Nutritional Therapies

Enteral Feeding

Enteral Feeding is another strategy used as a primary therapy to treat Crohn’s disease or as a secondary treatment for malnutrition and growth failure in children. A nasogastric (NG) tube is inserted down your child’s nose into his stomach. A medicinal food supplement is then administered through the tube. This tube can be removed or tucked behind your child’s ear during the day if they feed at night.

Enteral feeding may last from one to three months if all of your child’s nutritional needs are being met this way. Some children choose to have a stomach tube (gastrostomy) for nocturnal feedings instead of an NG tube if they are suffering from extensive malnutrition.

If a child is acutely ill and unable to get adequate nutrition either by mouth or enteral feeds, it may be necessary to place her on total parenteral nutrition (TPN). In this case, liquid nutrition is administered through an intravenous site (rather than through an NG tube).

Read our position statement on the Importance of Exclusive Enteral Nutrition.


Crohn’s and colitis can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from your food. In addition, some of the medications you take for Crohn’s and colitis may also interfere with your body’s ability to absorb nutrition. As a result, your physician may recommend that you take supplements to ensure that you are getting adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. This is particularly true for your calcium and vitamin D requirements if you are lactose-intolerant.

Speak to your physician or registered dietitian before deciding to take supplements, and discuss the need for additional:
  • Calcium citrate
  • Iron
  • Vitamins D and B12
  • Folic acid
  • Sodium and potassium
  • Fish oil capsules/omega 3 fatty acids
You may need some, all or none of the above depending upon your condition, any previous surgery you have had, and the location of the disease in your gut.

Vitamin D has gained recognition in the last few years as a nutrient that is key for good overall health, and bone health in particular. Emerging research is pointing to Vitamin D and its role in the inflammatory process, and as a factor in the disease activity in patients with IBD. 

learn more about nutrition for crohn's and colitis

Click on the video below to learn from experts in the field about probiotics and nutritional supplements for Crohn's and colitis. 

For more general information about nutrition and IBD, visit our Diet and Nutrition page.

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

Other Areas of Interest