Malabsorption is difficulty in the digestion or absorption of nutrients from food substances.
Malabsorption can result from a broad spectrum of diseases. Typically, malabsorption can be the failure to absorb specific sugars, fats, proteins, or vitamins, or it can be a general malabsorption of food. Diarrhea, bloating or cramping, failure to thrive, frequent bulky stools, muscle wasting, and a distended abdomen may accompany malabsorption.
Malabsorption can affect growth and development, or it can lead to specific illnesses. Some of the causes of malabsorption include:
¥ Cystic fibrosis (the number one cause in the U.S.)
¥ Chronic pancreatitis
¥ Lactose intolerance
¥ Celiac disease (gluten-induced-enteropathy, sprue)
¥ Whipple disease
¥ Shwachman-Diamond syndrome
¥ Bovine lactalbumin intolerance (cow's milk protein)
¥ Soy milk protein intolerance
¥ Acrodermatitis enteropathica causing zinc malabsorption
¥ Biliary atresia
¥ Vitamin B-12 malabsorption may be due to:
Diphyllobothrium latum infestation
Juvenile pernicious anemia
Strongyloides stercoralis (threadworm)
Necator americanus (hookworm)
Prealbumin is the best marker of malnutrition.
Malabsorption can cause nutritional deficiency: carotene, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin E
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