The complexities of approaching nutrition in inflammatory bowel disease: current recommendations and future directions

Nutr Rev. 2021 Jun 15;nuab015. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuab015. Online ahead of print.

Lindsey A Russell 1, Maria Teresa Balart 1, Pablo Serrano 1, David Armstrong 1, Maria Ines Pinto-Sanchez 1


Author information


  • 1L.A. Russell, M.T. Balart, D. Armstrong, and M.I. Pinto-Sanchez are with Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; L.A. Russell, M.T. Balart, P. Serrano, D. Armstrong, and M.I. Pinto-Sanchez are with McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis predispose patients to malnutrition due to a combination of increased basal metabolic rate, decreased oral intake, and increased nutritional losses and malabsorption. Malnutrition is common, affecting up to 75% of patients with Crohn's disease and 62% of patients with ulcerative colitis, and is associated with worse disease prognosis, higher complication rates, decreased quality of life, and increased mortality risk. It is imperative to screen patients with IBD for malnutrition to assess those at increased risk and treat accordingly to prevent progression and complications. This literature review provides an overall approach to optimizing nutrition in IBD, focusing on the assessment for the diagnosis of malnutrition, management of macro- and micronutrient deficiencies, and identification of areas for future study.



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