Animal Protein Associated with Increased Crohn's Disease

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Animal Protein Associated with Increased Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease, also called regional enteritis, is a chronic disease involving the intestines. Common symptoms include bloody diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. It can lead to malnutrition, anemia, and a number of bowel problems. The cause of Crohn's disease is uncertain; however, a recent study suggests that diet may play a role in its prevention.

In Japan, the incidence of Crohn's disease is higher than in the past. Researchers in Tokyo tried to find a connection between dietary changes in Japan and Crohn's disease as the Japanese adopt a more Western-style diet.

They found that animal protein is the nutrient most strongly associated with the increased incidence of the disease. Total fat, animal fat, milk protein, and fats like linoleic acid were also implicated. Vegetable protein was associated with a reduced incidence of the disease.

While these results are preliminary, it would seem prudent to reduce the amount of animal protein and fat in your diet if your family has a history of Crohn's disease.

Shoda, R., Matsueda, K., Yamato, S., et al. 1996. Epidemiologic analysis of Crohn's disease in Japan: increased dietary intake of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and animal protein relates to the increased incidence of Crohn's disease in Japan. Am J Clin Nutr. 63: 741-745.

The Vegetarian Resource Group, Inc.

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By Reed Mangels

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