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Restrictive organic diet works in Crohn's

Patients with Crohn's disease who follow a strict organic diet see a significant improvement in their intestinal symptoms, suggests preliminary research.

Austrian researchers randomised 18 patients with mild to moderate Crohn's to receive a highly restrictive organic diet of mainly red meat and bread made from unprocessed flour or a control diet of non-organic food.

After six weeks, there were improvements in lesions, assessed by MRI and endocsopy, in 75% of those on the organic diet compared with 10% of controls.

The authors say the increase in incidence of Crohn's disease over the past 50 years and the earlier age of onset in recent years are just two observations that suggest a Western lifestyle contributes to the disease.

As it is primarily a disease of the gut, it is widely believed that the environmental factors responsible are part of the Western diet. But no factors have yet been convincingly singled out.

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases 2008;14:374-82

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