Nutrition and GI/Digestive Disorders go hand in hand. With a GI challenge, nutrition intake is almost always affected whether by amount, type or tolerance of food. Patients often turn to the Internet for answers. And there will be answers!
An educational/support source for dietitians, gastroenterologists, internal medicine, colorectal surgeons, and others. Our goal is to share our expertise in understanding GI disorders and translating the nutrition components.
Through monthly on-line, interactive sessions, we will describe a condition, provide a case study and collectively improve understanding of the disease process and nutrition care options.
Nutrition is the process of taking in or ingesting food (nutrients), digesting food, absorbing food, and excreting waste. Eating should be enjoyable, tasty, satisfying, and pain free!
When any one part of that pathway is disturbed, nutrient intake is disturbed. While people do not eat the same amount every day, overall nutrition status is maintained on average. However, when there is a problem whether it is physiological such as inability to swallow or related to tolerance of food—nausea, bloating, nutrition status will suffer.
This is where the physician and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) can be so beneficial. But first, both need an understanding of food and disease interactions. Limiting one or more food categories or groups is almost never the answer. Modifying the amount, texture or type of food might be. For those who have difficultly taking in food via the mouth or absorbing food, enteral (tube feeding) or parenteral (IV) nutrition can be used.
Our human microbiome has always been present. Only in the last few years have researchers grasped the vast importance of the GI microbiome in health and disease. The microbes (e.g. bacteria and viruses) live in and on our bodies and have many functions, including protection against pathogens, immune functions, and metabolic functions.
The diversity and the differences of the elements of the gut microbiota are widely variable among individuals. How to maintain a healthy gut microbiota is not well-defined; however, what goes into the GI tract certainly affects the gut microbiota! It isn’t just food or beverage, either—it is the air we breathe, the stress we have and the medications and other “things” we take in! There are no questions that a diet (food) rich in all nutrients is beneficial for the gut microbiota and the host (you!).
Further studies will help elucidate further the function of the host-microbiota interactions not only in health but in disease. Until then, we must rely on evidence-based data and not assumptions or unreliable tests to guide us.