Clinical nutrition is a field of medicine and science, which involves the analysis of the relationship between health of the person and the food that is consumed. Clinical nutrition also studies the processes undertaken by the body to use the nutrients from foods as well as the processes that are used to store and eliminate these nutrients from the body.
Clinical nutrition was first described in 1900s when doctors found that some diseases are based on the lack or absence of certain nutrients. One of the most important finding during this year was the mechanism of beri-beri. A Polish biochemist has found that eating brown rice has improved the condition of patients with beri-beri. Because of this, the chemist again studied what is included in brown rice why it helped manage the case of patients with the condition and here he found that brown rice contains high amounts of thiamine or vitamin B1. Due to this finding, physicians have concluded that other diseases may be prevented or treated using certain nutrients as well.
These have been the foundation of clinical nutrition—to maximize use of food to improve the well-being and health of individuals. In terms of application, clinical nutrition is both used for patients in the out-patient departments and hospitalized patients as well as normal individuals who want to prevent certain diseases. Clinical nutrition aims to keep adequate energy balance among individuals as well as maintaining sufficient amounts of nutrients, both micronutrients and macronutrients.
Macronutrients involve carbohydrates, proteins and fats, which are primarily used for the production of energy and building muscles and bones. Micronutrients on the other hand include vitamins and minerals that are essential for various body processes. Micronutrients are the ones that also breakdown macronutrients in order to be used by the body in various processes. In our diet, macronutrients usually constitute more than micronutrients.
In clinical nutrition, it is suggested that people need to maintain a balanced diet because the body needs these macronutrients and micronutrients in certain proportions. In addition, clinical nutrition involving diet is more essential than taking supplements; nevertheless, a balanced diet, intake of multivitamins and absence of illness all contribute to better nutrition.
Clinical nutrition is usually managed by nutritionists. These health practitioners are able to assist people in maintaining a healthy diet to achieve maximum well-being and health. Clinical nutritionist usually assess the lifestyle, family history, medical history as well as certain factors in order to come up with the best diet and nutrition for patients. To become a clinical nutritionist, you must be able to complete a relevant educational preparation. The minimum required educational level is a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and passing the certifying examination to become a certified clinical nutritionist.
Clinical nutrition is usually given to people in various mechanisms. For normal individuals with no problems in mastication and consciousness, the oral route is preferred. In case there may be problems, alternate routes include the intravenous route or Total Parenteral Nutrition as well as through enteral administration or tube feedings.
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