New Medical Vitamin Remedy for Sufferers with Malabsorption

Encala is a brand new medical vitamin remedy that permits sufferers to suit data their household’s most popular dietary patterns. (Picture supply: iStock)

Usually, a lot of the vitamins we eat are absorbed by way of the partitions of the small intestines. When this course of is impaired, whether or not by an infection, sure illnesses comparable to cystic fibrosis (CF), power pancreatitis, celiac illness, and different GI illnesses, or surgical resection of the pancreas or small bowel, the result’s usually malabsorption of vitamins.

Failure to soak up vitamins, energy (from fats, protein, and carbohydrates) and nutritional vitamins and minerals, results in a bunch of signs together with:

      • weight reduction or gradual progress in youngsters
      • bloating and belly discomfort
      • diarrhea
      • foul-smelling stools that float or persist with the bathroom bowl

Malabsorption additionally results in quite a lot of issues associated to particular dietary deficiencies together with:

      • osteoporosis
      • weakened immune system
      • fat-soluble vitamin (A, E, D, Ok) deficiencies
      • important fatty acid deficiencies

When sufferers usually are not capable of take up adequate energy and vitamins from meals, they wrestle to achieve or keep weight. In youngsters, this can lead to progress faltering the place sufferers are too skinny and don’t attain their genetic potential for top. It may even delay pubertal growth.

Persistent malabsorption in adults results in power malnutrition. It may additionally speed up the development of varied illnesses and contribute to frailty in older sufferers. This weight reduction and GI signs (diarrhea, belly discomfort) additionally lower the standard of life for sufferers and their households.

This text explains how clinicians can incorporate medical vitamin to enhance weight, top, and physique mass index (BMI) in sufferers with cystic fibrosis who, if not handled, will expertise the unwell results of power malabsorption. By serving to sufferers improve dietary fats absorption and ingest a wholesome supply of fats energy, clinicians can information sufferers to satisfy and keep dietary and weight targets.

Malabsorption in cystic fibrosis

CF is a progressive, genetic illness characterised by abnormalities within the transport of chloride and the flux of water throughout cell membranes. This results in the mucous in numerous organs to develop into thick and sticky.

Though many consider CF as a pulmonary illness, it truly impacts many different areas of the physique, together with the pancreas. The pancreas is the supply of digestive enzymes that assist break down meals within the intestines. Malfunction of the pancreas in sufferers with CF results in pancreatic insufficiency (PI).

About 85% of sufferers with CF have PI.1 It’s attributable to a build-up of mucus and fibrosis within the pancreas that halts the manufacturing and launch of digestive enzymes and the wanted bicarbonate fluid. These enzymes are important for the physique to digest and take up meals energy and vitamins, together with dietary fatty acids and fat-soluble nutritional vitamins, which are important for human well being.

Malabsorption: an ongoing problem in cystic fibrosis

Malabsorption is an ongoing problem for sufferers with CF. Low weight, lack of top accretion, and unintentional weight reduction trigger quite a few well being considerations in these people. That is significantly consequential for kids who’re nonetheless rising, these sufferers making ready for a lung transplant, and pregnant girls.

Sufferers who’re capable of obtain the next BMI might have higher outcomes and a slower charge of development of their illness. Actually, a dietary remedy plan that features a larger vitality and fats consumption in comparison with usually wholesome folks of comparable age and intercourse helps higher pulmonary perform and survival in these sufferers.2

It’s vital that clinicians handle the burden standing in adults and weight and top patterns in youngsters as a element of therapy. A more healthy weight helps sufferers extra efficiently handle their CF.3 Due to this fact, it is crucial that clinicians caring for them take into account successfully optimize dietary standing and help the standard of life for sufferers and households.

Present therapy for pancreatic insufficiency  

Remedy of power malabsorption syndromes resulting from PI focuses on serving to sufferers get essentially the most out of the energy they eat.

Present approaches for vitamin care of sufferers with CF and PI embody:

      • lifelong pancreatic enzyme alternative remedy (PERT)
      • elevated meals consumption and calorie-dense/high-fat weight-reduction plan over a lifetime
      • dietary dietary supplements by mouth or feeding tube when indicated

Every of those remedies has its limitations.

  • Pancreatic enzyme alternative remedy

PERT is the inspiration of malabsorption therapy in CF and PI. It includes the usage of oral medicines that comprise enzymes to switch what the pancreas is not capable of produce or launch. The enzymes changed in PERT embody:

      • proteases that may digest protein
      • amylases that digest carbohydrates 
      • lipases to digest fats

Extra full digestion of those important meals parts helps enhance their absorption and prevents the signs of malabsorption.

PERT is vital to malabsorption therapy in CF and PI. It’s efficient in serving to sufferers take up about 85% of the dietary fats discovered of their meals.4

That mentioned, these sufferers are nonetheless not capable of make the most of about 10% to 15% of dietary fats, which leads to a relentless lack of energy, important fatty acids, and fat-soluble nutritional vitamins.

  • Elevated consumption of excessive fats, calorie-dense meals

The elevated meals consumption required to achieve an ample variety of nutrient-rich energy for sufferers with PI is substantial. Clinicians reommend that sufferers with CF eat extra meals. Nonetheless, it’s truly fairly tough to overeat regularly with a view to compensate for malabsorption.

To eat past your urge for food is tougher than chances are you’ll assume. That is significantly true for kids who’re simply studying about starvation and satiety.

Elevated calorie and fats consumption could be achieved by way of the usage of normal dietary dietary supplements comparable to shakes, drinks, and snack bars. These merchandise present extra energy however don’t handle the issue of lowered nutrient absorption.

The opposite consideration with this strategy is that it takes sufferers away from their common consuming routines of having fun with standard meals and household meals. The identical is true when supplementation takes the type of bolus or in a single day tube feeding regimens.

These choices restrict the affected person’s management, flexibility, and pleasure of consuming.

At the moment, about 40% of sufferers with CF throughout the U.S. are using some type of oral supplementation. One other 10% require a gastrostomy for supplemental tube feeding.5

New medical vitamin remedy is now obtainable

A brand new superior vitamin remedy, Encala (from Envara Well being) is a medical meals composed of a structured lipid matrix and energetic substances of lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), monoglycerides, and important fatty acids. It’s a taste-neutral mixable powder that gives extremely absorbable fats energy and important fatty acids. It helps the physique take up fats and fat-soluble nutritional vitamins.

As a plant-based, gluten, and dairy-free supply of fats energy, Encala helps sufferers meet and keep dietary and weight targets. Additional, it permits sufferers to suit into their household’s most popular dietary patterns by mixing Encala into their favourite meals and drinks all through the day. This strategy presents an enchancment for many sufferers over the obtainable standard therapies described above.

What analysis tells us about Encala

A lately revealed, NIH-sponsored examine examined 66 youngsters with CF and chronic fats malabsorption.6 It discovered that Encala was a protected, well-tolerated, and efficient therapy. It improved dietary fats absorption, weight acquire, and fatty acid standing as in comparison with a placebo-treated group in a 3-month double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial (a gold customary for intervention analysis).This report was based mostly on the total scale of examine (110 youngsters, over 12-month therapy). 8

Here’s a abstract of the findings:

  • Encala fats was nicely absorbed within the examine topics. All had CF and PI by which pancreatic-derived lipase (the enzyme wanted to digest fats) and liver-derived bile acids (wanted for fats absorption) are lacking or drastically lowered. Improved fats absorption resulted in higher medical outcomes together with enhancements in


      • weight and top
      • dietary laboratory measures
      • general dietary fats absorption
  • The kids and younger adults, aged 5 to 19 years outdated, have been capable of combine Encala powder with their favourite meals and drinks throughout the day. They and their households embraced the therapy as a result of it allowed flexibility and selection within the weight-reduction plan.
  • Encala therapy could also be thought of earlier than the initiation of tube feeding in sufferers with malnutrition who want intervention. About 10% of the sufferers within the examine already had feeding tubes, a therapy that’s not undertaken calmly. Encala proved profitable and well-accepted when it was included into the tube feeding regime. Absorption was associated to raised medical outcomes together with enhancements in weight, top, BMI, and dietary lab values. With this expertise and revealed outcomes, Encala might now be routinely thought of to assist sufferers with oral supplementation and feeding tubes obtain their weight targets sooner. This may probably help the profitable transition from tube feeding again to common meals, thus lowering the period, burden, and prices of tube feeding remedy in sufferers with CF and PI.

What about different sufferers with malabsorption resulting from pancreatic insufficiency?

Even when you don’t deal with sufferers with CF and PI, this analysis demonstrates how efficient Encala is in addressing the fats malabsorption drawback in some of the clinically difficult populations. Whereas it’s encouraging to see the success of Encala in sufferers with CF, there are potential advantages for different affected person populations with circumstances associated to lowered pancreatic perform, fats malabsorption, and poor dietary standing, together with these with the next circumstances: 

      • power pancreatitis and celiac illness, frequent non-CF illnesses with a excessive threat for fats malabsorption
      • surgical pancreas elimination for most cancers and non-cancer circumstances
      • uncommon circumstances together with Shwachman-Diamond, Johanson-Blizzard, Pearson marrow-pancreas syndromes
      • different GI-related circumstances with irritation or power an infection

As well as, Encala is calorically dense and nicely absorbed. It might be thought of for the dietary help of sufferers with the next circumstances:

      • insufficient meals/calorie consumption together with the frail aged who typically don’t really feel like consuming sufficient meals
      • unintentional, disease-related weight reduction, together with these in therapy for
          • coronary heart failure
          • renal failure
          • most cancers

This new calorie-dense therapy is one thing that may be provided to maximise the advantages of the meals our sufferers are ingesting.

The underside line on medical vitamin remedy for malabsorption

Encala is a brand new medical vitamin remedy that serves each as a supply of wholesome, high-calorie fats in addition to a facilitator of absorption of meals and snacks which are consumed with the product. The usage of the intervention is straightforward, efficient, and minimally disruptive to typical, most popular dietary patterns.

Encala can probably have a constructive, broad affect on the therapy of a spread of circumstances. It is very important keep knowledgeable about what is accessible so your sufferers with poor progress or unintentional weight reduction can thrive once more.


    1. Singh, VK, and Schwarzenberg, SJ. 2017. Pancreatic Insufficiency in Cystic Fibrosis. Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, Vol. 6, Suppl. 2, Nov., accessed by way of
    2. Physicians Committee for Accountable Medication’s Information to Clinicians. Accessed by way of
    3. Cystic Fibrosis Basis. Wholesome Excessive-Calorie Consuming. Accessed by way of by day-Life/Health-and-Vitamin/Vitamin/Getting-Your-Vitamins/Wholesome-Excessive-Calorie-Consuming/
    4. Calvo-Lerma, J, Martínez-Barona, S, et al. 2017. Revista Española de Enfermedades Digestivas, versión impresa ISSN 1130-0108, Vol.109, No.10, Madrid, Oct., accessed by way of
    5. Cystic Fibrosis Basis. 2019 Affected person Registry Annual Knowledge Report. Accessed by way of person-Registry/2019-Affected person-Registry-Annual-Knowledge-Report.pdf
    6. Stallings, VA, Tindall, AM, et al. 2020. Improved residual fats malabsorption and progress in youngsters with cystic fibrosis handled with a novel oral structured lipid complement: A randomized managed trial. PLOS ONE 15(9): e0239642. Accessed by way of
    7. Misra, S. 2012. Randomized double-blind placebo management research, the “Gold Customary” in intervention-based research. Indian J Intercourse Transm Dis AIDS. Jul-Dec; 33(2): 131–134, accessed by way of
    8. Stallings VA, Schall JI, et al. Impact of Oral Lipid Matrix Complement on Fats Absorption in Cystic Fibrosis: A Randomized Placebo-Managed Trial. J Pediatric Gastroenterology and Vitamin. 2016; 63: 676-680.

    Monetary disclosure: Dr. Stallings is the founder and a medical guide to Envara Well being, the corporate that makes Encala. She was the principal investigator on the NIH cystic fibrosis analysis examine described within the article. 

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