Do you suffer from malabsorption syndrome? This is a condition of the small intestine that prevents the vital organ from absorbing certain nutrients like minerals and vitamins. It can be caused by different factors like not enough lactose. This condition isn’t as well known as others like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. However, since the small intestine is a vital organ it’s critical to know what it’s about like causes, symptoms, and treatments. You should also know how to follow the malabsorption syndrome diet so you’ll know how to treat this condition effectively. That’s by boosting your levels of certain minerals and vitamins that the body can’t absorb properly because of the condition.
When you have malabsorption syndrome this prevents your small intestine from absorbing certain nutrients properly. That includes vitamins like Vitamin B12 and D and minerals like iron and magnesium. Various factors cause this condition. So, it’s important to first get diagnosed with whatever condition that’s causing the small intestine issue from the get-go. This will help to explain the absorption issue and others you’re experiencing. You should also make some diet tweaks to make sure you’re getting the nutrients that are low-level because of your condition.
What Is Malabsorption Syndrome?
The main job of the small intestine is to take in nutrients from the food people eat. Sometimes the system doesn’t work properly. This results in Various conditions canrome. It refers to multiple disorders in which the small intestine is unable to absorb enough of particular kinds of nutrients/fluids.
These nutrients can be different types. They include “macros” like carbs, proteins, and fats. They can also be micronutrients like Vitamin B12/D or minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Various conditions can cause malabsorption syndrome including infections, diseases, or birth defects. Here are some of the main causes of this condition:
- Damage to the small intestine from infection, trauma, inflammation, or surgery
- Drugs that damage the intestine’s lining
- Radiation therapy that damages the intestine’s lining
- A disease of liver, pancreas, or gallbladder
- Digestive problems like stomach-produced enzymes
- Parasitic diseases
- Some birth defects
- Lactose deficiency/intolerance
- Conditions like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and cystic fibrosis
- Long-term antibiotics use
Some diseases can cause malabsorption. They include a tropical-weather condition that happens in Southeast Asia, India, and the Caribbean. It’s linked to environmental factors like food toxins, parasites, and infection.
Other causes are quite rare like one called Whipple’s disease that’s caused by bacteria. Even though these are rare causes of malabsorption syndrome there’s still a chance you could be affected by them.
The symptoms you experience are based on the particular nutrients that your small intestine isn’t absorbing properly. Other symptoms are caused by deficiencies that result from this issue. This can cause symptoms related to:
- Vitamins: Deficiencies can cause weight loss, low blood pressure, or weak muscles.
- Fats: You might have issues related to stools.
- Protein: This type of deficiency can result in problems like hair loss, dry hair, and other issues.
- Sugar: This can cause problems like gas or bloating
Malabsorption Syndrome Diet
If you have malabsorption syndrome there are some natural ways to deal with it. Here are some of them:
Sometimes doctors recommend supplements of certain nutrients patients aren’t absorbing well. For example, a protein powder made of bone broth can help you to get more protein. This can help to make sure you’re getting extra protein and other nutrients.
You can change to a high-calorie diet if your doctor gives you a thumbs up to do that. This can benefit people with this condition since it provides extra stuff people need. They include minerals, vitamins, carbs, fats, and proteins.
You could even take this approach if your body isn’t able to absorb enough of certain nutrients. In that case, boosting your intake of them can give you a better chance of getting enough of all the nutrients your body needs to function properly.
Sometimes you just have to make small tweaks. For example, you might need to take more of something called MCTs instead of dietary fat.
Studies show that 95% of Americans aren’t getting enough of it. An average adult needs 30+ grams per day from food. Most people get about half of that. A high-fiber diet can also deal with different digestive problems. Try whole grains, green leafy veggies, and whole-wheat bread.
These are substances that can help the body to break down particular nutrients. This can then help your body get more important nutrients in food.
The particular ones you should take is based on the particular enzymes you need more of. If you’re having problems absorbing carbs then you might need lactose. Meanwhile, if you’re having problems digesting fat then you might need lipase.
These supplements are quite easy to find. You can get the over-the-counter (OTC) supplements at various health stores.
Treatments for Malabsorption Syndrome
If your doctor thinks you might have this condition then he/she will start the treatment process by dealing with various symptoms you might have like LBM. There’s a wide range of different over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription meds that can help with these symptoms.
Your physician will probably want to swap out nutrients/fluids your body can’t absorb. They’ll then watch for dehydration, which can include symptoms like more thirst, less urine, and dry mouth, tongue, and skin.
The next step in treatment is to deal with the root cause of absorption issues. For example, let’s say you have lactose intolerance. In that case, the doctor will probably suggest that you avoid dairy products like milk, or start taking a lactase enzyme tablet.
Afterward, your doctor might suggest a certain dietician. He/She will make a treatment plan that will help to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients needed. Some of the ones you might get include:
- Vitamin supplements
- Enzyme supplements
- Diet changes
In some cases, there are long-term complications related to the condition. These are linked directly to the kind of nutrient that’s not absorbed. Some people experience long-term issues like stomach pain, weight loss, LBM, and vitamin deficiencies. This can cause various issues like low blood sugar, numb hands/feet, and memory issues.
The bottom line is if you have malabsorption syndrome it’s important to get it treated. That’s because the body needs to get the right amount of the right nutrients so it can work properly.
When your body doesn’t get enough nutrients it can affect each body system. That includes:
When these things are affected it’s worse for children and seniors because they’re more sensitive to certain issues related to this condition. So, it’s even more important for them to follow a malabsorption syndrome diet.