Elemental diet – sources, health benefits at NaturalPedia.com

Friday, December 15, 2017 by

The elemental diet is defined as “a diet that consists of a well-balanced, residue-free mixture of all essential and nonessential amino acids combined with simple sugars, electrolytes, trace elements, and vitamins.”

The elemental diet is often suggested to patients with Crohn’s disease, but patients with other forms of irritable bowel disease or leaky gut can also try this diet. Individuals with diverticulitis, AIDS and severe cases of cancer can also benefit from it. Elemental diets are also used for pre- and post-surgery patients who are not able to eat solid foods yet or who are malnourished.

In an elemental diet, the contents of the liquid provide all the necessary nutrients in a form that is easily absorbed into the body. It is a liquid diet that patients drink, and it can also be administered via a gastric feeding tube.

Benefits of an elemental diet 

The elemental diet has been shown to reduce the production of bacterial metabolites within two weeks, and it can greatly reduce bacterial coating with immunoglobulin.

Overall, the results of enteral feeding, or delivering nourishment via a tube directly into the gastrointestinal tract (GI), are positive. At least 80 to 100 percent of compliant patients go into remission within two to three weeks.

It is also possible that an elemental diet is beneficial because it requires an individual to avoid lectins and other proteins. A vast majority of gut and autoimmune issues starts with lectins, which can cause a range of food sensitivities and eventually full blown autoimmune disease. Avoiding lectins and other inflammatory proteins, as well as starving bad bacteria, can be one of this diet’s benefits.

Food items typically found in an elemental diet

An elemental diet consists of completely pre-digested nutrients that include a combination of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Individuals can also add essential fatty acids such as flax oil or coconut oil to an elemental diet to get the best results. This diet often includes foods that are rich in:

  • Protein – Must be free-form amino acids or di-peptide bond proteins only. Some examples of allowable proteins include egg albumin, whey isolate (but not concentrate) powder, rice protein powder and pea protein powder.
  • Carbohydrates – The carbohydrates that you consume must only be in monosaccharide form. This means no carbohydrates aside from glucose, dextrose, fructose, xylitol, maltitol and other monosaccharide sugars.
  • Fats – Must only include cold-pressed beneficial oils such as flax, Udo’s, coconut oil, fish oil, etc.
  • Vitamins and minerals – Multivitamins/minerals that contain no fiber, food or anything other than synthetic nutrients.
  • Salt – Sodium is an essential electrolyte. The Adequate Intake (AI) for salt is 1500 milligrams (mg) daily.

These are the ingredients that you must avoid in an elemental diet:

  • Fiber, gums, thickeners, food items or prebiotics.
  • Forms of protein and sugar not listed above.
  • Standard cleansing formulas such as Mediclear, Clearvite or Ultraclear are not elemental formulas.

Body systems supported by an elemental diet

Like most diets, an elemental diet has both pros and cons for various body systems:

Pros

  • Gives the GI tract an opportunity to heal
  • Provides patients with most essential nutrients
  • The diet is a short-term one

Cons

  • Feeding tubes or IV drips can cause health complications
  • The diet can negatively affect an individual’s quality of life
  • It requires medical supervision
  • Weight loss and muscle deterioration can occur
  • It isn’t a complete source of protein

Where to learn more:

Summary

The elemental diet consists of a well-balanced, residue-free mixture of all essential and nonessential amino acids combined with simple sugars, electrolytes, trace elements, and vitamins.

The elemental diet is a liquid diet that patients drink, and it can also be administered via a gastric feeding tube.

The elemental diet is often suggested to patients with Crohn’s disease, other forms of irritable bowel disease or leaky gut, diverticulitis, AIDS and severe cases of cancer.

 

Sources include:

Medical-Dictionary.TheFreeDictionary.com

DietSpotlight.com

NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov

SelfHacked.com

ListenToYourGut.com

SiboInfo.com

DietsInReview.com



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