Nutritional status and nutritional therapy in inflammatory bowel diseases.
Underweight and specific nutrient deficiencies are frequent in adult patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In addition, a significant number of children with IBD, especially Crohn's disease (CD) have impaired linear growth. Nutrition has an important role in the management of IBD. In adults with CD, enteral nutrition (EN) is effective in inducing clinical remission of IBD, although it is less efficient than corticosteroids. Exclusive EN is an established primary therapy for pediatric CD. Limited data suggests that EN is as efficient as corticosteroids for induction of remission. Additional advantages of nutritional therapy are control of inflammation, mucosal healing, positive benefits to growth and overall nutritional status with minimal adverse effects. The available evidence suggests that supplementary EN may be effective also for maintenance of remission in CD. More studies are needed to confirm these findings. However, EN supplementation could be considered as an alternative or as an adjunct to maintenance drug therapy in CD. EN does not have a primary therapeutic role in ulcerative colitis. Specific compositions of enteral diets-elemental diets or diets containing specific components-were not shown to have any advantage over standard polymeric diets and their place in the treatment of CD or UC need further evaluation. Recent theories suggest that diet may be implicated in the etiology of IBD, however there are no proven dietary approaches to reduce the risk of developing IBD.
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