Personal perspective on UC

Rob Fordham is a qualified Nutritionist and Naturopath, and here he gives a personal insight into his battle with Ulcerative Colitis

“Before I studied for my Nutrition qualification, I was studying at University of Westminster in 1999, when totally unexpectedly, I went to the toilet and saw blood in my stool. I had no prior warning that this would happen apart from the occasional twinge when I exercised. I had been under a lot of stress, due to assignment deadlines as well as commuting between London and Guildford. As a precaution, I booked an appointment with my doctor and he performed an examination with a small camera, known as a colonoscopy. He diagnosed ulcerative proctitis, which is ulceration of the rectal area. He recommended steroid suppositories, which I decided not to use. Instead, I decided to go for treatment with a Chinese Herbalist. This approach seemed to work for me, and my bowel appeared to have ‘healed’.

Three years went by without any apparent problems. I decided to do a juice fast, and got a bit carried away using a lot of fruit, especially pineapple. The bleeding started again, but this time with a vengeance. I didn’t visit the doctor but took it upon myself to treat it. I drank aloe vera juice (which is anti inflammatory) and did rectal implants with the juice too. An implant can be of 2 fluid ounces or 4 fluid ounces. A rectal implant is a method whereby the juice is put in contact with the inflamed area in the rectum. I was desperate, and just wanted to stop the bleeding. I couldn’t hold the implant long enough for it to be effective, a period of twenty minutes or so. I also tried implanting cayenne pepper, Dr Richard Schulze says if you put cayenne pepper on a wound or sore it will stop the bleeding. But this only made me burn and have the urge to go to the loo even more, which wasn’t helpful. I got worse. Convinced I would be OK, I went on a holiday to Cyprus with my partner. The bleeding got worse and worse, I was going to the toilet 15 to 20 times a day. I thought I was dying. My partner’s father was friendly with a doctor in Cyprus, and he arranged another colonoscopy for me. This time the diagnosis was distal ulcerative colitis, inflammation of the descending colon, sigmoid and rectum. My holiday was a write off.

I arrived back home and got worse and worse to the point where I was hospitalised for a week. I was administered intravenous steroids along with a blood transfusion. I looked as if I had just come from a concentration camp. After my stay in hospital my parents drove 200 miles to take me home to recuperate. I weighed 50kg.

I spent the next 6 months pretty much bedridden. I ate mainly blended soups and spirulina (for the healing action of chlorophyll and to raise my iron levels). I had lost so much blood that I was very anaemic. This simple diet helped take the strain off my digestive system. I used oral steroids for 3 months to control the bleeding. After that I used oral asacol (mesalazine, an aminosalicylate). I felt quite ill on the steroids so was grateful when I stopped taking them.

I researched natural colitis cures. I tried a powdered aloe vera capsule, which is extremely potent in comparison to liquid aloe. Liquid aloe vera has the laxative aloin in it, which doesn’t help when you are visiting the toilet many times already. The capsule has had the laxative removed, leaving the mucopolysaccharides, long, medium and short, which are known to have a healing effect. This helped but didn’t fully resolve the issue. I continued on my blended soups and a very bland diet. I tried slippery elm and marshmallow root as these have a mucilaginous soothing effect on the gut lining. Again, they helped but didn’t ‘cure’ me.

I read that ulcerative colitis was caused by toxicity, so embarked on a bowel cleanse, according to Richard Schulze, a famous Herbalist and Naturopath. The bentonite clay formula helped slow my bowel movements down, which was a relief. The bentonite to this point was probably the most helpful substance I had used. I continued with the clay and the above mentioned diet, along with extra supplementation, including flax oil, liquid minerals, and probiotics, which again had a positive influence.

The approach that has helped me the most is Dr Patricia Kane’s protocol, which is effectively a very strict candida diet. It is designed to aid the release of toxins from the fat cells in the body. Dr Kane notes that heavy metals, such as mercury and lead get into our bodies in a variety ways. For example tuna is loaded with mercury, and so are amalgam fillings. The body in its wisdom stores these toxins in fat, to protect vital organs from being injured. Dr Kane reports that this protocol has helped many people overcome all types of illness. The diet includes high protein, high good fats, plenty of vegetables but no carrots, corn, parsnips, peas, fruit (except berries), sugar of any kind, milk, starchy carbohydrates or grain, including quinoa and millet. No alcohol except wine if ‘cheating’, and avoiding tea or coffee.

Her premise is that high carbohydrates and stimulants increase insulin production with has an inflammatory effect in the body, by stimulating phospholipase 2 (PLA2). This also down regulates glutathione production, the body’s most powerful anti-oxidant enzyme for detoxification. So by avoiding carbohydrates and sugars, we keep the insulin levels normalised. This keeps inflammation at bay and prevents altered cell membrane balance. High sugar levels also feed candida and other pathogens in the gut, so by cutting the carbohydrates out we help to starve them. The high fat and protein content enables repair of cell membranes, healing membrane integrity and thus allowing toxins to be released. Once they are released we need to get them out of the body.

Being a vegetarian I include tofu, eggs and a high quality whey protein minus the lactose. Cheese in moderation is ok. I use butter, olive oil or coconut butter for stir frying, Krill oil for omega 3, a plant based blend of 4:1 ratio omega 6 to 3. New research suggests we need a 4 to 1 ratio. The butter and eggs supply arachidonic acid, which has been given bad press, however it has been found to be the most prominent essential fatty acid in red blood cells.

Supplements include a very concentrated form of phosphotidyl choline to repair cell membrane integrity from toxic damage; it also acts as a liver flush in high doses. The correct ratio of oils is essential for cell membrane integrity as well as building hormone like substances, called prostaglandins. Evening primrose oil is added to raise levels of GLA and DGLA, both omega 6 variants. Butyric Acid, a fat soluble nutrient that helps clear the liver and bowel of fat soluble toxins. Electrolyte mix, including magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium bicarbonates. Help with membrane ‘traffic’. Liquid trace minerals. Magnesium oil used transdermally. 2 to 4 grams of ascorbic acid daily, to raise glutathione levels and aid general detoxification.

A high strength probiotic such as Custom Probiotics CP-1 to support bowel flora and detoxification.

A broad spectrum digestive enzyme such as Digesticol.

High dose B complex Folinic acid Biotin Vitamin D – 5 to 10000 ius daily I also do coffee enemas to aid liver detoxification, one every other day, or as I feel the need. Infra red sauna, every other day to sweat out toxins. Detoxamin (EDTA) suppositories every other night, which chelates heavy metals. This approach is as effective as intravenous, but more convenient and a fraction of the cost.

Having followed this approach to the best of my ability, my bowel health has improved tremendously. I would say I’m 95% healed. The better the program is followed the better the results.”