Nutritional care in inflammatory bowel disease – a literature review

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Aim and method:

During recent years, an increasing number of young adults have developed inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The caring perspective on IBD is now changing to adapt to the development of the illness and prescribing new health promotion methods of care, with a focus on nutrition, education and patient supervision. IBD, immunology and nutrition are the main focus in the selected articles, with presentation of possible connections to contribute to broader understanding of the illness. This present article is part of an empirical research project and is providing an overview of the current research knowledge in this field. The article is based on an extensive, systematic survey of literature comprising 28 review and original articles from June 2008 to July 2009. The important topics are emphasized and described.


Two areas of knowledge are considered instrumental in inter-disciplinary health-promoting work with IBD patients: a focus on gut immunology and stress, nutritional care and diet. Healing damage to the gut wall by introducing an individually prescribed diet may take time, but will reduce internal stress on the body. Documentation shows that use of probiotics, fatty acids and antioxidants has been effective in a number of clinical scenarios relating to IBD. Individually prescribed nutrition, primarily through the diet, may be decisive in terms of a sustainable improvement in outcomes for patients with IBD.


Addressing the educational challenges in caring to cure suffering from IBD is crucial. Emergency medical treatment helps patients during the acute phase of the disease. Once the acute phase is passed, the recommendation is a focus on investigating the environmental factors that could act as triggers for IBD in humans. Diet is the most important environmental factor in terms of the gut. Proper nutrition and micronutrients assist the body by subtly strengthening its capacity for self-healing and regeneration. Education, confirmation, and a reflection into ones illness, create insight and a basis for coping.

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