Today we’re highlighting a comment from a reader.
I happened across an article that said something about artificial sweeteners causing an overgrowth of certain bacterias in the colon which could cause the immune system to attack the colon therefore causing colitis. But then I lost it and can’t find it again. Have you heard of this? My friend has been suffering from UC for four years now and in the last two months has been put on a heavy duty immunosuppressive drug that is a known serious carcinogen and I’m worried about him. He said that he will probably have to be on it for life! It’s primarily used for organ transfer patients for anti rejection purposes. Have you any advice for him? Thanks in advance.
Thanks for writing. I’ll answer your question in two parts:
Artificial Sweeteners and Colitis
You are right on this front: harmful bacteria overgrowth in the colon is a potential cause of colitis. However, I could not find any evidence of artificial sweeteners causing bacteria overgrowth or digestive disorders. That’s not to say that artificial sweeteners are safe. Your body does not recognize these chemicals as food. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame/Nutrasweet/Equal, saccharine, and sugar alchohols (e.g.sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol) can have digestive side effects such as:
- abdominal pain
There are many potential causes of colitis, any of which could have affected your friend.
Immunosuppressive Drugs and Colitis
I understand your worries. Immunosuppressive drugs restrain the immunity in order to reduce the inflammatory response which causes colitis. However, with a suppressed immunity, the body is more prone to infection. Put simply, it’s easier to get sick when you’re on immunosuppressants.
One way to strengthen the immune system is to take probiotics. Probiotics are “good bacteria” that colonize the gut lining and act as natural antibiotics. With probiotics as an ally, the immune system has a better chance to ward off intestinal, vaginal, and bladder infections. Think of probiotics as the immune system’s “little helper”.
However, not all probiotics are created equal. In the coming weeks, I’ll publish a more in-depth look at how probiotics can help, how to take them, and where to find the best quality probiotics for people with colitis.
On a Personal Note
Thanks for writing in about your friend. I know how tough it is to deal with colitis. There is a way to heal colitis without heavy duty immunosuppressants, steroids, and anti-inflammatories. I know because I created a protocol that did exactly that for me and my patients, and I’m sure it can work for your friend.
It’s very exciting for me to be able to share everything that I’ve learned over the past two and a half decades. It’s been a wild ride and I love how the internet makes it possible for me to help so many people. I’m working diligently to condense all my knowledge into a step-by-step easy to follow format, for release this year. So keep an eye on the blog, or subscribe to the newsletter for updates.