The Elemental Diet: An Effective Therapy for Gut Relief

The Ultimate Guide to the Elemental Diet

One of the most effective therapies for gut healing is the elemental diet.

The elemental diet is a meal replacement formula that is hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. It’s sold as a powder that you simply mix, blend or shake up with water. I also recommend adding a healthy oil, like MCT oil, to the shakes.

This liquid diet is very easily absorbed in your digestive tract and supplies all of your macronutrients and essential vitamins. Research shows that an elemental diet helps to heal and repair the gut. [1 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 2 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 3 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]

Three elemental diet shakes on a tabletop

Who Should Use an Elemental Diet?

Elemental diets were developed as a medical food to treat patients with severe digestive issues. Over time, other useful applications of the elemental diet have evolved.

You may benefit from an elemental diet if …

You suffer from a stubborn gut imbalance

Using an elemental diet as your only source of calories for 2-3 weeks often achieves results when other gut therapies have failed. Research shows that the elemental diet can be helpful for IBD (Crohn’s disease and colitis), [4 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 5 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 6 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 7 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 8 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 9 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 10 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 11 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 12 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 13 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 14 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source] SIBO, [15 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source] IBS [16 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source] and Celiac disease. [17 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]

You are having an inflammatory flare

If you are managing an inflammatory condition, it’s not unusual to have an occasional flare up. The elemental diet can be very helpful for quickly relieving inflammation and calming the immune system. In this case, 2-4 days of replacing all your meals with elemental shakes can achieve significant results.

You need to get your diet and lifestyle back on track

Sometimes your healthy diet and lifestyle take a back seat during a vacation or over the Christmas season. If you’re feeling sluggish and foggy because of poor food choices, a gut reset can help to get you back on track. Consume elemental shakes exclusively for 24-48 hours and then restart your healthy diet. Probiotics can also be a helpful follow-up to a gut reset.

You want a gut-friendly meal replacement

Elemental shakes are a quick and easy meal replacement. And while that’s great for busy mornings at home or when travelling, your digestive system also benefits. Even a “half” elemental diet (up to 50% of daily calories from elemental shakes) reduces gut symptoms and flares. [18 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]

How Does an Elemental Diet Work?

A woman mixing an elemental diet shake in her kitchen

When you drink an elemental diet shake, the nutrients are absorbed in the first few feet of your small intestine. Elemental formulas are easy to absorb and not irritating for your digestive system because:

  • All of the proteins are already broken down.
  • There is no fiber or prebiotic content to feed your gut bacteria. 
  • There are no food particles, which reduces inflammation and immune reactions.

As you consume elemental meals, your digestive system gets a break from performing its many functions, allowing it to rest and regenerate. [19 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source] Since no whole foods are being consumed, your gut also gets a break from food intolerances and irritants.

Elemental diets reduce gut inflammation. This has been noted especially in patients with Crohn’s disease. [20 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 21 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 22 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source] As gut inflammation decreases, the immune system calms.

With less inflammation, malabsorption improves and the small intestine can absorb more nutrients.

Elemental diets also help to rebalance bacterial overgrowths, decreasing bad bugs and making space for a healthier microbiota. [23] It seems likely that they help with fungal overgrowths too.

Most elemental formulas contain l-glutamine, an amino acid that has been shown to heal leaky gut syndrome. [24]

Elemental Diets for Specific Conditions

A woman holding a heart shape in front of her stomach

Elemental diets have proven highly effective for inflammatory bowel disease. [25 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 26 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 27 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 28 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 29 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 30 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 31 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 32 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 33 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 34 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 35 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]

Preliminary data shows that elemental diets can improve IBS, SIBO, and rheumatoid arthritis, and they may also be helpful for those with Celiac disease. [36 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 37 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 38 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 39 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source] Clinically, I have found elemental diets to be very effective for all of these conditions and even some others not mentioned in the research, such as reflux.

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

We don’t yet have a lot of research into elemental diets and SIBO, one exciting study saw lactulose breath tests normalize in 80% of SIBO patients after two weeks on the elemental diet. [40 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source] Sixty-five percent of patients in the same study experienced an improvement in their IBS symptoms.

A graphic showing the results of two weeks on an elemental diet for SIBO patients

This is one area where we seem to have a lot more observational data than research. And while the observational data from clinicians is promising, we need to be careful not to overstate the evidence.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

There is a significant overlap between IBS and SIBO patients, with SIBO found in up to 78% of IBS patients. [41] Many SIBO patients have IBS symptoms, including diarrhea, constipation, bloating, cramping and abdominal pain.

A stethoscope with a name badge that reads "IBS Symptoms"

So, if we go back to the SIBO study, we see that for 65% of patients who followed an elemental diet for 14 days, IBS symptoms improved. [42 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]

Once again, there’s a lot more observational data from clinicians here than research. So the evidence is promising but not solid. Since it’s a very safe treatment [43 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 44 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 45 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source], patients can simply do a trial of the elemental diet and see if it works for them.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

The bulk of research into elemental diets is focused on IBD.

Studies have shown that elemental diets are as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs like prednisone and help up to 80% of patients achieve remission. [46, 47, 48, 49] Elemental diets also help IBD patients to prevent relapses of gut inflammation and autoimmunity.

In some countries, such as Japan, elemental diets have become the first line of treatment because corticosteroid drugs have some troublesome side effects. [50]

Celiac Disease

An elemental diet has been shown to help repair intestinal damage, reduce intestinal inflammation, and improve symptoms in those with celiac disease who did not respond fully to a gluten-free diet. [51 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]

These symptom improvements may be due to the elemental diet’s anti-inflammatory and reparative effects. Or, perhaps the improvements were due to treating underlying SIBO, which is one reason that Celiac patients don’t fully respond to a gluten-free diet.

A stethoscope with a chalkboard that reads "Celiac Disease"

Autoimmune Disease

One clinical trial has shown that an elemental diet was as effective as the anti-inflammatory steroid drug prednisone for rheumatoid arthritis. [52 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]

Otherwise, elemental diets as a treatment for autoimmunity have not been well-researched.

But remember, your gut has a strong influence on your immune system, and thus, anything you do to improve your gut health may help with autoimmunity. [53]

Bonus: Mood, Energy and Mental Clarity

What about mood, fatigue, mental clarity, weight loss and the elemental diet? Well, there’s little research looking at these. However what I see in the clinic is that many of these symptoms will often improve, sometimes dramatically, when you improve your gut health.

Some underweight patients may actually gain weight on an elemental diet because they start to absorb nutrients better.

Picking an Elemental Formula

There are a number of prescription and non-prescription elemental formulas. Some of the original Elemental formulas, such as Vivonex Plus, have a reputation for tasting like glue. Pick a newer, better tasting formula as it will make sticking with the diet much easier.

I developed the best-tasting elemental formula yet, Elemental Heal. It comes in vanilla and chocolate flavors.

Chocolate-flavored Elemental Heal, an Elemental Diet supplement
Vanilla-flavored Elemental Heal, and elemental diet supplement

Semi-Elemental Diet vs. Elemental Diet

There are two versions of the elemental diet, the full elemental diet and the semi- or half-elemental diet. There is no difference in how the diets are prepared and consumed. The difference is in how completely the proteins in the formula have been broken down: either fully into amino acids or partly into whey protein.

Research clearly shows that both versions are equally effective. [54]

Semi-elemental diet shakes taste better, so this is the best choice to help you stick with the diet. The full elemental option (whey-free) is best for those who are sensitive to whey.

We have whey-free and low-carb versions of Elemental Heal. These are the only whey free (fully elemental) and low carb elemental diet formulas available without a prescription.

Low-Carb Chocolate Elemental Heal, and elemental diet supplement
Whey-Free Chocolate Elemental Heal, and elemental diet supplement

Tips for a Successful Elemental Diet

  • Mix some healthy oils, such as MCT oil, with your elemental shakes. This provides energy and a feeling of fullness.
  • Mix up enough formula for 3-4 hours at a time. Sip your shakes all day instead of taking “meals.”
  • Cold shakes taste best. Use a blender to make the shakes nicely frothy. Add ice cubes to keep your drink cold while you sip it.
  • Drink as much Elemental Heal as you like.
  • Continue to take any prescription medicines. Supplements are optional.
  • A little food if you are hungry is OK, but keep this to a minimum.
  • Caffeine is OK, but omit the cream and sugar.
  • If you plan to complete a 2-3 week therapeutic diet, consider getting medical supervision.
  • Plan to support your gut health once the diet is over. Probiotics, prokinetics (for some patients) and a low FODMAP diet can all be very supportive.
  • Use caution if you have blood sugar issues. Elemental diets are high in simple carbohydrates and may cause blood sugar to spike.

The Bottom Line

Elemental diets are an effective therapy for a wide variety of gut imbalances. This diet has a reputation for being challenging to follow, however the newer, better tasting formulas make it a lot easier.

Following a strict elemental diet for 2-3 weeks may not be necessary if you’re not struggling with a severe gut condition. Consider starting with a more moderate approach and see if it benefits you.

References (click to expand)
  1. Borrelli O, Cordischi L, Cirulli M, et al. Polymeric diet alone versus corticosteroids in the treatment of active pediatric Crohn’s disease: a randomized controlled open-label trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006;4(6):744-753. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2006.03.010 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  2. Berni Canani R, Terrin G, Borrelli O, et al. Short- and long-term therapeutic efficacy of nutritional therapy and corticosteroids in paediatric Crohn’s disease. Dig Liver Dis. 2006;38(6):381-387. doi:10.1016/j.dld.2005.10.005 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  3. Day AS, Whitten KE, Sidler M, Lemberg DA. Systematic review: nutritional therapy in paediatric Crohn’s disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008;27(4):293-307. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2007.03578.x Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  4. Heuschkel RB, Menache CC, Megerian JT, Baird AE. Enteral nutrition and corticosteroids in the treatment of acute Crohn’s disease in children. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2000;31(1):8-15. doi:10.1097/00005176-200007000-00005 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  5. Rajendran N, Kumar D. Role of diet in the management of inflammatory bowel disease. World J Gastroenterol. 2010;16(12):1442-1448. doi:10.3748/wjg.v16.i12.1442 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  6. Borrelli O, Cordischi L, Cirulli M, et al. Polymeric diet alone versus corticosteroids in the treatment of active pediatric Crohn’s disease: a randomized controlled open-label trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006;4(6):744-753. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2006.03.010 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  7. Berni Canani R, Terrin G, Borrelli O, et al. Short- and long-term therapeutic efficacy of nutritional therapy and corticosteroids in paediatric Crohn’s disease. Dig Liver Dis. 2006;38(6):381-387. doi:10.1016/j.dld.2005.10.005 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  8. Knight C, El-Matary W, Spray C, Sandhu BK. Long-term outcome of nutritional therapy in paediatric Crohn’s disease. Clin Nutr. 2005;24(5):775-779. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2005.03.005 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  9. Tsertsvadze A, Gurung T, Court R, Clarke A, Sutcliffe P. Clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of elemental nutrition for the maintenance of remission in Crohn’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Health Technol Assess. 2015;19(26):1-138. doi:10.3310/hta19260 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  10. Nakahigashi M, Yamamoto T, Sacco R, Hanai H, Kobayashi F. Enteral nutrition for maintaining remission in patients with quiescent Crohn’s disease: current status and future perspectives. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2016;31(1):1-7. doi:10.1007/s00384-015-2348-x Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  11. Day AS, Whitten KE, Sidler M, Lemberg DA. Systematic review: nutritional therapy in paediatric Crohn’s disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008;27(4):293-307. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2007.03578.x Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  12. Heuschkel R. Enteral nutrition should be used to induce remission in childhood Crohn’s disease. Dig Dis. 2009;27(3):297-305. doi:10.1159/000228564 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  13. Verma S, Brown S, Kirkwood B, Giaffer MH. Polymeric versus elemental diet as primary treatment in active Crohn’s disease: a randomized, double-blind trial. Am J Gastroenterol. 2000;95(3):735-739. doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2000.01527.x Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  14. Hiwatashi N. Enteral nutrition for Crohn’s disease in Japan. Dis Colon Rectum. 1997;40(10 Suppl):S48-S53. doi:10.1007/BF02062020 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  15. Pimentel M, Constantino T, Kong Y, Bajwa M, Rezaei A, Park S. A 14-day elemental diet is highly effective in normalizing the lactulose breath test. Dig Dis Sci. 2004;49(1):73-77. doi:10.1023/b:ddas.0000011605.43979.e1 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  16. Pimentel M, Constantino T, Kong Y, Bajwa M, Rezaei A, Park S. A 14-day elemental diet is highly effective in normalizing the lactulose breath test. Dig Dis Sci. 2004;49(1):73-77. doi:10.1023/b:ddas.0000011605.43979.e1 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  17. Olaussen RW, Løvik A, Tollefsen S, et al. Effect of elemental diet on mucosal immunopathology and clinical symptoms in type 1 refractory celiac disease. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005;3(9):875-885. doi:10.1016/s1542-3565(05)00295-8 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  18. Takagi S, Utsunomiya K, Kuriyama S, et al. Effectiveness of an ‘half elemental diet’ as maintenance therapy for Crohn’s disease: A randomized-controlled trial. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006;24(9):1333-1340. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006.03120.x Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  19. Hiwatashi N. Enteral nutrition for Crohn’s disease in Japan. Dis Colon Rectum. 1997;40(10 Suppl):S48-S53. doi:10.1007/BF02062020 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  20. Verma S, Brown S, Kirkwood B, Giaffer MH. Polymeric versus elemental diet as primary treatment in active Crohn’s disease: a randomized, double-blind trial. Am J Gastroenterol. 2000;95(3):735-739. doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2000.01527.x Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  21. Day AS, Whitten KE, Sidler M, Lemberg DA. Systematic review: nutritional therapy in paediatric Crohn’s disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008;27(4):293-307. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2007.03578.x Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  22. Berni Canani R, Terrin G, Borrelli O, et al. Short- and long-term therapeutic efficacy of nutritional therapy and corticosteroids in paediatric Crohn’s disease. Dig Liver Dis. 2006;38(6):381-387. doi:10.1016/j.dld.2005.10.005 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  23. MacLellan A, Moore-Connors J, Grant S, Cahill L, Langille MGI, Van Limbergen J. The Impact of Exclusive Enteral Nutrition (EEN) on the Gut Microbiome in Crohn’s Disease: A Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):447. Published 2017 May 1. doi:10.3390/nu9050447
  24. Rao R, Samak G. Role of Glutamine in Protection of Intestinal Epithelial Tight Junctions. J Epithel Biol Pharmacol. 2012;5(Suppl 1-M7):47-54. doi:10.2174/1875044301205010047
  25. Heuschkel RB, Menache CC, Megerian JT, Baird AE. Enteral nutrition and corticosteroids in the treatment of acute Crohn’s disease in children. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2000;31(1):8-15. doi:10.1097/00005176-200007000-00005 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  26. Rajendran N, Kumar D. Role of diet in the management of inflammatory bowel disease. World J Gastroenterol. 2010;16(12):1442-1448. doi:10.3748/wjg.v16.i12.1442 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  27. Borrelli O, Cordischi L, Cirulli M, et al. Polymeric diet alone versus corticosteroids in the treatment of active pediatric Crohn’s disease: a randomized controlled open-label trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006;4(6):744-753. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2006.03.010 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  28. Berni Canani R, Terrin G, Borrelli O, et al. Short- and long-term therapeutic efficacy of nutritional therapy and corticosteroids in paediatric Crohn’s disease. Dig Liver Dis. 2006;38(6):381-387. doi:10.1016/j.dld.2005.10.005 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  29. Knight C, El-Matary W, Spray C, Sandhu BK. Long-term outcome of nutritional therapy in paediatric Crohn’s disease. Clin Nutr. 2005;24(5):775-779. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2005.03.005 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  30. Tsertsvadze A, Gurung T, Court R, Clarke A, Sutcliffe P. Clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of elemental nutrition for the maintenance of remission in Crohn’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Health Technol Assess. 2015;19(26):1-138. doi:10.3310/hta19260 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  31. Nakahigashi M, Yamamoto T, Sacco R, Hanai H, Kobayashi F. Enteral nutrition for maintaining remission in patients with quiescent Crohn’s disease: current status and future perspectives. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2016;31(1):1-7. doi:10.1007/s00384-015-2348-x Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  32. Day AS, Whitten KE, Sidler M, Lemberg DA. Systematic review: nutritional therapy in paediatric Crohn’s disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008;27(4):293-307. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2007.03578.x Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  33. Heuschkel R. Enteral nutrition should be used to induce remission in childhood Crohn’s disease. Dig Dis. 2009;27(3):297-305. doi:10.1159/000228564 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  34. Verma S, Brown S, Kirkwood B, Giaffer MH. Polymeric versus elemental diet as primary treatment in active Crohn’s disease: a randomized, double-blind trial. Am J Gastroenterol. 2000;95(3):735-739. doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2000.01527.x Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  35. Hiwatashi N. Enteral nutrition for Crohn’s disease in Japan. Dis Colon Rectum. 1997;40(10 Suppl):S48-S53. doi:10.1007/BF02062020 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  36. Pimentel M, Constantino T, Kong Y, Bajwa M, Rezaei A, Park S. A 14-day elemental diet is highly effective in normalizing the lactulose breath test. Dig Dis Sci. 2004;49(1):73-77. doi:10.1023/b:ddas.0000011605.43979.e1 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  37. Podas T, Nightingale JM, Oldham R, Roy S, Sheehan NJ, Mayberry JF. Is rheumatoid arthritis a disease that starts in the intestine? A pilot study comparing an elemental diet with oral prednisolone. Postgrad Med J. 2007;83(976):128-131. doi:10.1136/pgmj.2006.050245 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  38. Olaussen RW, Løvik A, Tollefsen S, et al. Effect of elemental diet on mucosal immunopathology and clinical symptoms in type 1 refractory celiac disease. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005;3(9):875-885. doi:10.1016/s1542-3565(05)00295-8 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  39. Mandal A, Mayberry J. Elemental diet in the treatment of refractory coeliac disease. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2001;13(1):79-80. doi:10.1097/00042737-200101000-00016 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  40. Pimentel M, Constantino T, Kong Y, Bajwa M, Rezaei A, Park S. A 14-day elemental diet is highly effective in normalizing the lactulose breath test. Dig Dis Sci. 2004;49(1):73-77. doi:10.1023/b:ddas.0000011605.43979.e1 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  41. Ghoshal UC, Srivastava D. Irritable bowel syndrome and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: meaningful association or unnecessary hype. World J Gastroenterol. 2014;20(10):2482-2491. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i10.2482
  42. Pimentel M, Constantino T, Kong Y, Bajwa M, Rezaei A, Park S. A 14-day elemental diet is highly effective in normalizing the lactulose breath test. Dig Dis Sci. 2004;49(1):73-77. doi:10.1023/b:ddas.0000011605.43979.e1 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  43. Borrelli O, Cordischi L, Cirulli M, et al. Polymeric diet alone versus corticosteroids in the treatment of active pediatric Crohn’s disease: a randomized controlled open-label trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006;4(6):744-753. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2006.03.010 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  44. Heuschkel RB, Menache CC, Megerian JT, Baird AE. Enteral nutrition and corticosteroids in the treatment of acute Crohn’s disease in children. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2000;31(1):8-15. doi:10.1097/00005176-200007000-00005 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  45. González-Huix F, de León R, Fernández-Bañares F, et al. Polymeric enteral diets as primary treatment of active Crohn’s disease: a prospective steroid controlled trial. Gut. 1993;34(6):778-782. doi:10.1136/gut.34.6.778 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  46. Otley AR, Russell RK, Day AS. Nutritional therapy for the treatment of pediatric Crohn’s disease. Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2010;6(4):667-676. doi:10.1586/eci.10.37
  47. Ruemmele FM, Veres G, Kolho KL, et al. Consensus guidelines of ECCO/ESPGHAN on the medical management of pediatric Crohn’s disease. J Crohns Colitis. 2014;8(10):1179-1207. doi:10.1016/j.crohns.2014.04.005
  48. Borrelli O, Cordischi L, Cirulli M, et al. Polymeric diet alone versus corticosteroids in the treatment of active pediatric Crohn’s disease: a randomized controlled open-label trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006;4(6):744-753. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2006.03.010
  49. Levine A, Turner D, Pfeffer Gik T, et al. Comparison of outcomes parameters for induction of remission in new onset pediatric Crohn’s disease: evaluation of the porto IBD group “growth relapse and outcomes with therapy” (GROWTH CD) study. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2014;20(2):278-285. doi:10.1097/01.MIB.0000437735.11953.68
  50. Kansal S, Wagner J, Kirkwood CD, Catto-Smith AG. Enteral nutrition in Crohn’s disease: an underused therapy. Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2013;2013:482108. doi:10.1155/2013/482108
  51. Olaussen RW, Løvik A, Tollefsen S, et al. Effect of elemental diet on mucosal immunopathology and clinical symptoms in type 1 refractory celiac disease. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005;3(9):875-885. doi:10.1016/s1542-3565(05)00295-8 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  52. Podas T, Nightingale JM, Oldham R, Roy S, Sheehan NJ, Mayberry JF. Is rheumatoid arthritis a disease that starts in the intestine? A pilot study comparing an elemental diet with oral prednisolone. Postgrad Med J. 2007;83(976):128-131. doi:10.1136/pgmj.2006.050245 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  53. Xu H, Liu M, Cao J, et al. The Dynamic Interplay between the Gut Microbiota and Autoimmune Diseases. J Immunol Res. 2019;2019:7546047. Published 2019 Oct 27. doi:10.1155/2019/7546047
  54. Alexander DD, Bylsma LC, Elkayam L, Nguyen DL. Nutritional and health benefits of semi-elemental diets: A comprehensive summary of the literature. World J Gastrointest Pharmacol Ther. 2016;7(2):306-319. doi:10.4292/wjgpt.v7.i2.306

Need help or would like to learn more?
View Dr. Ruscio’s additional resources

Get Help

Discussion

I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!

6 thoughts on “The Elemental Diet: An Effective Therapy for Gut Relief

  1. Question about the modified fast and the elemental diet. Are they the same meaning you can do either one of them or should you start with modified fasting first and then if needed use the elemental diet. Felt a bit confused when reading the book as there is similar pieces of information on both the modified fast and the elemental diets. I had planned to start out with elemental diet in step 1 – reset, but not so sure now.

  2. Hi there, I am planning on doing the liquid fast you mentioned in your book with bone broth. I’m wondering if I can do chicken AND beef broth, alternating between each kind during the 4 day fasting period?

    1. Also, can I use store-bought bone broth instead of making it at home? Any recommendations on which kind to buy is appreciated!

    2. Hi Brooke, sure, alternating is fine. And yes, you can do store bought. Kettle + Fire, Epic, or Bare Bones are all good options.

    1. Vigorous exercise isn’t really recommended. Listen to your body, rest as much as you need – potentially some walks/restorative yoga could be helpful. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *