Ulcerative colitis is a condition with no known cure. The good news is that it can be managed. Aside from standard treatments and lifestyle measures to at least treat ulcerative colitis, a number of herbs and supplements can help manage it.
What Is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in the bowels. This condition causes the immune system to attack the lining of the colon and rectum. The symptoms of UC include diarrhea and abdominal pain, usually coupled with bleeding. The urge to have a bowel movement often comes on with little-to-no warning. Other symptoms can include weight loss, tiredness, dehydration, fever, and anemia.
This condition affects some sufferers worse than others. Some people rarely have symptoms, while others have them regularly. Others with UC will have periods of prominent symptoms, called flare-ups, and periods with no symptoms, called remission. UC diagnoses are most common for those in their 30s. It is equally likely to occur in men and women, but more likely to occur in older men than in older women.
Treating [and Managing?] Ulcerative Colitis
Like most other autoimmune diseases, there is no known cure for ulcerative colitis. But, there are means available to help manage it. Each person with the disease has different triggering foods that can cause flare-ups. You can determine what these are by using a food diary for a prolonged amount of time, and seeing which foods correlate with symptoms.
Doctors often prescribe medication to help diminish symptoms. Aminosalicylates are used to reduce inflammation and ease symptoms. Immunomodulators, which affect the immune system in order to reduce symptoms, might be prescribed. Corticosteroids might be prescribed for ulcerative colitis, but only in the short-term.
Products Recommended for Ulcerative Colitis
Managing a disease like ulcerative colitis can necessitate looking in different places for techniques that effectively reduce symptoms, and if and when they work they make life easier. A variety of herbs and supplements have the potential to help someone with ulcerative colitis diminish their symptoms. These should be used only in tandem with other measures to manage this condition, not in place of them. As always, it is highly recommended that someone with ulcerative colitis discuss these remedies with their doctor before using them.
Aloe vera in oral soft gel form can be beneficial for those with UC. A group of UC patients taking 100mg of aloe vera twice daily saw a reduction in symptoms. Aloe vera can reduce inflammation, and also help heal wounds, which is helpful for UC patients who experience internal bleeding.
Boswellia is an herb with anti-inflammatory properties. It has been tested in both humans and animals and found to be effective in reducing symptoms. Boswellia was found to be as effective as sulfasalazine, a standard medication prescribed for ulcerative colitis in one study. The recommended dose is 300-400 mg three times daily.
Probiotics can bolster the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. One study credibly showed that 50% of people with ulcerative colitis benefited, in that they saw an improvement in their symptoms to some degree.
Folate is a very important B vitamin (B9), whose absorption from foods can be diminished by certain medications for ulcerative colitis. Therefore, anyone with UC might greatly benefit from supplementation with folate. Folate is very important in helping to process carbs and fats, as well as producing new cells.
Iron, found in red blood cells, can be lost due to the digestive tract bleeding that occurs due to ulcerative colitis. Iron is recommended for those with UC who have low iron, or at risk of it. Supplementing with it can improve the anemia from UC.
Managing ulcerative colitis is not easy. A lifestyle that is attendant to needs & triggers of UC means only taking in foods and ingredients that are beneficial and don’t cause or further aggravate symptoms. The above herbs and supplements can decrease the likelihood of symptoms, and potentially prove very worthwhile for people with ulcerative colitis.