What is Malabsorption?
Malabsorption is a condition in which the body is unable to absorb nutrients from food in the intestines. Malabsorption is usually caused by a problem with the small intestine, such as a bacterial or viral infection, celiac disease, or inflammatory bowel disease. Malabsorption is also a side effect of many medications.
Some symptoms of malabsorption include: While undigested food may be in your stomach (sacroiliac joints), the rest of your digestive tract can’t absorb it. Malabsorption also results from the breakdown of the following nutrients: Once malabsorbed nutrients enter your bloodstream, they travel to the liver and small intestine. After passing through the liver, your small intestine can partially absorb some nutrients.
Within two to four weeks, 75% of the nutrients you consume will be absorbed. For a small percentage of people, however, the digestive process can’t be completed. This is known as dietary non-absorptions. But it’s not all bad news. We can still absorb nutrients and prevent nutrient deficiency if our digestive system works properly.
Many individuals with malabsorption have high cholesterol levels and a tendency to consume more animal products compared to those without the condition. There’s a possibility that these individuals also consume a lot of fibrous foods. Consuming more fibrous foods like oats, barley, peas, and beans will absorb more nutrients from the foods they’re cooked into. It’s not the food itself that’s the only way to achieve an ideal digestive system. It’s the regularity with which we eat and the quality of our whole diet.
According to EveryHealthify, they give their top nutrient recommendations in the following categories: This may seem like a tall order, so it’s easy to feel like you don’t have the time or patience to follow suit. But healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard — it only requires the discipline to skip the processed foods that don’t deliver on their nutritional promises. By focusing on quality over quantity and focusing on the type of foods you eat, you will kickstart your body’s natural process of absorbing nutrients.
How Common Is Malabsorption?
Malabsorption is a relatively common condition that’s actually not well known. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), malabsorption occurs in about 8 to 15 per cent of people with Crohn’s disease and about 1 to 7 per cent of people with ulcerative colitis. The condition mainly affects people of Asian, Hispanic, and African descent. Strangely, it’s almost never seen in people of European descent. Crohn’s disease patients are afflicted with an overgrowth of white and brown fibre in the digestive tract. As a result, their body produces Diphosphonate (DP) and Phosphate (PP) toxic metabolites that attack the colon’s lining.
These metabolites cause inflammation, ulceration, and bleeding throughout the intestines and can cause a range of adverse events, including gastrointestinal numbness or tingling, loss of bowel control, and diarrhoea.
Unfortunately, most people who suffer from malabsorption go undiagnosed and untreated. CDFA founder and CEO Jakob Nielsen say that up to 95% of patients with malabsorption go undiagnosed and untreated. Unfortunately, untreated malabsorption can cause malnutrition. “Once we determine the identity of the problem and treat it early; usually 90 to 95% of people recover from this condition,” he says.
Fortunately, malabsorption is treatable. But if it’s left untreated, nutrient deficiencies set in and can lead to malnutrition, according to Dr Derk-Jørgen Madsen, Gastroenterologist and ICU Program Director at Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark. Malnutrition is a nutrient-related condition that typically occurs because of an impaired ability to absorb vital nutrients without the appropriate enzymes in the body.
This deficiency, known as nutrient-induced nutrient reflux disease (NIMROD), occurs when the gastrointestinal (GI) tract isn’t processing the right nutrients, and it can cause nutritional deficiencies. An Imbalanced Digestion-Digestive Enzymes (IDED) LDLR4 has been identified as a major driver of nutrient-induced nutrient reflux disease.
IDED was identified due to discrepancies in intestinal alkaline phosphate concentrations as well as the inability of mouse models of NIMROD to metabolise dietary phosphorous, as shown through cytofluorosaccharides and acidic phosphorous analogues. The deficiency can lead to intestinal discomfort, pain, and bleeding.
Symptoms of Malabsorption
Malabsorption can be caused by a number of things, including: – Celiac disease – Crohn’s disease – Celiac sprue – Tropical sprue – Short bowel syndrome – Lactose intolerance – Alcoholic liver disease – Surgical removal of part of the small intestine – Intestinal cancer There’s also an inherited tendency for malabsorption, which means that many people who have it as adults actually have a tendency for it as children.
Basically, anyone can absorb food that isn’t properly digested. People might be more at risk if their digestive enzymes aren’t working properly, or if there’s a lot of fermenting in their digestive tract. There are many other potential causes, such as certain medications and certain diseases (especially Vitamin D deficiency). Malabsorption can be managed under a doctor’s care if it’s managed correctly.
However, if it’s left untreated, a slow, progressive disease, malabsorption could potentially lead to health complications such as: A person with malabsorption can also not absorb vital vitamins and minerals from their food. This could lead to birth defects. Like I mentioned before, I’ve personally dealt with malabsorption, and it left me with a number of problems.
But eventually, people were able to master their malabsorption, and their digestive system is working properly. All you need to do is learn about proper digestion, and how to take care of your malabsorption under a doctor’s care. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your physician or a nutritionist. Not everybody responds to digestive enzyme supplements the same way.
Personally, people do see improvements after taking enzyme supplements for a few weeks. But you should be tested to see if it works for you. In short, digestive enzymes are synthetic compounds that your body naturally produces in your small intestine. Digestive enzymes work by breaking down the material in your food so that you can absorb its nutrients. Malabsorption is caused by a problem within your digestive system.
- How is Malabsorption Diagnosed?
Misdiagnosis is a very real risk for someone with celiac disease. The disease is often confused with irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and lactose intolerance. If you’re experiencing symptoms of celiac disease, you should be tested for celiac disease as soon as possible.
- Treatment for Malabsorption
Malabsorption is a condition in which the body cannot absorb vital nutrients from the food that you eat. This causes malnutrition and can lead to conditions like osteoporosis. This condition was the leading cause of death during the pandemic, affecting more than 20 to 30 million Americans.
75% of women and men struggle with nutrient deficiencies. It’s greatly exacerbated during the hot, humid months in Texas during the summer. It’s the second leading cause of preventable deaths in the country. With Texas consistently registering one of the highest rates of non-communicable disease in the nation, the condition is not getting better anytime soon.
Before the pandemic, it was more prevalent with older adults and African Americans. However, due to diet and exercise trends in our society, many of those groups are no longer consuming the necessary vitamins and minerals. Dietary trends have shifted the profile of people struggling with malabsorption. Instead of focusing on the individual, we need to support the communities where we live.
This means many of the remedies being offered by naturopathic doctors are only temporary. At best, the nutrition changes introduced can quickly dissipate once a new sustainable diet is entered. For the most part, the causes are tied to underlying conditions and lifestyle factors instead of one-size-fits-all practice recommendations. Take a look at your diet before the pandemic. Was your diet skewed towards fried food, fast food, and sugary beverages?
Especially during the first few weeks of lockdown, keep an eye out for trigger foods that can cause nutrient deficiencies. It could be as simple as a salad dressing with lots of vinegar. But if you combine foods that you struggle with, it might be more complicated. The nightshade family includes peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, and potatoes. These foods can cause inflammation in the small intestine by producing tumorous growths and toxins.