Explanatory video: Nutrition therapy
- What happens when the normal intake of food is no longer possible?
Nutrition is a topic which is all around us, day by day. While we often talk about obesity and weight loss diets we actually overlook that the opposite, meaning mal- or undernutrition, can be as detrimental. We talk about malnutrition when our body is not provided with sufficient energy and nutrients over several days. These nutrients, for example protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, are necessary to ensure all essential functions of the body.
When our nutritional status is not optimal our body will get weaker in its reaction towards challenges, such as a disease, a cold or an infection. Improving our nutritional status will therefore support and protect our body.
Every normal form of nutrition is actually enteral. The word, which comes from the Greek “enteron,” or intestines, means, “using the gastrointestinal tract.” Enteral nutrition therapies are designed for patients who cannot nourish themselves sufficiently but still have an adequate digestive function. It is therefore ideal for patients who experience problems chewing or swallowing, loss of appetite, suffer from neurological or gastro-intestinal diseases, or are unconscious. Enteral nutrition is administered via sip feeds or also tube feeds.
If you are not able to eat enough, sip feed nutrition can help to make up for this deficit. Sip feed nutrition can be taken by mouth, swallowed and digested like normal food. It is flavorful, liquid food and contains all nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats and fiber as well as vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
Sip feed nutrition is balanced. It contains all the nutrients required by a person. Therefore, it can be drunk or eaten in addition to normal food but is also suitable as a sole source of nutrition.
Tube feed nutrition can help you to meet your nutritional needs in times when you are not able to eat enough.
Tube feeding is a procedure used for administering liquid nutrition directly into the stomach or small intestine. To do this, a thin tube (probe) is inserted either through the nose (nasal probe) or through the abdomen into the stomach.
Patients who are given Fresenius Kabi infusion solutions receive all the components of balanced nutrition: carbohydrates, amino acids and fats as well as minerals, vitamins and trace elements. The composition of these nutritional solutions can be precisely balanced to feed a patient for any period of time.
Parenteral nutrition is necessary when the stomach or intestine – for instance due to an illness or operation – can no longer perform their tasks. A doctor may also decide that a patient should receive parenteral nutrition prior to an operation or during lengthy examinations when he or she is not allowed to eat. In intravenous nutrition, all key nutrients enter the bloodstream as molecular components. A patient can rely on parenterally given nutrients for a long period of time.
There are a number of liquids with a variety of compositions that can be used for parenteral nutrition therapy either on their own or as a mixture. When deciding on the best nutritional therapy, the general condition of the patient plays an important role, as well as a patient’s age and weight. There are also solutions for patients with kidney or liver disease that contain a special composition of amino acids. Fresenius Kabi offers amino acids and carbohydrates as single components but also as a combination that contains both nutritional elements. Three-chamber bags contain all three important nutrients including fats.
Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy in parenteral nutrition. Often, glucose alone is sufficient. Glucose is a "universal fuel" that can be utilized by all the body’s cells, making it a standard nutrient for parenteral nutrition. Doctors can choose between solutions with different glucose concentrations. Combined solutions also contain other nutritional components besides carbohydrates.
Amino acids are the smallest components of proteins that perform many tasks in the body. Every organ requires proteins for its structure and function. Proteins transport, act as messengers, fight germs or control and create vital metabolic reactions. They are also important building blocks for muscles, hair and finger nails, for example.
All proteins consist of different amino acids. Therefore, amino acids are also indispensable for parenteral nutrition. Fresenius Kabi offers solutions containing amino acids in an ideal composition that the body can use to generate the required proteins.
Fats contain lots of energy and essential fatty acids
Fats contain not only a lot of energy, but also important fatty acids that the body itself cannot produce. These essential fatty acids help build up cell membranes and transmitters that regulate the metabolism.
Patients who are fed parenterally receive the fats as microscopic droplets that are suspended in a liquid known as emulsion. When this emulsion is infused into the blood stream, the tiny droplets disperse in the blood and can be absorbed by the body's cells. Fat emulsions help doctors to provide critically-ill patients with quickly-available energy while offering a reliable source of essential fatty acids.