Digestion in our body takes place in 3 phases. Firstly, the secretions from pancreas and gall bladder breakdown the nutrients in the food in to their individual components. Thereafter, the enzymes from the small intestine hydrolyze the food in to absorbable molecules. Lastly, the small intestine will absorb the nutrients in to its walls for use by the body.
What is left after absorption moves in to the colon where it is excreted from the body. In case one of the processes goes wrong, malabsorption occurs.
Digestion commences as soon as the food enters your mouth. Enzymes in the saliva and the process of chewing convert the food in to a bolus. When you swallow, the throat pushes the bolus in to the esophagus, where the muscle contractions of the esophageal walls thrust it to the stomach.
Enzymes and acids in the stomach churn it in to smaller particles. Once inside the small intestine, the food undergoes the 3 stages of absorption, and your food breaks down in to individual molecules that are tiny enough to pass through the wall of your small intestine and deliver nourishment to the body.
Various disorders and conditions could result in a failure in the process of absorption. This could be an illness, trauma, certain drugs and medicines, and genetically-linked conditions. When you cannot absorb the nutrients in the food that you eat, health issues arise. The commonest form of protein malabsorption, is celiac disease, which occurs in those who cannot digest gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.
Malabsorption of protein may occur as a consequence of a disorder or obstruction of the gall bladder, pancreatic disease, liver impairment or failure, anomalous bowel motility, overgrowth of bacteria and a host of other disease conditions.
Symptoms Of Protein Malabsorption
- Typically, protein malabsorption is seen as edema. Without protein in the body, you lose a very vital enzyme which helps balance the body’s fluids. When there a deficiency or an absence of protein, the feet, ankles and hands get noticeably swollen and edematous. Your shoes and rings will feel tighter and your joints will feel stiff and awkward. If you press a finger in to the lower part of your shin, an imprint will be left in the skin which will take several minutes to return to normal shape.
- Furthermore, protein malabsorption results in weight loss, you will also suffer from chronic diarrhea and bloating of the abdomen.
- A child will suffer stagnation and delay in growth.
- Sometimes, there may also be a skin rash, seen as itchy pustules.
Treatment Options For Protein Malabsorption
Depending up on the cause of the malabsorption the case can be managed. In case of trauma and infection, your health care provider will prescribe the appropriate drugs and anti-biotic.
In the case of a genetic condition, a gluten-free diet needs to be adhered to. You can get the protein from meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy. You need to confer with your health care provider as well as with a nutritionist to understand and follow your diet.
Information, diets and books about a gluten-free diet are a plenty. In 2 weeks of switching to a gluten-free diet, your symptoms will greatly ameliorate. Be sure you discuss with your physician for a diagnosis before commencing any diet.