Mastic Gum for Acute Colitis

I am currently in remission.

My name is Steven, I’m 56, happily married (no children sadly) and live in Australia. I had my first attack of UC in 2010. It is one thing knowing about it, I am medically trained (a GP), and another thing experiencing it. I also have Parkinson’s disease, but that’s a whole other story. Let’s just say the two conditions make life pretty interesting during a UC flare.

Some more about Steven:

I am a holistic Integrative Medicine doctor who played a role in the formation of the Australian Integrative Medicine Association. I am also an author.

Mastic Gum and Steven’s Story:

Between the onset of UC (a pancolitis version) in 2010 and April 2012 I had 4 serious flare ups with 4 hospital admissions. On average I lost 4kg per admission and was dangerously low in weight (40kg or 88lbs). Prednisolone helped me recover but in my case its side effects were awful (suicidal depression, anxiety, panic, agitation and aggression).

I wasn’t keen on taking the immunosuppressants if I didn’t have to. So I searched for another way. Eventually this led to the SCD and a supplement called mastic gum. One pilot research study had found mastic gum effective for managing 10 people with active Crohn’s disease.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17278198

I figured if it worked for Crohn’s it would probably work for UC. So I purchased a bottle and when my next flare up came along I took 2x 500mg capsules twice a day. Within 24 hours I was feeling better and 4 days later I was significantly better. My CRP, a blood test measure of inflammation, dropped from around 115 to 15 in a week and was normal (< 3.0) another week later.

A warning here, it caused me significant constipation. When I halved the dose for this reason the flare resurfaced. So my Gastro suggested I keep taking mastic gum at the original dose (2 caps twice a day) and treat the constipation. This worked and within 2 weeks I no longer needed the anti-constipation treatment. I then weaned off the mastic gum over a 6 week period.

Over the next 3 years any time a flare (I had 4 episodes) arose the mastic capsules quickly (within days) did the job. I could then wean down the dose over just a couple of weeks. I thought I had the alternative to prednisolone.

However, three months ago I had a rapid onset flare, my worst acute episode since 2012. The mastic gum kept it down to just 3 BMs a day, but the pain and fever persisted and I also developed scleritis (an inflammation of the sclera of the eyes). So I had to turn to prednisolone again.

Nonetheless, mastic gum is a promising substitute for acute flare up management, as long as this is done, as I did, in conjunction with my Gastro and GP.

I’ll be sticking more closely to the SCD from here on. Prevention is best.

Medications and Holistic Treatments Steven Knows About:

Mastic gum +++++(Mastic Gum on Amazon.com)
Fish oil +
L Glutamine ?
Aloe vera caused diarrhoea
Soft food diet and protein smoothies in acute flares +++ as per What to Eat with IBD by Tracie Dalessandro and Listen to Your Gut by JIni Patel-Thompson
Macrobiotic diet with Japanese twist +++ as per Controlling Crohn’s Disease by Valerie Harper
SCD ++++
Prednisolone ++++ but shocking side effects
Probiotics (VSL#3) +++(VSL 3 on Amazon.com)

written by Steven S

submitted in the colitis venting area




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11 Responses to Mastic Gum for Acute Colitis

  1. Mike March 11, 2018 at 4:29 pm #

    So what did you treat the constipation with???

  2. Skip Bushee March 11, 2018 at 4:50 pm #

    Fascinating story. One comment: watch out for VSL#3 if you find the SCD diet helpful (as I have). It is loaded with corn starch, which is inflammatory. I was on the diet for a couple of years but still had some occasional bleeding. Then I stopped the VSL#3 and I have been clear for over a year. I make my own yoghurt using the SCD instructions and find it to be the best probiotic in lieu of others.

  3. Larry Jones March 11, 2018 at 6:29 pm #

    Thank you Adam interesting.

  4. Steven S
    Steven March 11, 2018 at 7:38 pm #

    Thanks for sharing that Skip. I’ll check that out. I am aware though that VSL#3 has been proven in research studies to lessen the severity of a UC flare see Pubmed:

    Probiotic mix VSL#3 is effective adjunctive therapy for mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis: a meta-analysis. Mardini HE et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis. (2014)

    Perhaps its not effective or worse as an ongoing prevention (maintenance therapy)? or maybe some people benefit others get aggravated?

  5. Joseph March 11, 2018 at 10:12 pm #

    I’m living in Australia and we don’t have in Australia. I have to order it online but I’m wondering how come Steven put Amazing website to order it then when I accessed this link it’s said ” we can’t ship it to Australia “

    • Adam
      Adam March 11, 2018 at 11:08 pm #

      The amazon link should work for US and some other countries which is about 75% of the site users. Maybe Steven can share more on how he can locate this locally in Australia.

  6. Jane W
    Jane Walker March 12, 2018 at 2:39 am #

    Does the SCD allow mastic gum? It sounds to me like something that would be illegal.
    Not that I know a lot about the SCD, but I’m investigating!
    I too would like to know how to obtain the gum in Australia, please.
    Where are you located Dr Steven? I’m interested in where you found a Gastro Dr who will even entertain the idea of doing things naturally.

    • Mel March 12, 2018 at 5:31 pm #

      Iherb has similiar Mastic Gum products – the one from Amazon is 500mg, so just check which strength you want but I have always found iherb to be really reliable and low postage costs to Australia

  7. Julie April 28, 2018 at 7:22 am #

    I gave mastic gum a try with such high hope’s. It immediately gave me a new bad feeling in my stomach. I was going to build up dosage but I was afraid of making my stomach feel more putrid. Maybe I should try again?

    • Julie May 17, 2018 at 3:51 pm #

      Update..I’m back on the mastic gun and think it is helping sometimes. No where near as fast as Steven found relief, but maybe. I’m having a colonoscopy in June with fecal transplant. Fingers crossed.

  8. Steven S
    Steven May 17, 2018 at 7:47 pm #

    Sorry for the delay folks. Let me respond to your questions.

    I obtained my mastic gum (Nutricology or Allergy Research brands) from iherb.com.
    I treated the constipation it induced with psyllium husks and lactulose.
    As mastic gum is derived from the sap of a tree I imagine it should be OK as an inclusion on the SCD.
    It’s effectiveness was maintained for 3 years before I found it diminishing. I increased the dose to 5 a day for the initial 3 days which helped settle some flares, but even this eventually only lessened the flare without fully settling it.
    In the meantime I’ve benefited from FMT. I’m finding that as long as I have a top up fecal enema every 3 months my symptoms remain in check (marvelous!)
    I live in Geelong and the gastro I see who is open to different approaches is Dr Pail Froomes. He consults from the suburb of Moonee Ponds in Melbourne. Paul also performs fecal transplants via colonoscopy and you can purchase top up fecal enemas from his surgery.
    Non of this is covered by Medicare, so it is expensive. His website is -http://drpaulfroomes.com.au/

    Hope this helps.

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