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3 weeks into Elemental - Diarrhea :(

Hi everyone.

Well I am now 3 weeks into the elemental diet. I really don't mind being off food for so long. However, I am still having diarrhea about 6-8 times a day. It also still gets me up at least twice a night which is very annoying. I have also developed sore, blood-shot eyes which I am wondering is linked to my symptoms somehow?

Has anyone been on this diet before? Has anyone got any ideas why I am still having diarrhea? This diet is supposed to provide bowel rest but it certainly is not in my case. I read so many good things about this diet however, I am really getting down now as I am 22, down to 8 stone/108 pounds (the weight I was back when I was 15) and have used up a lot of the medication options for Crohn's :( Infliximab seems all that is left now.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


Hi Calmac,

Yup there are a few us that have been on that - I'm assuming you mean the cartons of Elemental 028... I had horrendous trouble trying to make it work for me with a dietician who told me I should drink more of it. When actually it transpired later that I don't tolerate maltodextrin - which is a key ingredient.

The key is that it should be absorbed in the first section of your small bowel. So to avoid overloading that little bit, and hence letting it get further down, you need to sip it slowly: like at least 20 - 30 minutes per carton. In my case about 4 hours!
Once I stopped it, it had actually calmed down the inflammation further on in my bowel.

What drugs have you been through, azathioprine, 6MP, methotrexate, humira?
Thanks beth for the reply and advice. It is actually the sachets I was on. So much liquid! I wondered whether the Glucose was the problem in the powder. Also, I would drink it quite slowly as it did not taste that great. However, yesterday I was given some of the cartons to try and they seem a lot better but the diarrhea still bugs me.

Drugs I have been on; Antibiotics, Prednisolone many times, Currently on Mesalazine and Azathioprine.
I doubt you don't tolerate glucose. Whilst they try to minimise the chance of intolerances with these drinks they still have to contain enough for you to survive. It may be worth asking your consultant/dietician to try something else - Modulen, or there is another elemental style one also used as alternative baby formula but I can't find it's name at the mo.

Sounds tho, you need to asking about moving on up the drugs hierarchy; like methotrexate or the biologics.
Try chicken broth instead of the Elemental which is full of complex carbohydrates, impossible to digest. Just drop a whole chicken in your crockpot, sprinkle lightly with salt, cumin, turmeric, ginger and paprika. After 3 hours, remove the breasts to serve separately (to others in the family if you can't eat it), and add 5 cups of filtered water. Let it simmer 6 to 10 hours. Strain the broth, add salt to taste. DRINK as much as you can of this broth, WITH ALL THE FAT. This is the basic recipe, but you can add carrots and onions too, for taste and vitamins. I frequently add coconut milk and ginger juice (made by liquefying fresh ginger root in a blender with water, and straining) for a wonderfully soothing Thai taste variation.
hi there, i dd 3 weeks on elemental 028 earlier this year, and was successful! yay! i have flared a couple of times since then, both time a couple of weeks on the drinks settled me down so i could continue reintroducing foods. to begin with the elementals gave me worse diareah, but i started watering them down more, which changes the osmolality and means they draw less water into the gut. that worked for me, and im so much better than i was before, ive gained weight and bad reactions dont seem to be quite as bad anymore. are you planning on going onto the lofflex diet after the elementals? thats what i did. good luck!