Crohn’s disease successfully treated with the paleolithic ketogenic diet

Crohn’s disease is a relatively common inflammatory disease of the intestines. It’s usually a lifelong disease of unknown cause, and it’s mainly treated by drugs that suppress the immune system, like cortisone. These drugs do not treat the cause of the disease, and thus they can’t cure it.

It’s likely that the cause of the disease is something in the environment, and being a disease of the intestines it would make a lot of sense if the cause was something in our food.

I’ve heard many cases where people started a strict low-carb diet, or a Paleo diet, and vastly improved the symptoms of their Crohn’s disease or, even more commonly, the similar disease ulcerative colitis.

Another case

A new case report was just published, about a 14-year-old boy with severe Crohn’s disease. Conventional drug therapy was not very successful. Together with his parents he decided to try a paleolithic ketogenic diet that mainly consisted of “animal fat, meat, offal and eggs”.

IJCRI: Crohn’s disease successfully treated with the paleolithic ketogenic diet

The result?

The patient was able to discontinue medication within two weeks. Currently he is on the diet for 15 months and is free of symptoms as well as side effects.


Obviously a single case report is not proof that this will work equally well for anyone else, much less for everyone. So this has to be interpreted with a lot of caution. In addition, the diet the patient went on sounds like it could be too hard to maintain for many people.

However this is another example of what I’ve heard many, many times before. People getting off the Standard American Diet (SAD) often report big improvements in diseases like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. And often with a less restrictive version of the paleolithic ketogenic diet.

It seems highly likely that something in our food actually causes these diseases. And if we stop eating that, the diseases can be cured.

It’s also worth mentioning that neither a ketogenic low-carb diet, nor a Paleo diet, has anything like the side effects or risks of immunosuppressive drugs. And if there is a positive effect it often seems to be noticeable within weeks. So why not try it?

Earlier cases

“LCHF Has Set Me Free”

“Not a Pill in Sight and Happy”


  1. Paul DTS
    I have had Ulcerative Colitis for near 19 year... the prescribed medication was never very effective in my case, so for last 10-11 years I have controlled my condition by diet alone... took a long time to finely tweak my diet, although the odd minor symptom or two...

    But then in March 2016, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, so commenced the LCHF lifestyle, I reversed it, lost weight, lowered my Blood Pressure, but the symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis have increased as I try to fine tune my diet once again...

  2. Warren
    Paleo AIP keeps my UC in remission. While not necessarily LCHF, as long as you don't gorge on fruit and sweet potatoes it's pretty low carb.
  3. Tracey Slingerland Sydney Australia
    Hi there. I live in Australia and my 20 year old son has suffered debilitating Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis since early childhood. From the age of 2, he was NEVER ONCE without mouth ulcers which caused no end of pain when eating and drinking. Bowel exams also showed the ulcers to extend the whole way through his intestines. Four years ago, my mother died of the same condition which started me on a relentless quest to "find a fix". I came across an article which dictated on the perils of sugars and processed foods for bowel disease sufferers, so my quest intensified. I discovered all the pros for a ketogenic or LCHF diet and thought we should give it a go as nothing else had worked for at least 16 years. To my great joy the whole family (5 of us in total), decided to change the habits of the entire household and support my sons new way of eating. To my absolute delight my son was ulcer free within 10 days. His joints no longer ached and the constant nagging bowel pain was completely gone. An extension of this is that my husband and I have lost weight, myself losing 24kg. We will never look back at our old diet, except with horror at what we did to our bodies for so many years. To anyone with bowel issues of any kind....LCHF is the only way to heal and prevent it.
    Reply: #12
  4. Maureen TYLER
    Hi...i feel i must let people know about the astonishing effects of Aloe vera
    4 years ago,my brother was diagnosed as having a severe ulcerative collitus. we were all so worried..he went from a very healthy weight to looking like a belsen victim.He looked as though he was dieing..he was not eating and doubling up with pain.he ould only walk a few steps.
    He is special learning needs and unable to take painkillers.At diagnosis he was told to have steroids and other medication.
    We were all so worried as my brother was so ill.The medication was supposed to be put on his tounge.He wouldnt or couldnt take it.We couldnt give him the medication.
    I then told my mum to try Aloe Vera from the local health shop..1000mg.

    I also put healing crystals in the room..rose quartz.
    Clear Crystal and Amethyst . The Doctor told us that he didnt think aloe vera would have any affect.My Mum put my brother on Aloe Vera our very great relief my brother started getting better.My Mum put the aloe vera in a drink brother took it.With in days my brother started eating and drinking normally.that was 4 years ago..he has never had a relapse and now eats and drinks normaly..his weight is fine.We have now stoped the aloe vera as he is fine.My Mum takes it occasionaly for IBS as it really helps.i truly hope this helps some body else.

  5. James Wilkinson
    I have been on low carbohydrate diet for several years. I haven't had dramatic weight loss but slow and steady. Biggest difference is irritable bowel has disappeared. It reoccurs if I fall off the wagon; like at Christmas when there is too much carbohydrate temptation.
  6. Frank Linnhoff
    Dr. Wolfgang Lutz from Salzburg in Austria had already treated Crohns Disease and ulcerative colitis since 1958 with very great success by a low carb-high fat diet.
  7. CJ
    Been on low-carb, zero grains to control my Crohn's for ~9 years now. My blood values are normal, my fecal calprotectin is normal, and I've been asymptomatic sometimes for years at a stretch. Gottschall was right, but a diet without vegetable matter is what works best for me
    Reply: #19
  8. Mari
    I started erting lchf in februari 2017 and it totally changed my life. I lost the kilo's I gained from medication and I have not had any stomach pains since then. The energy that i missed since i got sick came back and now im cycling 50km a day. Now im pain and medication free, lchf saved my life :)
  9. Daniel
    I have a form of Crohn's Disease that only affects the large intestine. About 21 years ago, I had severe ulcerative colitis that became toxic megacolon. I had emergency surgery to remove my colon. I also had severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. When I was in recovery, I came across the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and had good results with it. I was also on Humira for 10 years, except for the past 6 months. I have had no symptoms for the past 10 years, and since going off Humira, I have felt even better, as my immune system is no longer being suppressed. By limiting carbohydrates, I learned that also had a limited tolerance for protein, and so to avoid losing weight, I had to increase my intake of fats. This was all before I had heard of a "paleo" or "ketogenic" diet. I just figured this out on my own.

    I realize that everyone is different, and every type of Crohn's is different, but I swear by my current diet. As a side note, I recently traveled in West Africa, and my diet consisted of meats, vegetables, fried plantains, and modest amounts of tropical fruits. All food was cooked in palm fruit oil. I felt great.

  10. Charles-André Fortin
    For anyone with digestive health issue here a chapter freely available online were 103 crohn patients were treated with low carb diet :
  11. Ali
    I don’t mean to dissect the article but crohns is definitely not a common disease...Colotis on the other hand is considered common.
  12. Andrea Acosta
    I’m so happy for you and your family. What are some signature dishes that you make your family. I’m struggling to eat anything.
  13. Joanna JJ
    I have Crohn's 8 years now.. First I was on prescribed medication for 5 years. But the flares started getting more serious ( I think my body just got used to it) I started to take Boswellia serrata every day and it helped.. Last flare I had was 2 years ago. All dove I didn't have flares and still had stomachaches very often ( usually after eating carbs with fats) . I started keto diet 2 months ago. No stomach problems no pain in the guts. Keto diet plus Boswellia are really working :)
    Hi, I'm a 67 year old woman diagnosed with Crohn's 3 years ago, flare ups have been controlled with medication. Started the keto diet in September and was feeling better and losing weight gained from steroids. The last week I have been experiencing flare ups and was wondering if anyone else have experienced the same problem after being on diet for a while. If so was it due to high fat or eating too much vegetables.
  15. 1 comment removed
  16. Sara
    Rita, high insoluble fiber can irritate so make sure you are consuming more soluble fiber. Cant guarantee thats the issue but check it out.
  17. Anne
    It may help but what works for one person may not work for someone else I believe food is fuel for our body and what is put in your body is important but I know when I was severely flaring with my pan UC 9 years ago I couldn't eat food the thought of eating even made me sick and basically I stopped eating. It was not unti I was put on prednisone on steroids I was able to start eating again I tried to eat the SCD special carb diet and lchf over the years but was so sick it was difficult to eat the foods recommended on these diets I had to supplement with Ensure to try to get some nutrients back into my body. Its only last 6 months that being on a new biological drug that I've slowly started to eat Paleo lchf it seems to help but then I flare up and food is hard to eat so go back to eating food I can tolerate like a low residue diet till I start feeling better and able to eat. I wish it was a cure or kept me in remission I wish food was tolerated in my body all the time without resorting back to eating foods like carb.
  18. Holly
    I am a red head and very sensitive to medications. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in early 2010. For years I struggled with severe flares, and reactions to medications to treat my flares. I finally found the keto diet in 2016. For me, this diet is a God send. I’ve never felt better.
  19. Patrick A.
    I'm a 50 y/o fit male with UC since 2015. I've tried every diet out there with no relief in symptoms until I went 100% carnivore. I"ve been carnivore for 6 months, and never felt better since diagnosed. However, my fecal calprotectin tests results continue to be high (>200) despite feeling better with hardly any symptoms. They are higher than when flaring at my worst. Did you experience this too before everything normalized? What does your diet consist of? Thanks
  20. Tami Von Merta
    I have had Crohn's disease since 2007 with one major attack in 2018 following a nervous breakdown. I have come to realize it is primarily diet but also mild exercise such as yoga, meditation and changing my thoughts. I am type A personality; highly addicted to stress and anger as the direct result of being competitive and a high achiever. I've had to settle down and slow down. I've had to learn how to live a more stress free lifestyle by incorporating yoga, meditation and changing my type of work. I am low carb, low calorie, and no sugar. It is all working. It has been a journey. I gave up cigarettes 5 years ago, alcohol nearly 2 years ago and went completely low carb (no sugar) 6 months ago. I had tried SCD and Paleo, but I have seen a greater improvement since I went KETO (low carb, moderate fat, low calorie). I also have to say I feel much better since I started a regular regime of Intermittent Fasting 5 days a week 20:4 and I also try to do a 36 hour fast twice a month. The fasting allows my digestive system to rest and heal. Part of my new relaxation techniques include meditation, tapping, hot tubbing, yoga, art and support groups where I can share and cleanse myself of negative thoughts and feelings. It is ALL working, but it is a huge effort. I feel amazing! It has all been worth it and I've come to be grateful for my Crohn's diagnosis because without it, I would never have been on this recent journey of mindful living.
  21. justin
    - link to the diet (PKD) utilized in the case report
    PKD was developed by a group in budapest that has treated 4000 patients w a variety of chronic diseases w what sounds like diet alone. They’ve tweaked the diet over the last decade based on patient symptoms and intestinal permeability data. Pretty remarkable imo. For 30 euro you can get the details from their website. A lot of the diet info is included in the Crohn’s case report...
  22. Bex
    I was diagnosed with Crohn's in 2009 and since 2011 have been off all meds having improved only starting SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) which is very similar to Keto and Autoimmune Paleo. My disease process is 100% responsive to nutrition and stress reduction.
  23. Kendo
    Was diagnosed with mild UC 11 years ago... after struggling with meds and prednisone for 6 months I got on SCD as well... got off all the drugs and no more flares, until a different recurrence this year. Upper abdominal attacks, presumed to be caused by ulcers in the duodenum (and colon) and crohn's diagnosis. Over the years due to my UC remission I had relaxed the diet some - while still focusing on whole foods, I had added back grains such as rice, oats, corn. Returning to strict SCD in an effort to curb this round.
  24. Jeremy Tyler
    I was diagnosed with mild to moderate Crohn's disease 12 years ago. I have been on two biologics that improved my conditions marginally. I have tried several diets (including vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, and low FODMAP), but also with marginal results. 45 days ago, I switched to a Keto diet (~20 net carbs per day), and within 7 days my Crohn's symptoms (mild chronic inflammation and persistent gas and insomnia at night) have cleared almost completely (~90% reduction) and persistently.
    Reply: #25
  25. Charlotte Zwart Team Diet Doctor

    I was diagnosed with mild to moderate Crohn's disease 12 years ago. I have been on two biologics that improved my conditions marginally. I have tried several diets (including vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, and low FODMAP), but also with marginal results. 45 days ago, I switched to a Keto diet (~20 net carbs per day), and within 7 days my Crohn's symptoms (mild chronic inflammation and persistent gas and insomnia at night) have cleared almost completely (~90% reduction) and persistently.

    Thank you for sharing your success story!

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