Rush University SCD Study Shows Diet Contributes to Better Microbial Gut Diversity

Posted February 10th, 2014 in Recent News.

The specific carbohydrate diet (SCD), popular among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is associated with distinct changes in the intestinal microbiome, researchers at Rush University have found.

The trademarked SCD, as described by Elaine Gottschall, MSc, in her book, “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” (The Kirkton Press; 2012), is “predicated on the understanding that ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and gluten therapy resistant celiac [disease] are the consequence of an overgrowth and imbalance of intestinal microbial flora.”

Ece Mutlu, MD, associate professor of medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, and her colleagues analyzed fecal samples from 20 patients with IBD who reported following the SCD and 20 patients with IBD who did not adhere to the diet: Each group included 10 patients with Crohn’s disease and 10 patients with ulcerative colitis. Some patients were receiving immunosuppressant medications at the time of fecal sample analysis.

Dr. Mutlu and her team performed 16S rDNA pyrosequencing and found that individuals in the SCD group had greater intestinal bacterial diversity compared with those in the control group, in addition to having a differing microbiome composition. The study was not designed to measure endoscopic and clinical disease activity, but Dr. Mutlu told Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News that she observed symptom relief in some patients following the diet.”

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4 thoughts on “Rush University SCD Study Shows Diet Contributes to Better Microbial Gut Diversity”

  1. conrad coultas says:

    I am currently in the 5th week of an experimental drug trial after trying Remicade and humiria with little sucess.Iampretty sure I am getting the placebo because my symtom are the worst they have ever been.30 plus bowel movements daily with blood in half.Also still on 10mg prednisone and have been over a year. I was In the hospital twice in Jan 2013 after losing 8 units of blood and 50 lbs. The only reason I’m not back in the hospital is I’m fighting the disease as hard as I can I am talking to my Doctor about starting the diet and he seems receptive. Any out there in a similar situation and how is it progressing.

    1. Finn says:

      I am so sorry to hear that your symptoms are the worst they have been. Have they become worse since starting the trial? While it seems more likely you are in the placebo group, that would be disappointing if the experimental drug was causing the deterioration of your condition.

      Very glad to hear you are starting the diet. It is absolutely worth the time and energy, in order to find out if it works well for you. You will have to be patient and give it some time, though. I can tell from your email you’ve been through the peaks and valleys before, so you know how this goes. But the diet was the game-changer for me… but it took 6 months before I started gaining the weight back and I was starting to feel like my “old” self again (for those of us who can remember what it was like pre-IBD).

      Please, don’t hesitate to schedule a call with us (through the links on this site). If you’d like any tips on starting the diet, we can help! All the best to you!

  2. kev says:

    Hi to anyone who is checking out this site. We have an 8yo child who was diagnosed with Crohn’s 2.5yrs ago. THere’s a strong family history of IBD on my side. He was anemic and had a fecal calprotectin level of 1700. Lots of inflamation in the colon and small intestine upon undergoing colonoscopy. He was put on Pentasa but nothing stronger. We were told he could eat white bread, mashed potatoes, ice cream, but I wanted to first try a more “paleo” diet. He wasn’t happy for weeks but after cutting out all bread and dairy and only allowing rice and oats he was still inflammed by fecal calprotectin down to 300 after a month. The doctor thought it was the pentasa. But this I’ve learned is extremely unlikely.

    In any event, we added rice and also homemade black beans, garbanzos but kept out dairy and wheat and yeast. His inflamation started creeping up and the doc wanted to go with 6-MP, a chemo agent used for immunosuppression. We decided it was time to really try the SCD in earnest, having heard great things. My wife, bless her, learned how to cook all sorts of things but we followed it to the letter- no restaurants, no shortcuts, no “just a little won’t hurt.”

    Amazingly , he followed the book’s recovery story to a T. First he had loose stool and fever for a few days as the bad bacteria died off and then he was completely symptom free! The doctor was amazed to see his fecal cal. down to 25- well within normal. We’ve been on that for a year and he’s just steady as can be and we aren’t going to mess around with it. He’s a very mature boy and understands that other kids can eat pizza and sweets and he can’t. Ultimately, it’s a very healthy diet anyway.

    There is now a wonderful study going on at Seattle Children’s Hospital by Dr. David Suskind and I feel confident he is going to really establish the validity of SCD. Double blind, placebo controlled and they are going to do fecal samples during the whole trial. If we get a real study with real results rather than all the anecdotes, doctors are going to have to stop telling people eat mashed potatoes and ice cream and take chemo drugs!

    Good luck to all. You will need tremendous discipline at first but watching symptoms subside over the months will make you never want to stray.

    You’ll learn to make your own yogurt, bread from almond and other nut flours, and all sorts of other foods. If you stick with it and don’t stray and experiment, you’ll have a very good chance of being symptom free and medication free- something that my father with crohn’s never experienced in his life, nor my mother and brother with Ulcerative Colitis.

    1. Finn says:

      Kev, thanks for the note! I was contacted by someone recently who wants to discuss the study being conducted by Dr. Suskind. It sounds like it could potentially be a game changer. I have been playing phone/text tag with them, but I expect to learn more about the study in the near term and share it on Food Rx. Also – and this is most important – congratulations on your son’s success! Nothing makes me happier than to read a story like that. And I really, really appreciate your taking the time to write in and share this story with us.

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