Some of this post will involve things that are probably mentioned or discussed whenever IBD is being written about. I apologise for repeating anything which you may have read or heard or anything I have already written in previous posts or pages.
I recently found this article about treating ulcerative colitis with something called AMP Floracel. I thought I would have a look and write post about it.
Always talk to your doctor before taking anything which is not a prescribed medicine. Talk to your doctor before taking a prescribed medication. Be aware of any side effects.
Good nutrition is mentioned in the document and this is good advice whatever your health is like. It can be very hard to maintain any sort of adequate nutrition levels when you have IBD. Depending on how bad your symptoms are you can be losing nutrients almost as fast as you can take them in. This can be very disheartening and lead to you not eating because you associate eating anything with lack of bowel control or painful bowel movements and urgent and frequent trips to the toilet. In my personal experience there were times when I would not eat much such as possibly having a bowl of soup and a little bread because I thought anything more substantial would cause me to have very bad diarrhoea. You may get told to keep up your nutrition and calorie intake but this is always easier said than done, though it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. I may have failed so I do not always practice what I preach. I remember normally feeling better the times I ate more regularly than when I went hungry, it helped to stay very near a toilet. Oh the joy of those times, I am glad I am passed that and anyone who is experiencing or has had to experience such problems at some point has my full sympathy.
Most of the AMP Floracel article seems to present the same general advice as any other book, article, website etc. which I have come across dealing with ulcerative colitis. However the section mentioning fibre says that you should try to keep up your fibre intake. Most other information regarding fibre and IBD suggests that you should focus on soluble fibre rather than insoluble fibre. I am no dietitian but I found that I noticed a little benefit with stool consistency when I took a soluble fibre supplement. It did not reduce frequency much but it was of a little use. Approach fibre with caution.
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are mentioned. Prior to my operation I was losing blood nearly every day. I took a multi vitamin and iron supplement every day. Despite this I still became anaemic at times. My iron levels were normally pretty low but they only dropped down to anaemic levels once or twice I had an infusion on one occasion which when it took affect made me feel much better. With mineral supplements it is best to talk to your doctor.
Lactose and dairy
Lactose and dairy products are another popular topic when talking about food and IBD. I was on a diary free diet for most of the time I had colitis. I did not notice much improvement when I was avoiding diary. There are lots of good diary alternatives so it is not that difficult a diet to be on the issue is whether you consider diary to be a contributing cause towards the severity of your condition.
Stress in another topic often mentioned in causing or contributing to IBD. As with some other advice given for IBD such as maintaining nutrition and calorie intake, reducing stress can be difficult when nothing you do seems to help and you experience the urgent need to go to the toilet or you are in and out of hospital.
Personally some of my favourite and most trusted ways of reducing stress where not very helpful when my colitis was very bad, these are also some of the main stress relief techniques most often mentioned in relation to IBD or any stress in general to be honest. I would regularly exercise and I practiced yoga. I did not meditate much but I have since tried to teach myself to and tried to get in the habit of meditating each day. This fell apart a since having the operations and I still not got back into the habit of trying to meditate each day. I will write a post concentrating on my experiences of meditation. I am no expert but I find when I get in the right mind set it is very helpful.
The main part of the article doesn’t tell you anything you won’t find on any other document written about UC. The very last section discusses AMP Floracel directly but not in that much detail. It stresses the natural ingredients and no side effects angle without providing too much additional information about the product. It says it contains aloe vera and how this is useful for treating burns. Aloe vera and IBD is tricky some people emphasis how helpful it is but I am sure I have come across others who have warned against it. In discussing how the aloe vera treats the sores in the intestine this assumes that it is not broken down before it reaches the gut.
This may come across as if I am very dismissive of natural remedies and alternative treatments. I think they should be approached with caution as much as any other medicine should be. They can work for some people however they do not work for everyone and in my opinion there are no all-encompassing miracle cures. I have never been someone who likes to take medicine to treat an illness when I was first told I would need to take things like steroids to treat my colitis I was very unhappy. I don’t even like taking paracetamol to treat headaches. I have tried a lot of the alternative, natural and dietary treatments which are said to help or even cure UC and I can safely say they do not work for me. They may work for some people so don’t rule them out straight away but approach with caution.
The point I would like to make in closing referring to natural alternative treatments is that their main argument in their favour is that they come from natural sources and are not part of the (evil) pharmaceutical industry*. They never seem to have anything more substantial about the effectiveness of their treatments other than some comments from people (who may not exist). There does not seem to be much or any reference to any trials of scientific research carried out to the effectiveness of the treatment. If you want to prove the effectiveness of a treatment I think the best way you can do this is by having clinical trials carried out to test the effectiveness of the treatment.
As with any treatment always talk to your doctor about it before you consider taking it.
* I don’t think the pharmaceutical industry is necessarily evil. I don’t think it is overly good or that its main concern is always looking out for people’s health. It is an industry so it is geared towards making money but it does do some good. The pharmaceutical industry is too complicated to describe as simply evil. The book ‘Bad Science’ by Ben Goldacre has some interesting insights and discussions of the pharmaceutical industry.