My doctors have done work on this and one recently spent several weeks in China so I hope I'm representing them correctly! UC and Crohn's are diseases of developed nations. Initially as a counrty becomes more developed, such as indoor plumbing, electricity, more sterile environments, there is high occurance of UC and low occurance of Crohn's but over time newly diagnosed Crohn's cases go up surpassing the number of newly diagnosed UC cases. But there is no explanation for this occurance. Right now China is experiencing UC cases for the most part but if this pattern continues Crohn's disease is right around the corner. Giving me some time and I'll find some research to references this....I'm eating lunch right now. If I remember correctly it is that perhaps we carry a gene and because our environment is so sterile we have wipeout good bacteria to help keep this disease in remission when triggered by an outside source the disease becomes active.
Based on first hand experience and what I have read about processed foods and their link to IBS issues I have come to the conclusion, like many, that our diets as well as the additves in our food are a big contributor to our plight.
I have said on here many times that I know for a fact that when I spend time in Costa Rica, Panama, and other less developed areas I go into remission...and this happens very quickly once I am there. The effect and and after effect were even more noticable when I was in Africa. The foods sold to the citizens is usually fresh and has gone through very little processing. The farmers do not use as much (if any) pesticides, herbacides, or insecticides. Also, coconut, especially in the central american countries is used in many dishes. Coconut has in some studies been shown to have some major effect on our auto-immune systems.
There are other contributing factors for me...but bottom line is I am almost crohns free in the less developed nations....and when I went to africa the re-mission had a carry over that lasted for almost two weeks after I got back stateside. Just to nip the obvious comment inthe bud....not all of my trips south and certainly not my trip to africa are vacations. Mnay are very stressfull working trips...so I gotta feel the food/diet is the big thing.
Consider this.....how many cases of crohns, UC or IBS were reported back in our grandparents day? what were their diets?
I don't mean to imply that the disease didn't exisit...but that it was notnearly as common. I am sure that there were many gastro issues...but from what I have read...based on studies since records have been kept, there seems to be a greater increase in modern day than in the past and the rate of increase is rapid...more rapid than the increase in population...this suggests to some a relationship between auto-immune and our environment.
Without a doubt many of us are more susceptible to crohns or other diseases than others because of our family medical histories. In my mind there is no reason that the two issues can't be related...for instance...my grandfather on my mothers side had some issue with his gut...but never severe enough to require even a doctors visit...then in my 40's I start having trouble and it turns out to be crohns.......now both of my sons in their 20's seem to be having some sort of issue...could it be that our genetic make up is such that as our society has more pollution and adds more chemicals that the weakness in my family genes is more and more exploited?
Of course if we knew the answers to all of this there would probably already be cure for crohns.....sigh
On topic.....what you are doing FOR your kids is great. I am over 50 and have developed some very bad eating habits....and as a trained chef I am probably worse off than many. Fresh food ..you bet...heavy in fats...you bet Big portions...you bet. Rich red meats....almost daily (at least used to be) Heavy on the wines and booze....it only helps the food taste better!...So my habits are horrible...but i am trying to mend my ways and my wife is helping me stay on track. So good luck and please don't give up on the greatest gift you can give your kids....a great start towards good health.
as for the Tysabri....I was one of the lab rats starting back in 2001 or 2002. I was taking it before it even had a name. I had great results with it...almost 100% symptom free. Gain a lot of weight, and could eat anything. I had an infusion every 4 weeks and by the end of week 4 I could feel myself slipping back in the crohns hole. As you may know they had some folks who died while taking the stuff and it was traced back to the Tysabri and a reaction to other auto-immine drugs they were taking at the same time. Almost all who have had the terrible reaction were folks who were taking it for MS. I think only 1 crohns test person died. SO.....they canceled the trials and I got sick again. Lost more weight than I had gained and have not been in remission since.
If they had not canceled the trials i would have stayed on the drug even knowing about the issues. I would have been back on it by now except there have been a couple more deaths (JC virus)...again associated with other very strong auto-immune drugs. If I could be sure that it would work again like it did before...no problem i would be back on it. But I have been told that there is a very real chance that because I was on it so long the first time (over two years) and because I have been on Humira...there is a very real chance that the effectiveness of the drug could be diminished by 20 to 30 % or more...and there is an equally real possibility that it won't work at all....I may have built up a resistance to the stuff. So..in my mind...I am thinking diminished effectiveness and the same risk of harm????HMMMMM? Is it still worth the risk? I am not fully decided to go back on ...but I am leaning that way.