Scientific advances in the last few decades have confirmed that microbial disruption known as dysbiosis, along with genetic predisposition and other environmental factors, can give rise to IBD and other autoimmune disorders. Current treatments for IBD such as biologics and steroids focus on suppressing the immune system, and while they can be successful at controlling symptoms, they have dangerous side effects that include cancer and life-threatening infection. This is particularly important now since all of these drugs carry an increased risk of worse outcomes from viral infections like COVID.
Dr Robynne Chutkan did her fellowship in Gastroenterology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, training under the tutelage of Dr Henry Janowitz (who was trained by Dr Crohn himself), and other IBD luminaries like Dr David Sachar and Dr Dan Present. After a decade at the helm of the IBD program at Georgetown, she opened her private practice in 2004 called The Digestive Center for Wellness, devoted to addressing the root cause of inflammation in the gut. She’s successfully helped hundreds of patients with IBD taper off of immunosuppressives, or avoid them altogether, even when other gastroenterologists told them it wasn’t possible.
Dr. Chutkan and her team presented scientific data at the Digestive Diseases Week (DDW) meeting in Chicago in 2014 showing an 80% success rate getting IBD patients off of these medications using dietary and lifestyle modifications and prescription probiotics – protocols she’s developed over more than two decades practicing integrative gastroenterology. It should be intuitive that what we eat matters greatly to the trillions of organisms that call our gut home, but most gastroenterologists ignore (or are unaware of) the critical importance of the microbiome, opting instead for the quick fix of pharmaceuticals with toxic side effects that don’t address the root cause of what’s gone wrong in your gut.
Just as Dr Chutkan’s eyes were opened to the incredible benefits of dietary therapy through the generous collaboration of many patients over the years, it’s her honor and privilege to share that information with others who struggle with IBD, and to spread the word about the power of food as medicine.