Nutritional Therapy Strategies in Pediatric Crohn's Disease

Nutrients. 2021 Jan 13;13(1):212. doi: 10.3390/nu13010212.


The increase in incidences of pediatric Crohn's Disease (CD) worldwide has been strongly linked with dietary shifts towards a Westernized diet, ultimately leading to altered gut microbiota and disturbance in intestinal immunity and the metabolome. Multiple clinical studies in children with CD have demonstrated the high efficacy of nutritional therapy with exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) to induce remission with an excellent safety profile. However, EEN is poorly tolerated, limiting its compliance and clinical application. This has spiked an interest in the development of alternative and better-tolerated nutritional therapy strategies. Several nutritional therapies have now been designed not only to treat the nutritional deficiencies seen in children with active CD but also to correct dysbiosis and reduce intestinal inflammation. In this review, we report the most recent insights regarding nutritional strategies in children with active CD: EEN, partial enteral nutrition (PEN), Crohn's disease exclusive diet (CDED), and CD treatment-with-eating diet (CD-TREAT). We describe their setup, efficacy, safety, and (dis)advantages as well as some of their potential mechanisms of action and perspectives. A better understanding of different nutritional therapeutic options and their mechanisms will yield better and safer management strategies for children with CD and may address the barriers and limitations of current strategies in children.

Keywords: diet; inflammation; microbiota; nutritional therapy; pediatric Crohn’s disease.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis
  • Crohn Disease / diet therapy*
  • Crohn Disease / etiology
  • Diet
  • Disease Management
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Therapy* / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome

Supplementary concepts

  • Pediatric Crohn's disease