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Oral nutritional supplements in cancer treatment - Sip feeds

Oral nutritional supplements in cancer treatment - Sip feeds

Since your appetite and eating habits may be drastically altered while in treatment, your current energy and nutrients intake may not be enough. That’s where oral nutritional supplements come into play.

Oral nutritional supplements 

Oral nutritional supplements is just one form of nutrition which can be considered for cancer patients if they are not able to get enough calories during treatment. Their adapted nutritional composition may add to your dietary needs and can be used as supplemental food in case of malnutrition. There are milk- or fruit-based oral nutritional supplements and some products may even replace entire meals if eating is difficult. Be sure to consult your doctor or dietician for the right amount of supplements in your daily diet – oral nutritional supplements work best if they are part of holistic nutritional counseling. 

Forms of nutrition therapy

  • Enriching your food
Some patients can satisfy their nutritional needs with normal or enriched foods. Some need special diets or additional nutritional advice. Can you basically eat anything you want, you just need more calories? Eat healthy nuts, healthy fats like plant oils, that extra pat of butter or that dollop of cream.
  • Nutritional supplements

If enriching your meals is no longer sufficient, oral nutritional supplements (in form of liquids, semi-solids or powders) are a good option to meet your nutritional needs for macro- and micronutrients. These supplements often contain all the nutrients your body needs. Continue to eat normally while including supplements. Whether taken on their own or stirred into food and drink, they give you power for your day.

  • Enteral nutrition

You may experience pain while chewing, sores in your mouth or throat, constrictions in your esophagus, or pain while swallowing due to the side effects of the disease or treatment. If you are a patient with head and neck cancer, you may be in the typical patient group that receives nutrition via a feeding tube, known as enteral nutrition. This involves using a thin tube to administer a ready-made liquid nutrient mixture directly into your stomach or intestine.

For some patients, enteral nutrition is their only source of nutrition, but for others it may only be used as a supplement to ensure basic care. You can still eat and drink the things you like, even when using enteral nutrition as a supplement. Remember, enteral nutrition is often only a temporary solution and you may be able to return to your regular diet when the side effects are no longer a constraint.

  • Parenteral nutrition
There are situations where the body cannot be adequately supplied through the stomach or intestine, like when there’s an intestinal obstruction. With parenteral nutrition, the digestive tract is bypassed altogether and the nutrients are fed directly into a vein (intravenously). Parenteral nutrition is a drug therapy and has to be prescribed by a doctor if indicated.
Article repurposed from Supplier: B
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