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Thousands of children in the United States are affected with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a condition that affects the growth pattern of sufferers, as well as causing a deterioration of the lungs. Once considered to be an incurable disease, due to the fact that many patients do not live past the age of 21, CF, a progressive condition, is the most common inherited condition known to man, and one that is potential lethal.

CF occurs in approximately 1 out of every 2,000 births, but today, many CF patients are living well into their thirties, and in some cases, even longer. In fact, there are even adult female CF patients who are able to have children, but of course, because of their condition, there is always the risk of complications.

In addition to developmental and lung problems, CF affects the sweat glands. CF patients do not sweat as average people do, and sodium and chloride, which is normally sweated away, just lays on top of the skin, leading to an electrolyte imbalance. This can ultimately lead to other conditions, including heart arrhythmias. CF patients should season their foods with salt in order to ensure that they are getting the amount of sodium they need.

The Need For Good Nutrition For CF Patients

It’s no secret that everyone needs a healthy, well-balanced diet in order to remain healthy, but for CF patients, the need increases drastically. Children with CF often need double, or more, calories in the run of a day than the average child. A teenager with CF may require 5,000 calories per day, whereas an average teenager requires a maximum of 2,500. Also, CF patients require at least two quarts of water each day, in order to avoid dehydration, which is common with this condition.

The reason CF patients require more in their diets is because of their inability to process food to get the nutrients the body needs. In a way, CF patients are lucky, because, unlike their peers, who, especially in the formative teen years, are weight conscious, CF patients are often encouraged to eat foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates. One rule does stay the same: fried foods are unhealthy! Not only do they cause weight gain and acne, in order for the body to digest fried foods, the liver must produce extra bile, which is not healthy for CF patients.

CF Patients Digest Food Differently

In most people, the digestion process involves food going through the digestive tract, with the help of slippery mucus. As the food breaks down, the nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls, and into the bloodstream. Then, the heart circulates the nutrients, and sends them where they are needed throughout the body. The process is different in CF patients. The mucus is not slippery, but gummy, making the digestive process difficult, because the food does not slide easily through the digestive tract. For this reason, the nutrients are not processed as easily by the body, therefore the need for extra calories, and dietary supplements.

Proper Medical Care Is Essential For CF Patients

Obviously, children and teens suffering from CF need to visit their physicians regularly, even frequently, so they can have their nutrient levels tested. Often, the amount of supplements the patient is taking needs to be adjusted to go along with the nutrient levels in the body, because the body absorbs nutrients at different paces on different days. In order to make sure that they stay as healthy as possible, frequent testing is recommended.

Why Should I Use Protein Supplements In My Diet?

Protein is a macronutrient that the body needs in order for survival, so it only makes sense that if we aren’t getting enough protein from dietary sources, we should use supplements to ensure that we are getting the proper nutrients for a strong, healthy body.

When it comes to treating children with CF, there is even more of a need to make sure that they are getting the proper nutrients, including protein. Of course, there will be other courses of treatment, including physical therapy, in order to loosen mucus in the lungs caused from CF. Another course of treatment is antibiotics, and some patients are given enzymatic supplements daily in order to help them to be able to digest food more easily. Unfortunately, children with CF are most often subjected to an extreme regimen of pills daily.

Children with CF can benefit from having protein supplements added to their diets, for a number of reasons. Protein supplements are a great way for patients to get the protein and other nutrients they need, in an easy-to-digest form. There are a wide variety of protein supplements, from powders to liquids, to capsules, that can be used to create delicious, healthy meals that even the fussiest child will love. And, protein drinks will also provide CF patients with much-needed liquids.

All About Protein Powders

Protein powders are an extremely popular form of dietary supplement, and one of the most versatile. The four main types of protein powders are whey, egg, soy, and rice, some even being prepared in combinations.

Whey Protein: This is a derivative of milk, and a bi-product from the cheese-making process. One of the most common and most popular protein supplements, whey contains all 22 of the essential and non-essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Because it boosts the immune system, whey is an ideal supplement for CF patients, except those who have problems digesting milk and milk products.

Soy Protein: This is another complete protein, and one of the most digestible. It is a vegetable protein, making it ideal for vegetarians. Soy can cause digestive troubles, and if this happens, patients may want to try a different type of protein supplement.

Egg Protein: This is the ideal protein source, and comes from egg whites. Egg protein should not be used by patients who have allergies to eggs or poultry.

Rice Protein: This protein comes from brown rice, and is a hypoallergenic protein. Because it is from rice, this protein is another excellent supplement for vegetarians.

Protica Research (Protica, Inc.) specializes in the development of Capsulized Foods. Protica manufactures Profect, IsoMetric, Pediagro, Fruitasia and over 100 other brands, including Medicare-approved, whey protein supplements for cancer patients. You can learn more at Protica Research