Nutritional deficiencies in patients with Crohn's disease in remission



Background: Patients with Crohn's disease (CD) are at risk of developing nutritional deficiencies, especially because of restrictive diets. The aim of our study was to assess food intake and the status for vitamins and trace elements in nonselected CD patients in clinical remission.

Methods: A total of 54 consecutive CD patients (28 females, 26 males, 39 ± 2 years of age [mean ± SD]) in clinical remission for >3 months underwent body composition, resting energy expenditure, nutrient intake, and plasma concentration assessment, and were compared with 25 healthy controls (16 females, 9 males, 38 ± 3 years old).

Results: According to the nutritional risk index, 37 patients (70%) were not malnourished, 12 were at moderate risk, and 4 were at severe risk for malnutrition. Fat mass was lower in patients in remission compared with controls (P = 0.04). The mean daily energy intake was comparable between patients (2218 ± 92 kcal/day) and controls (2066 ± 101 kcal/day), covering their needs. No significant difference was observed for macronutrient intake in comparison with controls; compared to controls, female CD patients had lower intakes of β-carotene (P < 0.005), vitamins B1 (P < 0.05), B6 (P < 0.01), and C (P < 0.005), and magnesium (P < 0.01). They had significantly higher intakes of zinc (P < 0.01). Male CD patients had lower intakes of β-carotene and vitamin C (P < 0.05). More than 50% of patients had low plasma concentrations of vitamin C (84%), copper (84%), niacin (77%), and zinc (65%).

Conclusions: In CD patients in remission, macronutrient needs are usually covered by food intake. However, micronutrient deficiencies are frequent and call for specific screening and treatment.