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Infectious Diseases

Effect of infection on nutrient requirements.

Scrimshaw NS
Am J Clin Nutr 1977 Sep;30(9):1536-44

Nearly all expert groups on nutrient requirements have suggested that the nutritional effects of infection need to be taken into account, but specific instructions on how to do this have not been formulated. There is great uncertainty as to how individual requirements are affected or how disease prevalence might alter nutrient requirements for large populations. The traditional principles for establishing dietary allowances must be reevaluated in the presence of acute or chronic infections because of anorexia, withdrawal of solid food, fever, adverse effects of treatment, impaired intestinal absorption, and increased nutrient losses via urine, skin, feces, or through internal sequestration. The effects of an infection on protein and energy needs constitute major problems as do the changes in iron metabolism and those of other essential nutrients. Despite these complexities the increased needs for protein, calories, and iron can be estimated for purposes of nutrition education, dietary evaluation, or nutritional rehabilitation.

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