The basic premise of an elemental diet is providing nutrition in an easily absorbable form, including all macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Because these macronutrients are broken down into their end components, further breakdown is not necessary for digestion, allowing the gut to rest. When evaluating if a hypoallergenic elemental diet free of common allergens would be an appropriate choice, questions can arise for both practitioners and patients alike. A full elemental diet is the evidence-based protocol intended to provide dietary management under medical supervision for adult patients with moderate to severe gastrointestinal dysfunction. It is popular among practitioners to recommend a full elemental diet from anywhere between 3 to 5 days up to 4 weeks for acute support or extended gut rest, respectively. This is often used for patients who are unable to, or unwilling to, tolerate a full elemental diet. Half-elemental diets can be used to initiate a full elemental diet or to transition out of a full elemental diet. A half elemental diet can also be supportive for those who have a small list of tolerated foods and need secondary nutrition sources. When doing either a full or half elemental diet, daily caloric needs should be calculated prior to starting. Once calculated, a total number of daily servings should be targeted. Insufficient calories during an all-liquid diet yields insufficient nutritional support for the patient.
Should reduce gas levels within 2 weeks, which can help reduce or eliminate the need to use prescription or herbal antibiotics. Some people consume a prokinetic with the elemental diet to help stimulate bowel movements, but it is not required. We can revisit if constipation is an issue. All other non-prescription medications and supplements should be put on hold during the elemental diet. Alternatively, create your own systematic path for food reintroductions, starting with easily digestible low-FODMAP foods that were well tolerated previously, while weaning off of the elemental diet. The Integrative Therapeutics elemental diet was not designed to meet the nutrient needs of growing children, so on the label, it officially says it is not made for use with children. It is also likely safe to just use for a few days for a period of bowel rest without any danger of malnutrition.
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