Nutritional advice for prevention of acute pancreatitis: review of current opinion
Mark E Lowe, Wednesday A Sevilla
Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Abstract: Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that can be acute and self-limiting or, in a small percentage of patients, recurrent. Patients with recurrent episodes of acute pancreatitis (RAP) often progress to chronic pancreatitis. Pancreatitis in all forms causes significant economic and social burdens. Prevention of RAP may decrease those burdens and halt progression to chronic disease. Unfortunately, no therapy has proven effective at altering the course of RAP. While enteral nutritional therapy plays an important role in the treatment of acute pancreatitis during episodes, nutritional advice provided to patients in an attempt to prevent recurrent episodes has not proven effective in most cases. Discontinuing alcohol consumption and treating dyslipidemia with diet and medication can help patients with these issues. In patients whose pancreatitis is associated with celiac disease or eosinophilic gastroenteritis, a gluten-free diet and avoidance of food allergens can be effective in stopping RAP. Advice to take pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, lose weight, control diabetes, decrease dietary sucrose, decrease dietary fat or avoid monosodium glutamate has little to no evidence of efficacy. Some studies suggest that an antioxidant cocktail may decrease the frequency of RAP and the intensity of chronic pain, but the evidence is weak. Nutritional therapy may have a role in the treatment of patients with RAP. At present, there are no clear guidelines for nutritional advice to give these patients. More studies are needed to identify nutritional interventions that will benefit patients with RAP.
Keywords: pancreatitis, nutrition, pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, antioxidants, herbal supplements
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