Sunday, May 20, 2007

How Vitamins Help

People with CF tend to be underweight and malnourished despite ravenous appetites. Furthermore, the mucus causes many gastro-intestinal problems, including malabsorption. Vitamin supplements are often prescribed in order to make up for everything the body is not getting from digested foods. Fat is exceptionally difficult to digest. Vitamins A, D, E and K, all of which are fat soluble, are the most common supplements taken by CF patients. In general, these help the body fight off inevitable infections.

-Retinol (vitamin A) promotes good vision, including night vision. It is an antioxidant, which means it wards off anything that would attempt to consume oxygen in the blood. It also helps prevent osteoporosis.

-Vitamin D is especially important for a person with CF when it comes to maintaining bone density. In the absence of vitamin D, osteoporosis may occur. Without a strong skeletal structure, good posture is compromised making airway clearance more difficult. This in turn leads to increased frequency of lung infections.

-Vitamin E, an antioxidant, is integral in the formation of red blood cells. Blood that is well oxygenated helps maintain good pulmonary function.

-Vitamin K, also known as mephyton, helps maintain bone density as well as promote blood coagulation. Although this vitamin is synthesized naturally in the intestines, the amount is not enough. Like vitamin D, mephyton is useful in preventing osteoporosis.

Each of these vitamins work together, which is why the body requires specific amounts of each. People with cystic fibrosis should have the doctor frequently monitor their vitamin levels to ensure proper nutritional status.

Related Resources:

Personal thoughts on Nutrition

Glyconutrients? None For Me, Thanks

Special Programs from SourceCF: Why Pay for Vitamins if You Don't Have To?

Products and Services from Axcan (the makers of ADEKs)

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