Pediatric Nutrition

Cystic Fibrosis - Taking Enzymes

Why Your Child Needs Enzymes

  • Your child won't gain enough weight or grow properly because he or she will not be able to absorb the foods he or she eats.
  • Your child may have problems with bowel movements, and may have to go to the bathroom frequently, or his or her stool may be smelly and oily.
  • Your child may have stomach pain.
  • Your child may have stomach distention (large, rounded abdomen).
  • Your child may have a lot of gassiness.
  • Your child may develop a rectal prolapse or an ileal obstruction.

How to Help Your Child

  • Make sure your child takes their enzymes.
  • Make sure your child eats a healthy, nutritious diet.
  • Provide your child with vitamin supplements.

Tips for Taking Enzymes

  • If your child can't swallow capsules, open up the capsules and mix the contents into a small amount of food such as applesauce, yogurt, jelly, jam, ketchup or Jell-O. Don't choose foods that need to be chewed, or are hot, high in protein (meat, cheese, eggs) or are acidic, like oranges or tomatoes.
  • Have your child take their enzymes before a meal or snack. If the meal or snack takes longer than 20-30 minutes to eat, your child should take more enzymes.
  • High fat meals require more enzymes: meals like fried foods, cheese dishes, peanut butter or chocolate, or gravy or sauces that are added to foods.
  • Some meals or snacks do not require enzymes: foods like juice, plain cereal, fruit, soda, or Kool-Aid type drinks.