Literature-Based Nutritional Research in Cystic Fibrosis

Barbara Christie, M.S., R.D., Nutrition Therapist in private practice, Ben Lomond, CA

Fall 1997

Good nutrition is essential for people with cystic fibrosis. Given that each individual with cystic fibrosis has specific and unique nutritional needs such as calorie requirements, how do we optimize adequate intake, digestion and absorption? For parents of young children with CF, "parents are responsible for what is presented to eat and the manner in which it is presented. Children are responsible for how much and even whether they eat." Barbara Christie began her talk with this quote from How to Get Your Kids to Eat, But Not Too Much by Ellyn Satter. Additionally, the following tips for parents at mealtimes come from the authors of a study* that boosted caloric intake by 1,000 calories a day using behavioral modification techniques: limiting meals to 20 minutes, ignoring complaints and refusals to eat, avoiding coaxing or nagging, paying attention to the child while he is eating, and turning your attention elsewhere when he refuses to eat. People with CF who have full lung function need only 10 percent more calories, if that. Those with less lung function need more food. Christie also suggested supplements for most people with CF. To list a few of them, an adult needs to take an ADEK vitamin plus a Centrum-type vitamin each day (because ADEK doesn't contain zinc, copper or selenium). Because people with CF do not absorb calcium as well as others, they need to be sure they are getting 1200-1500 mg. daily. Milk, cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese all have about 300 mg. per serving. Calcium citrate (Tums) supplements could also provide calcium in an easy-to-absorb form. And people taking Zantac need more vitamin B12, she noted. In her talk, she also listed other supplements for people with CF. Please order a copy of her videotape for more information.

* Stark, L.J. et al, Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterological Nutrition 22(3):240-243, 1996.

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