What Is An Elemental Diet?

An elemental diet is a liquid diet consisting of completely pre-digested nutrients that include a combination of: protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. It is highly beneficial to also add an ample amount of Essential Fatty Acids such as, flax oil or coconut oil (MCTs).

Elemental Foods:

Protein – free-form amino acids or di-peptide bond proteins only. Examples of allowable proteins include egg albumin, whey isolate (but not concentrate) powder, rice protein powder, pea protein powder.

Carbohydrates – carbs must be in monosaccharide form only. This means NO carbohydrates other than glucose, dextrose, fructose, xylitol, maltitol and other monosaccharide sugars.

Fats – cold-pressed beneficial oils only. Like flax, Udo’s, coconut, fish oil, etc.

An elemental diet (also known as an enteral diet) is often prescribed for people who suffer from autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s Disease, Diverticulitis, AIDS and severe cases of Cancer. Elemental diets are also used for pre and post-surgery patients who are not able to eat solid foods or who are malnourished.

Clinical Trials & Difficulties

Recent clinical trials involving children with active Crohn’s disease in England and Italy have demonstrated that “elemental diet therapy is as effective as steroids in inducing remission in people who suffer from gastrointestinal disorders whilst avoiding steroid side effects”(1). As a result of these clinical trials, it is now beginning to be understood that an elemental diet can be used as an alternative to using steroids like prednisone, which can have undesirable side effects.

Following an elemental diet is a difficult undertaking requiring a lot of self-discipline. If you’re going to undertake something as difficult and restrictive as an elemental diet, then you might as well fully commit to it and use the period to facilitate a complete overhaul and root-level healing of your body and immune system.

Elemental Diet Shakes

Many of the elemental diet formulas are primarily used in hospitals. Unfortunately, they are poorly formulated. Oftentimes they taste bad, are loaded with artificial flavors and sweeteners, large amounts of sugar (in relation to maltodextrin) and high levels of low quality oils – which can actually result in painful intestinal spasming. The protein source often contains casein (the milk protein most people with a milk allergy are allergic to) and lactose.

To date, the highest quality and most tolerable, liquid diet drink is a powdered formula made by Imix Naturals called Absorb Plus. It has been specifically designed for people who need a completely pre-digested diet. Although it can also be used for either losing weight while maintaining muscle mass or gaining weight by building solid muscle mass, not fat.

The IBD Remission Diet

Absorb Plus can also be used in conjunction with The IBD Remission Diet – a very specific natural diet and supplementation plan devised to induce disease remission. The protocol is designed to completely heal the GI tract, eliminating the bad bacteria in your intestine and replacing them with good bacteria, and restoring health and balance from the cellular level on up throughout the immune system. Although this elemental treatment is specifically formulated to address inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and diverticulitis, people can likely find other health conditions will also be resolved as the program facilitates extensive whole-body healing.

Typically, an elemental diet alone will not benefit people with ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis or IBS, however as the elemental diet is only ONE component of The IBD Remission Diet, thousands with colitis, diverticiulitis, or severe IBS have also used it as a tool to induce remission. This is most likely the result of the pathogens being cleared from the gastrointestinal tract and replaced with good bacteria, the supplements which heal the mucosal lining and intestinal wall, the whole-body detox provided by the elemental diet and the myriad of bodily functions assisted by the targeted amino acid blend and other herbal supplements prescribed.

(1) Dr. Bhupinder Sandhu, DDW Annual Meeting: Abstracts 103976, 107178. May 19 & 21, 2002

15 Comments

15 thoughts on “What Is An Elemental Diet?

  1. Pingback: What Is An Elemental Diet? | Listen To Your Gut

  2. Hello Jini, my husband was recently diagnosed with UC (he’s 41). They put him on asacol without knowing that he developed a serious case of C-diff. He stopped eating solid food over 2 weeks ago. We spent 4 days at the hospital with IV and potassium and antibiotics when we started Absorb Plus. We’re mixing only 2 scoops by now and he had it 4-6 times in the last 48 hours. His heart rate speeds up right after each shake (between 115 to 130) and eventually it normalizes. Wanted to ask you if you know why could this be happening; if anybody else had this experience and what can we do at home to slow him down. Thanks much!
    J.



  3. JOAQUINA – I would seriously consider doing the full IBD Remission Diet, along with wild oregano oil and probiotics, to prevent secondary or opportunistic infection – if you aren’t already.

    Regarding the rapid heartrate, that question is answered in our Absorb Plus FAQ:

    http://www.listentoyourgut.com/faq/4/absorb-plus.html

    I’ll also post it here:

    We have had several customers who experienced a rapid hearbeat on Absorb Plus shakes. Some doctors have theorized it’s due to the very rapid uptake of nutrients to the bloodstream. For all of the customers who experienced this, it was a temporary thing that resolved automatically when they stopped drinking the shakes (many were on an elemental diet, so consuming 6-8 shakes per day). However, please consult your doctor for more advice and to make sure it is not due to any other factor.



  4. Jini,

    What would be the best things I could do until I can afford to order Absorb Plus? I am in the middle of a Crohn’s flare. 99 pounds at 5’7″ and totally exhausted. I am a stay at home mom of 2 young children, and my husband is the only one working, so we are only 1 income. I need to hold out until tax returns…probably 2 more months. Should I just ramp up the probiotics and hope for the best? I’ve done the 6 wk elemental diet 2 times in the past and it has worked wonders. So frustrated at this point, because I know how good I can feel after doing the elemental diet and putting on weight!



  5. Jini, My husband started having diarrhea with bleeding 10x’s per day. Curently my husband(Henry) is taking 1200mg of Asacol, and just reduced his steroid to .5mg/day today. He has been on steroids for the last 3 years. He started on the Absorb plus two days ago including the (powdered) probiotics,Georges Alovera, MucosaHeal and Oil of Oregano. Please let me know if he will be able to heal while he is still taking the Asacol and steroids or does he have to be off of all these drugs.



  6. Hi Marlene,

    I’m afraid we’re unable to advise you regarding your husband’s drug regimen and whether or not he should continue taking them.

    Kind regards,
    Customer Care



  7. Hi, I misjudged the days before I needed to order more Absorb Plus. so I will run out a few days before I can get more. I have been on the Absorb Plus shakes for 3weeks without any other food. I was wondering what I can eat that won’t mess up my progress that I have made too much? And also what I should eat after I get off the Absorb Plus. Is there a website that has things I can eat. I do have the IBD Remission diet and Listen to Your Gut books. I saw the reintroduction chart but was hoping to find some recipes and or a little more in depth guide. Thanks Jennifer



  8. Hi Jennifer,

    The chart you mentioned on page 251 is explained at the bottom of page 242. From that page on, Jini makes many suggestions on various things you can eat based on what symptoms are troubling you the most or what you’re trying to do.

    Kind regards,
    Justin
    Customer Care



  9. Hi Dianne,

    Your stools may not be fully formed but the important thing to remember is that the nutritional content in Absorb Plus is being utilized by the body.

    Kind regards,
    Justin
    Customer Care



  10. Hi, my daughter is about to start the IBD remission diet. For 3 months she was on Flagil and Cipro (as well as probiotics). Does she still need to do the oregono protocol now or should she stay only on probiotics?

    Thank you



  11. Hi Inna,

    If she is taking probiotics then she should benefit from the wild oregano as well because any bad gut flora will still need to be reduced/eliminated as she’s concurrently repopulating with good gut flora.

    Kind regards,
    Justin
    Customer Care



  12. I am happy to hear that children have had success on the elemental diet. How long is it recommended for children to be on? I don’t have the book yet, so I don’t have all of the information. I’m concerned about trying to keep a 5 1/2 year old who is starting kindergarten on a liquid diet for an extended period of time.
    Thank you,
    Amber



  13. Hi Amber,

    The goal is always remission so the transition back to normal food should start when symptoms have disappeared and healthy weight is being gained. More details about elemental diets can be found in Jini’s book, The IBD Remission Diet:

    http://www.listentoyourgut.com/healing-resources/5/the-ibd-remission-diet-achieving-long-term-health-with-an-elemental-diet-and-natural-supplementation-plan.html

    All of Jini’s other protocols can be found in her main book, Listen to Your Gut:

    http://www.listentoyourgut.com/why-ltyg.html

    If you have any additional questions please let me know!

    Kind regards,
    Justin
    Customer Care



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