it affects millions of people in the United States today, it was undiagnosed until about 100 years ago. One theory is that UC and other inflammatory bowel diseases are caused by the consumption of animal products, especially dairy, and this theory is supported by the fact that consumption of meat and dairy rose sharply during the twentieth century, coinciding with the increase of reported inflammatory bowel diseases. In my case, a vegan diet, free of meat, dairy, eggs, and most processed foods, has allowed me to live a normal life for four years, free of the symptoms of UC. I am very grateful for the work of researchers such as Michael Greger, T. Colin Campbell, and Joel Furhrman in discovering a treatment and prevention of this devastating illness. — Michael Simms]