Tired All the Time? Chances are…
Malabsorption – the inefficient take-up of nutrients in the digestive tract – can be the root cause of chronic lethargy and lack of energy even if you follow an otherwise healthy and balanced diet. Which few of us can boast about in the first place. Unhealthy eating habits coupled with malabsorption not only double but quadruple the trouble.
Energy deficit is the first sign that needs to be taken seriously, as it can lead to more aggravated systemic malfunction.
Malabsorption is an umbrella term including, but not limited to, maldigestion or ingidestion.
Lactose intolerance is one of the most frequent gastrointestinal disorders. It simply means that the duodenum is incapable of producing lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, the naturally occurring sugar in milk and some dairy products. The undigested sugar cannot be absorbed through the wall of the small intestine but passes straight into the colon, where all the trouble starts. On the one hand, sugar increases osmotic pressure, i.e. drawing water into the bowels, causing diarrhoea. On the other hand, bacteria are feasting on carbohydrate, propagating out of proportion. While metabolising lactose, bacteria are producing a copious amount of gas – a malodorous medley of hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane.
More severe cases of malabsorption could lead to debilitating conditions, such as protein and adipose deficiency. Some of the alarming symptoms in children are arrested development, growth failure and learning difficulties, while the prolonged disorder in adults might manifest itself in weight loss, oedema, and a range of chronic diseases and complications.
Good to Know
– Malabsorption might be the result of enzyme deficiency, as a result of hereditary metabolic failure, or the systemic malfunction of enzyme producing organs – such as the salivary glands, the stomach, the pancreas, the gallbladder and the intestinal mucous membrane.
– Cells of the intestinal wall can be hampered by antibiotics treatment, viral or parasitic infection, certain toxins, radioactive damage, Chron disease or food allergy.
– The two most common digestive disorders are lactose and gluten intolerance.
– The give-away symptoms of malabsorption syndrome – insufficient digestion and absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract – are the following: weight loss, diarrhoea, bloating, abdominal cramps, light and soft stool, weakness, anaemia, bone ache, cramped muscles, skin deformities, hair loss, irregular menstruation, decreased sex drive, etc.
“Regular discomfort and bloating are telltale signs not to be shunned,” warns Dr. András Kecskés, general internist at Dr. Rose Private Hospital. “Dispensary solutions from the medicine chest – laxatives, gas relief remedies, antacid tablets and even the trusty old herbal teas and sporadic diets – may provide only temporary solutions if the root cause of the problem is malabsorption. A specialist needs comprehensive lab tests to narrow down the diagnosis and find out which nutrients are to be supplemented and in what form. You try to beat fatigue or other symptoms with a handful of vitamins and supplements but chances are that they fail to absorb. Even worse, the fat-soluble vitamins that your body cannot take up are building up instead and become outright harmful substances.”
Book a consultation with our general internist and gastroenterology specialist online or call +36 1 377 67 37.