The Science Behind Elemental Diets

What is an Element Diet?

Elemental diets are used to rest the bowel. They are a subset of a group of therapeutic diets referred to as Enteral Nutrition, or liquid diets, which contain all the basic nutrients your body needs in a readily accessible form.

The nutrients in an elemental diet are pre-digested (presented in their most basic form) requiring very little work from your body to break down and assimilate, allowing nutrients to be easily and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, from the small intestine.

The stool that results from an elemental diet is greatly reduced in volume and is usually liquid, giving the large bowel a rest from passing normal stool and allowing colonic wounds to heal faster.

Elemental diets have been used successfully for decades in both adults and children to induce remission in conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) as well as for patients undertaking chemotherapy, pre/post-surgery or patients with chewing or swallowing difficulties.

How do Elemental Diets Work to Help Heal Damaged Mucosa

There are a multitude of studies that show that elemental diets are highly successful in inducing remission in IBD sufferers but what are the exact mechanisms by which they achieve this?

Enteral nutrition essentially removes the food source for the bacterial population in the large intestine and have been observed to have the following effects:

  1. Alteration of intestinal microbiota populations by temporarily reducing their quantity and diversity (in some key species, consistently) which is correlated with the achievement of clinical remission1. It has been suggested that bowel rest in this way limits the activity of potentially pathogenic microbes and promotes repair mechanisms2.
  2. Alteration of intestinal bacterial metabolism and promoting the right conditions for tissue regeneration2.
  3. Reduction in the secretion of pancreatic and bile enzymes.
  4. Reduction in the load of potentially allergic components in food products.
  5. Facilitation of the rapid absorption and correction of nutrient, vitamin and mineral levels if the patient has become deficient due to a disease process.

The way in which you utilize ElementGold, whether as a sole source of nutrition for a period of time or as an adjunct to other therapy, should be determined on the advice of an experienced health professional and should be tailored to your specific condition.

  1. Gatti, S.; Galeazzi, T.; Francheschini, E.; Annibali, R.; Albano, V.; Verma, A. K.; De Angelis, M.; Lionetti, M. E.; Catassi, C. Effects of Exclusive Enteral Nutrition on the Microbiota Profile of Patients with Crohn's Disease: A Systematic Review. Nutrients 2017, 9, 832
  2. Cuiv, P.O.; Begun, J.; Keeley, S.; Lweindon, P.J.; Morrison, M. Towards an Integrated Understanding of the Therapeutic Utility of Exclusive Enteral Nutrition in the Treatment of Crohn’s Disease. Food Funct. 2016, 7, 1741-1751