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I have a malabsorption problem, what can I do to fix it?

  1. Apr 23, 2007 #1
    I posted this on another board as I need serious help and am not sure what to do or where to start off, so I hope you can help.

    Here's my issue,

    I have a good reason to believe that I have a malabsorption issue (I am not absorbing my nutrients and intake). One of the reasons is that I recently got a blood test and my triglyceride level is 36. Normal is around 100.

    My dad and mom have a range of 100 as well, but mine is really low. I started reading up and they noted how a tri level that low may mean I have malabsorption issues.

    Also, further notice would be that I am severely underweight. So besides my tri levels, here is the problem that indicates this: I'm 6'1 but only weigh 125 pounds (16.5 BMI). I am severely underweight. But not because I eat little.

    As far as my eating habits go, I eat a LOT and ensure I get everything. 2,000 to 3,000 calories, with lots of protein, carbs, and essential fats, vegetables and fruit. I meet all my requirements and then some, I've tried it all. I've even tried eating in excess of 4,000 calories, with 1.5 grams of protein per lb of body weight. I've tried ensuring I get all my essential fats, vitamins, minerals, and all that.

    I've even tried just eating all this in 3 big meals to slow down my metabolism but I don't believe I have a fast metabolism at all, as I don't usually require much to stay very full!

    One thing I also read is that malabsorption comes from enzyme deficiencies.

    What can I do to regulate my digestive system so that I don't have malabsorption issues? I don't know anyone as rail thin as I am, and eat twice as much as people twice my size. Plus my triglycerides support my theory on malabsorption through either enzyme deficiency or something else.

    I was hoping someone could guide me. Serious responses only, and any advice will be taken and not over looked.

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2007
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  3. Apr 23, 2007 #2

    Evo

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    You need to go to a doctor.

    Didn't a doctor administer the blood test? What did they say about the results?
     
  4. Apr 23, 2007 #3
    They said everything looked pretty good, and that I had a good overall cholesterol. I told my parents and they simply keep saying, "it's your age, it's metabolism, you are in great health, just look at your BP and chol, it's awesome, what are you worried about?" but I have a huge suspicion it's far worse than that.

    How can I convince them that it's serious.

    Also, which particular type of doctor can I go to, I know there are some dealing with just food intake like naturopath's and dietitians, etc.
     
  5. Apr 23, 2007 #4

    JasonRox

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    http://arpa.allenpress.com/arpaonli....1043/0003-9985(2001)125<0404:LTLACO>2.0.CO;2

    Technically, you don't know if your cholestrol is good.

    http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/lcd.html

    Sure you eat a lot of food, but how is your diet? If you depend on vitamin supplements for vitamins, I personally think that's a bad sign. Anyways, do you eat lots of carbohydrates? Do you lots of fruits and vegetables?
     
  6. Apr 23, 2007 #5
    tapeworm :eek:
     
  7. Apr 23, 2007 #6

    JasonRox

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    That was my first thought too.
     
  8. Apr 23, 2007 #7
    Most of my daily intake comes from carbs, but not processed. Either from oatmeal, wheaties, whole wheat bread, multi grain pasta, brown rice. I eat almost no processed foods.

    As for fruits and veggies: apples, bananas, lentils, legumes, and greens are my main daily essentials.

    For protein: it's generally eggs, whey, and milk.

    Essential fats from from omega 3's

    Hopefully that helps.

    In terms of family health, we generally have a problem with high triglycerides, and high BP problems, with heart attacks etc. Even body weight, are heavy set. So it seems to be the opposite for me.
     
  9. Apr 23, 2007 #8

    Moonbear

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    If you're underweight and eating 4000 calories a day, unless you're doing extreme amounts of exercise, you should go back to your doctor ASAP. Malabsorption problems could be one problem, so could a hyperactive thyroid. In either case, these are not things you can just take care of yourself; you will need medical treatment to assist you.
     
  10. Apr 23, 2007 #9
    Are you Canadian by any chance?

    I ask because (I don't know if it's like this in the rest of the world), as much as free health care is great for non-serious illnesses, diagnosis is HORRID here.

    I find it that here, unless you go to the doctor already knowing what you have, telling them what specific tests you want done, you're screwed if you have anything outside the norm.

    Dr's look at you for five minutes, tell you to take antibiotics, and until you're in the emergency room they don't even bother to wonder if it's anything outside a common cold or infection.

    I remember in Israel Dr's would check you up for a pretty long time if anything was "weird." My mom had a health problems and Dr's kept sending her back home, only after long hours of doing her own research did she go to the Drs, literally spelling it out for them "this is what I think I have, these are the tests you have to give to me"... it turns out she was right.


    I also say check for tapeworms, that sounds possible.
     
  11. Apr 24, 2007 #10

    Moonbear

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    I think the important thing is to go back to your primary care provider, and let them know how much you're eating, how much you exercise (if you do) and that you're still as thin as you are. This is the information that will show them that there is a serious concern so you can get a more thorough evaluation. Even a "malabsorption" problem is a non-specific term, and a number of actual problems can be the cause (anything from the suggested tapeworms or other parasites, to enzyme deficiencies, to inflammation of the digestive system, etc.) None of this is anything you can self-diagnose or self-treat.
     
  12. Apr 24, 2007 #11
    the tapeworm thing was meant as a joke :biggrin:
     
  13. Apr 24, 2007 #12
    lol it does happen though! ... not a lot in north america maybe
     
  14. Apr 24, 2007 #13

    chemisttree

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    I would think that a high calorie diet coupled with malabsorption (and/or parasites) would manifest some severe gastrointestinal distress. (gas, bloating, greasy stool, diarrhea, etc...) If you are having these problems, you need to share them with your doctor. If you aren't, you probably have a high metabolism. Lucky! The cure involves waiting for about ten years.


    Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.... you'll be 40 someday!
     
  15. Apr 26, 2007 #14

    adrenaline

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    Ask Your Docotor For Screening Test For Celiac Disease, Called Tissuetransglutaminase Antibody, About 1 In 250 People Have This And Can Cause Some Of Your Symptoms, IF YOU HAVE IT IT IS JUST A MATTER OF AVOIDING GLUTEN.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2007
  16. Apr 27, 2007 #15

    Mk

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    Really? Maybe I should count my calories and get a blood test too; 4000 Cal/day, no exercise, and underweight sounds like me.
     
  17. Apr 27, 2007 #16

    Moonbear

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    The average person requires about 2000-2500 calories a day to maintain a healthy body weight, assuming they get moderate exercise. This range may not be all-inclusive, for example, a very petite woman may need fewer calories. If you get little to no exercise, you should have lower caloric requirements to maintain weight. If you're doing a lot of exercise (not necessarily just exercise for the sake of exercise, but it could also be exercise in the form of work for a physically demanding job), then your caloric requirements will increase. For example, 3000-4000 calories/day might not be at all unreasonable for someone who bikes to work every day, hits the gym to work out in the afternoon, and then heads to the basketball or raquetball court for a couple games after work. But, if you're mostly sedentary, drive everywhere, sit at a desk all day then sit in front of a computer or TV all night, and are losing weight while eating more than 2000 calories a day, it would be worth a check (you may even find that you feel so sedentary because for some reason your body isn't adequately using the food to provide energy to do things).

    So, basically, if you're eating a little over or a little under that 2000-2500 calorie/day recommendation, and maintaining a healthy weight, there's little reason for concern. But, if you are eating well under that calorie range and still gaining weight, or well over that calorie range and still losing weight, and there's no obvious explanation such as you started out morbidly obese and a high calorie intake is still a reduction for you, or you are getting more than the average amount of exercise, then these are things that are always worth mentioning to your physician. Other things that will help them decide where to start looking for a diagnosis would be if you have frequent diarrhea/loose stools, or frequent constipation, any abdominal discomfort or pain, any signs of blood in the stools, any nausea or vomiting, any sore throats or difficulty swallowing or a cough not associated with any recent illness or postnasal drip, if you've visited places known to have high rates of parasitic diseases (i.e., a vacation to tour a rainforest), contact with other animals that may have parasitic diseases, etc. The presence of any combination of these symptoms, or absence of them, will provide starting places for a physician to choose tests likely to identify the problem.

    There may be other things they'd want to ask too, but those are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head. Adrenaline would be better able than me to provide a more comprehensive list of symptoms used to make a differential diagnosis, or at least to narrow down the suspected problem to identify the most appropriate tests to order.
     
  18. Apr 27, 2007 #17

    Mk

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    Nope! Nothing else wrong or strange except for frequent or chronic ear infections that no body seems to do how to do anything about. I've spent a while in Thailand and think I might have gotten some harmless intestinal little worms.
     
  19. Apr 27, 2007 #18

    Evo

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    Most sites on nutrtion say teenage boys need at least 2,800 calories per day. This is for "normal" boys. If you have a fast metabolism, are in a growth spurt, or are very active, you can need much more. I've heard many teeenage boys on here claiming to eat around 4,000 calories a day.

    I spoke to some of the guys I work with and they eat 3,000 to 4,000 calories a day.

    It never hurts to see a doctor and make sure that you don't have a problem. For me, I have a very slow metabolism and anything over 900 calories a day means weight gain. Due to the small amount of calories I need I have been hospitalized for malnourishment. I have to take supplements. My doctor told me I could eat nothing but lettuce and still gain weight. Lovely. :devil:
     
  20. Apr 28, 2007 #19

    Monique

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    :bugeye: 4000 calories a day? What do you need to eat to reach that!
     
  21. Apr 28, 2007 #20

    Evo

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    Not much actually.

    I tallied up what my youngest daughter ate the other day

    Breakfast at Hardees
    Breakfast burrito 780 calories
    medium hashbrowns 350 calories
    small coke 260 calories

    Lunch
    6 dollar burger 1060 calories
    medium french fries 520 calories
    chocolate shake 700 calories

    Dinner Panera Bread
    smoked turkey breast sandwich 590 calories
    potato soup 230 calories
    orange scone 430 calories
    small coke 260 calories

    That's 5,180 calories and I'm sure she had other drinks during the day.
     
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