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Pancreatic Cancer Educational Series: Nutrition and Pancreatic Enzymess

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This first video in the Nutrition and Pancreatic Cancer series presented in partnership with Pancreatic Cancer Canada covers the function of the pancreas and pancreatic enzymes and the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

Hi and welcome to the first in a series of informational videos about nutrition and pancreatic cancer these videos are being brought to you by wellspring in partnership with pancreatic cancer canada my name is rachel reid and i’m a clinical dietitian specializing in the care of cancer patients at the odette cancer centre in toronto i’m delighted to be able to share

Information with you about pancreatic cancer and nutrition i will be providing a series of four short videos focusing on diabetes and pancreatic cancer treatment pre-surgery nutrition symptom management and this video about the importance of pancreatic enzymes we will be discussing the role of the pancreas the causes of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency and the

Signs of this insufficiency as well we will talk a bit about ways to take these enzymes and how to get the best function out of them so let’s get started first let’s talk a little bit about the role of the pancreas the pancreas is important for our digestion in two ways firstly it produces enzymes that help us digest food and second it produces insulin to help

Us transfer glucose from the blood into our cells where it is then used for energy for this video we’re going to focus on the enzyme production the pancreas is an organ that lays right behind your stomach food enters the stomach and then travels into the intestine where it is met by pancreatic enzymes which help break the food down these enzymes essentially break

Down large food molecules into smaller ones which are then able to be transported into our body more specifically these enzymes break down the larger protein fat and carbohydrate molecules into things like fatty acids glucose and amino acids these enzymes are called proteases amylase and lipase in the medical world when someone is not producing enough pancreatic

Enzymes we call it pancreatic insufficiency because the body cannot properly break down the food without these enzymes this causes malabsorption and malnutrition pancreatic cancer is a common cause of pancreatic insufficiency so patients should be aware of the signs of this condition if you have pancreatic insufficiency taking enzymes prescribed by a doctor will

Help you digest your food properly and prevent the symptoms and side effects some of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic insufficiency are fala smelling gasser stools large amounts of gas floating stools or greasy or fatty looking stools cramping after meals feelings of indigestion frequent stools loose stools or diarrhea light colored or pale stools or unexplained

Weight loss sometimes these symptoms may be masked by other medications that a patient is taking for example narcotic pain medications are known to cause constipation and often patients with pancreatic cancer are taking narcotic pain medications someone with pancreatic insufficiency may be experiencing diarrhea or loose stools from the malabsorption however when

You combine the constipation from the pain medication and the diarrhea from the pancreatic enzyme insufficiency it produces normal bowel function and may mask the signs of pancreatic insufficiency so even though diarrhea is a very common side effect malabsorption it is not the only one and it is important to look through all of these symptoms and consider the

Whole picture if you or a family member with pancreatic cancer it’s having some of these side effects i highly recommend that you speak with your health care team about your symptoms and explore whether pancreatic enzymes would be appropriate for you if you have a prescription for enzymes there are a few strategies to get the best function out of them if you are

Taking multiple capsules at a meal take one capsule at the beginning of the meal and then spread the rest throughout your meal if prescribed by your doctor take acid reducing medication daily as this helps with the functioning of the enzymes don’t take the enzymes at the same time as antacids or iron supplements this is not a harmful combination but it may make

The enzymes less effective don’t crush or chew the capsules as this can cause irritation to your mouth so how much of these enzymes should you be taking dosing is based on the units of lipase because the enzymes primarily help with fat digestion when starting on enzymes patients normally take 20,000 to 40,000 units of lipase per meal and 10,000 to 20,000 units per

Snack however this may differ depending on your doctor you should then work with your health care team to increase the dose as necessary until your pancreatic insufficiency symptoms are either minimal or eliminate it altogether the maximum you should take is 2500 units of lipase per kilogram body weight per mille or 10000 units per kilogram body weight per day how

Does that work well in 80 kilograms persons maximum dosage is 800 thousand units per day or 80 capsules of creon microspheres ten daily so there is lots of room to increase the dose if needed you may be wondering what happens when you take too much of these enzymes the side effects of taking too much are constipation nausea abdominal cramps and/or diarrhea which

As you may notice are similar symptoms to inadequate enzyme use post-surgical symptoms and chemotherapy or radiation treatment symptoms so it is always best to review your symptoms with your healthcare team to determine what the cause of your symptoms are i hope you found this bit of information about pancreatic enzymes helpful for more information here’s a list

Of additional resources where you can find more information i look forward to seeing you soon you

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Pancreatic Cancer Educational Series: Nutrition and Pancreatic Enzymess By Wellspring Cancer Support