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Enteral nutrition


About Enteral Nutrition

Enteral nutrition or elemental diet is a complete Liquid Diet, that meets all of a patient's nutritional needs. This means that the patient does not need to eat any solid food. The diet is 'predigested' meaning that it can be absorbed early in the small intestine, allowing the remaining bowel to rest. Some preparations (Modulen IBDare specifically marketed for IBD patients and also contain anti inflammatory ingredients. Studies have shown that Enteral Nutrition is less effective than Prednisone at inducing Remission in patients with Crohn's Disease, [1] but Enteral Nutrition has far less side effects than Steroid-based treatments (i.e. Prednisone).


The general benefits of Enteral Nutrition include:
  • Ability to allow the digestive symptom to rest and heal as digestion can be performed with minimal effort vs. the consumption of solid food.
  • Remission can be attained without the side effects of other medicine.
  • Improvement in symptoms can begin to occur quickly once this treatment option is started.
  • Weight can be maintained or regained in individuals who are having great difficulty consuming solid food.
  • Easier to control the exact intake of nutrients and calories compared to eating solid food

Enteral Nutrition Forum

We have a forum dedicated to enteral nutrition here. It is full of additional information.

Treatment options

Liquid Diet (Oral Consumption)

A liquid diet is considered a form of Enteral Nutrition as it results in the delivering of nutrients in the form of a liquid directly to the stomach. Even though the liquids are consumed in a way similar to any other food, the fact that the digestive system has to exert little to no energy to breakdown the liquid into
an absorbable form of nutrients groups this treatment option with other Enteral nutrition methods.

Various liquids can be consumed as part of a liquid diet (see Liquid Diets wiki article for more information).

Compared to other Enteral Nutrition options, this is easier to initiate for an IBD sufferer as it does not require the use of a feeding tube or other tools. There is also a greater variety of liquids and flavours that can be ingested.

A disadvantage to this example is that it may be harder to calculate your actual calorie and nutrient intake. For example, someone who consumes only fruit and vegetable juice might have trouble determining if they are meeting their entire needs, or it might be very time consuming (or difficult) to juice and ingest all the juice needed to meet your nutritional and caloric needs. You may also require a lot of preparation time to maintain this diet, especially if you are juicing fresh fruits and vegetables or making your own soups.

Another disadvantage is that many nutritional shakes taken as part of a liquid diet contain unhealthy items including high-fructose corn syrup and chemicals. Large consumption of these items may negatively impact your health.

Nasogastric Feeding Tube

A feeding tube is a way to provide a patient nutrients while bypassing parts of the digestive system. This is usually connected to a mixture of amino acids containing the complete caloric and nutritional requirements of the patient.

A nasogastric (NG) feeding tube is a tube that connects through a patients nose through their throat/esophagus directly into their stomach.

Benefits of this form of Enteral Nutrition include that there is no involvement of the mouth and throat in the digestion process. Additionally, a patient can be trained to connect the NG tube themselves, so that they can receive this treatment in the privacy of their own home. They can disconnect the tube for portions of the day so that they can go out in public normally.

Jejunostomy Feeding Tube

This type of feeding tube is connected directly to the jejunum portion of the stomach. This is acheived through surgically inserting the tube through the patient's abdomen.

The benefit of this form of Enteral Nutrition is that avoids more of the digestive tract (including the beginning of the stomach), which can allow more of the body to rest instead of being involved in the digestion process.


1. Zachos M, Tondeur M, Griffiths AM. Enteral nutritional therapy for induction of remission in Crohn's disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD000542. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000542.pub2.

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