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Supplements for IBD: Basics

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Why Supplement in IBD?

  • Many work alongside medications
  • Many can amplify anti-inflammatory effects
  • Can help in getting to sustainable remission easier with a more targeted approach 
  • Additional benefits (like anti-cancer properties)
  • Can help reduce costs of medications
  • Use caution, always seek to find evidence and support behind well marketed products 


  • Many studies are “dose dependent” 
    • 5 g vs 100 mg = not the same response 
  • Quality is also a consideration
    • Brands, absorption
  • Diet/supplement research is limited
    • Limited doesn’t mean not evidenced based, but we do want to consider the full picture
  • Rarely do we do just one strategy 
    • We have a lot of pieces of the puzzle (dietary strategies, other digestive symptoms)
  • There is no wrong way to do therapy!
    • Diet + Supplementation + Medication (typically)


Can I use any brand of supplement?

  • Not all have evidence 
  • Not all forms or brands work 
  • Not very well regulated in the US, so want to ensure that the company tests for heavy metals, phthalates, and others via a third-party testing company 

I tried it and it didn’t work for me, why is this different?

  • We are basing recommendations on research, so we want to ensure the supplement is in the form and dosage based on all known factors (disease state, inflammation, medications, dietary changes, etc.)

If I try these 2 products and dietary changes, how will I know which worked?

  • Keep in mind that there is no cure, so these strategies are tools in your toolbox that you can use to help alleviate symptoms and reduce inflammation. If something isn’t as useful to you, that’s okay but know that all of the strategies are evidence based and can be useful for many!

How long should I try this product?

  • There is no standard, but as you reach remission and are more stable this can be addressed on an individual basis. Oftentimes you can decrease dosage in this scenario, but many choose to remain on maintenance doses of supplements to help support remission.  

Will these work with medications?

  • Yes! Many are totally safe with many different medications and actually help medications work better. 

My doctor says (supplements, probiotics, dietary changes, etc.) don’t do anything. What should I do?

  • That’s okay! Many providers will not agree. There is always room for learning and you can approach your provider with new information and new therapies as they are willing.