Food Hospital – Crohns, sleep eating and infertility

I enjoyed this week’s (Tuesday 15th) of Food Hospital. It’s great to see major health issues approached from the nutritional perspective.

Laura, the dancer with Crohns, was effectively put on an elimination diet, then reintroducing different foods. This is the hard way to find out if she’s allergic to something. A faster way is to actually test for potential food allergies with a blood test. There are two kinds of antibodies that cause food allergy – called IgE and IgG antibodies. In the case of Crohns I like to test for both. While conventional medical allergy expert do sometimes test for IgE reactions few test both. Yorktest do a home-test from a pin prick of blood for IgG reactions, available from Although there have been no studies specifically on Crohn’s, avoiding IgG food intolerances has been shown to relieve IBS symptoms.

There are other contributors to Crohns including: Genetically inherited tendency towards inflammation Dysbiosis including bacterial imbalance and infections Increased intestinal permeability Eating too many pro-inflammatory foods and not enough anti-inflammatory foods. Possibly a lack of vitamin D Vitamin D is much lower in those with Crohns. It would be interesting to know if Laura, the dancer with Crohns, is worse in the winter months. I wrote about these factors in my Special Report Conquering Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis Daniel, the guy who was sleep eating, was diagnosed with low melatonin, made from serotonin, itself made from the amino acid 5-hydroxytrpyophan. Lucy, the dietician, quite rightly put him on a low GL diet, providing slow-releasing carbs in the evening.

This gives a natural melatonin burst because carbs raise insulin levels and insulin carries serotonin into the brain. Also, the slow-release carbs help to stabilise blood sugar levels throughout the night which means Daniel doesn’t wake up from blood sugar lows. I would have also given him 100mg of 5-HTP an hour before bed. This helps both sleeping and carbohydrate cravings, as well as improving mood. All this is good news for sex drive and function. The final couple, having problems conceiving, were put on antioxidant rich food to minimise DNA damage to sperm. Other critical nutrients for fertility include zinc, B vitamins and essential fats. If you have concerns about infertility my book Before, During and After Pregnancy contains advice for both men and women.