That’s an odd title for a blog post, “Strawberries, Bowel Obstructions and Glutamine”, isn’t it? Not if you have Crohn’s disease, like I do. I want to share with you something awesome that has happened, but first, we need some background story to gain perspective on why it’s so awesome.
In December of 2004 I started a whole food, all natural diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to help manage my Crohn’s disease flares. Within 24 hours I saw the first solid stool I had seen since winter of 1997, when it all began.
I was convinced this diet was the answer to regaining control of my health and my life. By 2007, I was medication free and in remission, confirmed with a colonoscopy. Not long after, I started having bowel obstructions so bad that I felt nauseous. I felt pain in my gut, like a 500lbs weight was concentrated on a pin-head point below my belly button. It kept me rolling in my bed for hours in the early mornings, 3 – 5am or longer on occasion.
I figured out that it was because of strawberries. The seeds of the strawberries I guessed were getting stuck in my intestines, causing blockages and a lot of pain. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing!
What it meant was that Crohn’s was definitely in remission. When Crohn’s is in remission, there is no inflammation of the intestinal walls. Once inflammation stops, the once inflamed tissue becomes scar tissue, which narrows the passages of the intestines. Stopping the inflammation is key as it stops diarrhea and as long as future inflammation is prevented, no more strictures and therefore narrowing of the intestines should occur, or so I thought. At that point in 2007 or early 2008, I decided to stop eating strawberries and to never try them ever again.
With Crohn’s, there can be long periods, many months of no issues and then suddenly it all comes crashing down. In 2009, unfortunately, I was getting more bowel obstruction pain, this time from foods like pepper and carrots.
I told my doctor, this time a naturopath that I was becoming concerned that the strictures were limiting the range of foods I could eat without having bowel obstructions. I was worried that eventually, I would need surgery. That’s the last thing I wanted to do.
My naturopath recommended I start taking a supplement called Glutamine (aka L-Glutamine). She told me in plain English that Glutamine is the main fuel for the cells of the intestine’s walls and it promoted healthy cell growth. In other words, it may help repair damaged intestinal walls.
I gave the Glutamine a shot, had no adverse side effects, which is common and kept up with it for I’m guessing 6 months before I started adding food back in. I added carrots and found I had no gut pain! I never tried the pepper again but will soon. Instead, a few nights ago I decided to try having one single strawberry before dinner. If I had any problems, I figured I would know within 24hrs.
To my surprise, I felt completely normal. No gut pains at all and also had several solid bowel movements. I gave my gut a break the next night and on the third night I decided to have two strawberries. I woke up this morning, ecstatic because I realized I did not have any gut pain. No bowel obstructions. I also have had several solid bowel movements since waking, telling me that my bowels are moving fine through my intestines.
I believe this is evidence that Glutamine has REVERSED any narrowing of my intestines due to strictures. That is without a doubt, wicked awesome!
I know how horrible living with an IBD can be. I’ve got an intensive regimen that has kept me in remission and healing. I recommend that anyone with a Crohn’s or Colitis switch to a diet like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or similar and Glutamine.
© 2010, Reid Bryant Kimball. All rights reserved.