Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) includes a wide variety of treatments based on the nutritional status of the patient. The intensity of the therapy varies greatly, ranging from a few changes in dietary intake to tube or intravenous feeding.
Medical nutrition therapy may be useful in treating or controlling heart disease, diabetes, AIDS, cancer, kidney disease and many other health related conditions. While often used as part of a palliative care treatment, relatively healthy people may also use this therapy for minor dietary adjustments. Complementary nutrition therapy optimizes nutritional health in order to enhance medical care and treatment. Medical nutrition therapy is not a cure for terminal illness but can improve a patient's quality of life.
According to The American Dietetic Association medical nutrition therapy and lifestyle counseling are integral components of medical treatment for the management of selected conditions. Numerous chronic medical conditions respond to medical nutrition therapy; however, pharmacotherapy may be needed to achieve control. In some cases, medical nutrition therapy and pharmacotherapy may need to be initiated simultaneously. Medical nutrition therapy is critical to the management of a variety of chronic diseases, is effective in managing disease, and is cost-effective. Strong evidence advocating certain types of medical nutrition therapy lies in the extremely high usage of parenteral and enteral nutritional formulas in many health care settings today. Parenteral feedings may allow people who are not able to take any food orally to get the nutrients that they need to survive.
Promising uses of medical nutrition therapy for the future reside in a vast array of conditions, such as supplying proper nutrients to people with HIV/AIDS and cancer, or possibly helping to decrease the prevalence of type II diabetes.
Diet, dieticians, eating disorders, enteral feedings, MNT, nutritional therapy, parenteral feedings, tube feedings.
This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).