Vegetarian diet and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

People who follow a vegetarian diet do not eat meat or fish. They continue to eat animal products such as dairy (milk, cheese) and eggs.

Following a vegetarian diet

When following a vegetarian diet it is important that you replace any protein, amino acids, fatty acids (omega 3) and vitamins and minerals (such as calcium, iron and B12) you would normally get from meat and fish.

Vegetarian diet and IBD

There are no specific studies which have directly shown that following a vegetarian diet reduces symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). There are people with IBD who follow a vegetarian diet and report it helping to improve the symptoms of their ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

There have been various studies carried out into the correlation between the amount of meat eaten and the risk of developing IBD. This meta analysis of the studies1 was carried out in 2015 and concluded: "Meat consumption may increase the risk of inflammatory bowel disease. Additional large prospective studies are warranted to verify this association".

References

  1. Ge J, Han TJ, Liu J, Li JS, Zhang XH, Wang Y, Li QY, Zhu Q, Yang CM. Meat intake and risk of inflammatory bowel disease: A meta-analysis. Gastroenterol. 2015 Nov;26(6):492-7. doi: 10.5152/tjg.2015.0106. PubMed PMID: 26575042

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