Nutritional Absorption: 3 Stages
It follows three stages.
Luminal phase: This stage includes the secretion of digestive enzymes and mechanical mixing.
Mucosal phase: This involves absorption of food consumed, which depends on whether the mucosal membrane is in a functioning condition.
Post-absorptive phase: This stage is initiated by interrupted blood supply and lymphatic system.
The efficacy of the digestive system is determined by the efficiency of each of these above stages. Dysfunction in digestion or absorption in any of these stages causes malabsorption. The type of malabsorption also depends on the nutrients that are not being digested or absorbed effectively.
Types of Malabsorption
The types of malabsorption that may lead to a malabsorption syndrome are as below:
Fat malabsorption. This develops due to interruptions in efficient digestion and absorption of fats as the name suggests. It is one of the most common causes of intestinal malabsorption.
Carbohydrate malabsorption. Lack of efficient digestion and absorption of carbohydrates like lactose, sucrose, and starch leads to MAS. In the normal process, carbohydrates are converted into monosaccharides. When this does not occur, malabsorption takes place.
Protein malabsorption. Interruption in the absorption and digestion of proteins by amino acids, pancreatic enzymes, and other elements is another factor that triggers intestinal malabsorption.
Vitamin and mineral malabsorption. Incomplete digestion and absorption of vitamins, minerals, and other elements cause nutritional malabsorption.
Hereditary malabsorption disorders. Allergies and food intolerance towards lactose, chloride, etc. is another prominent cause of malabsorption syndrome.
Immunodeficiency-related malabsorption. Malabsorption that cannot be categoriszd under any of the other factors generally get manifested through diarrhea and other symptoms. These symptoms include general malnutrition, loss of weight amongst others.
Bacterial malabsorption. In this case, incomplete digestion and absorption of food consumed is induced by certain bacteria like Cryptosporidium parvum (cryptosporidiosis), Giardia lamblia (giardiasis), Phylum Microspora (microsporidiosis), and Tropheryma whipplei.
Medical Definition of Malabsorption Syndrome
Intestinal malabsorption is induced by pathological interference in the normal process of secretion of digestive enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract. This is characterised by incomplete digestion and absorption of food consumed. Apart from the intestines or gut, other organs involved in the dysfunction are the pancreas and gallbladder. It also occurs due to compromised blood supply and lack of beneficial bacterial flora.
Symptoms of Malabsorption Syndrome
Intestinal malabsorption manifests through symptoms like:
- Slow growth and development amongst infants and children
- Chronic diarrhea
- Sticky stools or Steatorrhoea
- Slow healing of injury or wound, if any
However, the symptoms will not be the same for every patient. It varies between individuals.