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  1. Malabsorption is defined as an inability to absorb nutrients from foods. Nutrients typically reach the blood stream via the mucosal membrane of the small intestine.
    Symptoms such as gas and bloating, fatty stools (steatorrhea), as well as diarrhea and cramping, are caused by both a decrease in nutrients in the blood stream, as well as the increase passage of all that is unabsorbed through the digestive tract.

    Some report unusually foul smelling stool that is lighter in colour and ‘sticky’, meaning it will stick to the side of the bowl, difficult to flush. Stool may or may not also contain undigested food. Individuals who suffer from malabsorption, know it can be extremely uncomfortable and due to explosive and or urgent diarrhea, how greatly it can impact all aspects of an individual’s life.

    Malabsorption disorders can be caused by a number of problems, and is not a diagnosis in and of itself, but rather a symptom of an underlying gastrointestinal pathology. Disorders preventing adequate mixing of food with digestive enzymes are one example. Diseases of the pancreas, as in cystic fibrosis or chronic pancreatitis, can cause a significant decrease in enzymes such as lipase, protease and amylase, essential for the break down of fats, protein and carbohydrates/sugars. High levels of (HCL) acid in the stomach, decreased bile production via the liver (as in biliary obstruction or chronic liver failure), as well as unbalanced gut flora, can all impact how food is broken down and nutrients are absorbed. As can lactase deficiency, in which an individual produces insufficient lactase enzyme to break down lactose (a sugar) found in many dairy products.

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