The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) recently joined efforts with Janssen Biotech, Inc. to launch an educational campaign especially designed for people suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Get Your Full Course aims to offer patients information on both nutrition and management of IBD.
The course will be hosted by television personality and celebrity cook Sunny Anderson, as she will speak for the first time publicly about her struggle with ulcerative colitis (UC), one of the diseases associated with IBD, which, together with Crohn’s disease, affects about 1.4 million people only in the United States.
“Having lived with UC for more than 20 years, I recognize the importance of talking more openly about the disease and educating people with IBD that we don’t have to shy away from food because of our disease,” Sunny Anderson said. “Food is a big part of my life. I am excited about Get Your Full Course and its focus on helping the IBD community learn about foods we can enjoy that are also rich in the nutrients we sometimes lack due to the way the disease affects the intestines.”
Anderson is presenting her recipes, as well as exclusive cooking demonstrations, which can be found on the campaign’s website here. In addition, the gastroenterologist Lindsey Albenberg from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine is going to give advice on the diseases and answer questions from the participants.
The organization of the campaign is also asking patients and visitors to submit a recipe or a photo of a meal to participate in a sweepstakes in which anyone can win a prize, with the grand prize being a meeting with Sunny Anderson during a local CCFA event.
“CCFA is proud to partner with Janssen Biotech, Inc. on Get Your Full Course to help educate the IBD community on the importance of working closely with your doctor to not only get your symptoms under control with appropriate therapy, but also learn how to make nutritious food choices and maintain a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet,” said the vice president for Patient & Professional Services at CCFA, Laura Wingate.
“We hope this initiative helps the IBD community learn that while diet does not cause or cure IBD, it can influence symptoms. By working with a healthcare professional, you can determine the individual diet and treatment approach that is right for you,” she added.
The correlation between diet, nutrition, and IBD has for long been studied by researchers, and it has been particularly relevant the research conducted on the effects of bacteria of IBD patients’ gut. However, before the conclusion of the studies, Dr. Albenberg advises patients to consult their physicians and talk open and honestly, in order to identify the foods that trigger flares, as well as to establish an appropriate diet and treatment plan for the management of the disease.
“IBD is a condition that varies greatly from patient to patient, but the goals of treatment remain consistent, to achieve remission, and once that is accomplished, to maintain remission,” Albenberg said. “When IBD is under control, a patient’s diet can be less restricted, so it’s important for patients to work closely with their healthcare team to accomplish symptom control and disease remission. Then, patients can slowly reintroduce foods into their diet to ensure a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients.”
Recent research conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) revealed that changing the dietary regimen may cause dramatic changes in the balance of bacteria in the gut, giving new insights and hopes about both monitoring the digestive system function and detecting IBD. Despite the positive results of the study, there are trillions of bacteria in the human body, and its role is yet far from being fully understood.