Areas of expertise / Gastrointestinal disorders

Gastrointestinal disorders

What are we talking about?

Gastrointestinal disorders encompass a wide range of conditions affecting the digestive tract.  These include malabsorption, a state characterized by the gastrointestinal tract’s inability to adequately absorb essential nutrients from ingested food, often leading to digestive complications and potential malnutrition.

Patients with gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease, chronic pancreatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as those with severe illnesses, often experience varying degrees of malabsorption and are at risk of malnutrition (1,2).

Prevalence and consequences

Gastrointestinal disorders are highly prevalent worldwide. According to recent data, more than 40% of the world’s population suffers from gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia. These conditions affect individuals of all ages, demographic groups, and genders, with a higher prevalence observed in women than in men (2).

These disorders not only cause physical discomfort but also lead to significant economic burden and reduced quality of life for affected individuals. Furthermore, they are associated with an increased risk of malnutrition, gastrointestinal bleeding, intestinal obstruction, and even certain types of cancer if left untreated or poorly managed (1,2).

The role of oral nutritional supplements

Proper nutritional support is crucial for managing malabsorption. Oral peptide formulas are recommended for patients with malabsorptive syndromes or gastrointestinal dysfunction, especially during acute phases of severe illness or for those intolerants to standard formulas. These specialized formulas aid in digestion and nutrient absorption, enhancing tolerance to enteral nutrition or supplements and reducing the risk of complications such as diarrhea, which can significantly impact treatment outcomes(2).

Frequent questions

1. What factors contribute to malabsorption?

Malabsorption can occur for two main reasons. Firstly, certain disorders lead to inadequate production of digestive enzymes or bile required for food breakdown. Secondly, absorption problems may result from conditions damaging the small intestine’s mucosa, surgical removal of intestinal sections, or disorders impacting the circulation of lymphatic fluid from the intestine to the bloodstream (1,2).

2. What are the typical symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders?

Typical symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders include abdominal pain, bloating, changes in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or both), heartburn, nausea, and vomiting (1,2).

3. Why are oral peptide formulas recommended for patients with gastrointestinal disorders?

Oral peptide formulas are specially designed to facilitate digestion and absorption of nutrients. Peptides are smaller molecules compared to larger proteins, making them potentially easer to absorb through gastrointestinal tract. Peptides can provide essential amino acids and nutrients necessary for maintaining health and supporting healing processes. In addition, compared to whole proteins or complex food molecules, peptides may be less likely to irritate the gastrointestinal lining. In patients with gastrointestinal disorders, ensuring adequate nutritional intake is crucial for managing symptoms and promoting recovery, and reducing irritation can be beneficial for patients with sensitive or inflamed gastrointestinal tracts, helping to minimize symptoms such as pain, inflammation, or exacerbation of existing conditions (2).


  1. Sperber AD. Worldwide Prevalence and Burden of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Gastroenterology. 2021.
  2. Zubair Malik, MD, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. Manual MSD. 2023.

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