Nutrition in Gastrointestinal Disease: Liver, Pancreatic, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

J Clin Med. 2019 Jul 25;8(8):1098. doi: 10.3390/jcm8081098.


Liver, pancreatic, and inflammatory bowel diseases are often associated with nutritional difficulties and necessitate an adequate nutritional therapy in order to support the medical treatment. As most patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are overweight or obese, guidelines recommend weight loss and physical activity to improve liver enzymes and avoid liver cirrhosis. In contrast, patients with alcoholic steatohepatitis or liver cirrhosis have a substantial risk for protein depletion, trace elements deficiency, and thus malnutrition. Patients with chronic pancreatitis and patients with inflammatory bowel disease have a similar risk for malnutrition. Therefore, it clearly is important to screen these patients for malnutrition with established tools and initiate adequate nutritional therapy. If energy and protein intake are insufficient with regular meals, oral nutritional supplements or artificial nutrition, i.e., tube feeding or parenteral nutrition, should be used to avoid or treat malnutrition. However, the oral route should be preferred over enteral or parenteral nutrition. Acute liver failure and acute pancreatitis are emergencies, which require close monitoring for the treatment of metabolic disturbances. In most patients, energy and protein requirements are increased. In acute pancreatitis, the former recommendation of fasting is obsolete. Each disease is discussed in this manuscript and special recommendations are given according to the pathophysiology and clinical routine.

Keywords: artificial nutrition; inflammation; malnutrition; micronutrient deficiency; monitoring; oral nutritional supplements.