Science Update

New Study Demonstrates the Prevalence of Micronutrient Deficiencies in Children with IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an autoimmune condition in which most cases have multiple triggers that chronically stimulate the immune system in multiple ways over a long period of time. The immune system becomes overloaded in an overwhelmed state where it loses its ability to function. This leads to chronic inflammation causing symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other debilitating symptoms and anemia.

 Current medical research demonstrates the significance of micronutrient deficiencies in IBD. However, many patients are informed that their condition is not related to nutrition or diet.

 According to a study published last week in Nutrients, researchers investigated the prevalence of anemia and micronutrient deficiencies in adolescents and children with IBD.

This study consisted of 165 patients under 17 years of age with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Laboratory assessments included iron, ferritin, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, selenium, copper, vitamin B12, and folate. These were measured at the time of diagnosis and at a 1-year follow-up. Clinical disease activity was assessed both at baseline and at the end of the study by using Physician Global Assessment (PGA) scores. The research team found that patients who were diagnosed with IBD also had multiple nutritional deficiencies at diagnosis, with the majority showing improvement at follow-up. There was a high prevalence of iron deficiency anemia, which is common in IBD. Other common deficiencies included vitamin D, vitamin A, zinc, selenium, and copper. Anemia was present in 57% at diagnosis and 25% at follow-up. Many children with IBD suffer from anemia and micronutrient deficiencies at diagnosis and some fail to recover after their 1-year follow-up, despite being in clinical remission.

This study demonstrates that micronutrient deficiencies and anemia are significantongoing issues in patients with IBD, and it focuses on the importance of testing, nutritional therapeutics, and patient follow-up. Addressing these deficiencies may make significant improvements in the quality of life for these patients.

The research demonstrates the significance of nutrition and nutrients and their essential role in chronic disease states. Lifestyle choices and environmental exposures filtered through genetic predisposition are fundamental factors in IBD, and a successful treatment approach must include investigation into these factors.

 One must also investigate other potential environmental triggers that can cause inflammation, such as food sensitivities, toxins, and molds. In addition, stool testing is essential to rule out bacterial infections, dysbiosis, and the assessment of inflammatory, immune, digestion, and absorption markers.

 By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

 Source: Rempel J, Grover K, El-Matary W. Micronutrient deficiencies and anemia in children with inflammatory bowel disease. Nutrients. 2021;13(1):236.