Share this article on:

Nutritional Therapy in Pediatric Crohn Disease: The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Suskind, David L.; Wahbeh, Ghassan; Gregory, Nila; Vendettuoli, Heather; Christie, Dennis

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: January 2014 - Volume 58 - Issue 1 - p 87–91
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000000103
Original Articles: Hepatology and Nutrition

Objectives: Crohn disease is characterized by chronic intestinal inflammation in the absence of a recognized etiology. Nutritional therapy in the form of exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) has an established role within pediatric Crohn disease. Following exclusive enteral nutrition's success, many dietary therapies focusing on the elimination of specific complex carbohydrates have been anecdotally reported to be successful.

Methods: Many of these therapies have not been evaluated scientifically; therefore, we reviewed the medical records of our patients with Crohn disease on the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD).

Results: Seven children with Crohn disease receiving the SCD and no immunosuppressive medications were retrospectively evaluated. Duration of the dietary therapy ranged from 5 to 30 months, with an average of 14.6 ± 10.8 months. Although the exact time of symptom resolution could not be determined through chart review, all symptoms were notably resolved at a routine clinic visit 3 months after initiating the diet. Each patient's laboratory indices, including serum albumin, C-reactive protein, hematocrit, and stool calprotectin, either normalized or significantly, improved during follow-up clinic visits.

Conclusions: This chart review suggests that the SCD and other low complex carbohydrate diets may be possible therapeutic options for pediatric Crohn disease. Further prospective studies are required to fully assess the safety and efficacy of the SCD, or any other low complex SCDs in pediatric patients with Crohn disease.

Department of Pediatrics, Seattle Children's Hospital and University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to David L. Suskind, MD, Seattle Children's Hospital, 4800 Sandpoint Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105 (e-mail: David.Suskind@seattlechildrens.org).

Received 16 May, 2013

Accepted 14 August, 2013

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2014 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,