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Eur J Clin Nutr. 1988 Dec;42(12):999-1005.

Small bowel bacterial overgrowth: a cause of malnutrition in the elderly?

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  • 1Department of Geriatric Medicine, Maelor Hospital, Wrexham, Clwyd, UK.


A study was conducted to examine the effect of small bowel contamination on the nutritional status in the elderly. Dietary assessment and anthropometric measurements were used to assess malnutrition. Sixteen elderly patients were studied before and after regular treatment with antibiotics. A significant gain in body weight, triceps skinfold thickness, mid-arm circumference and arm muscle circumference was noticed after eliminating bacterial overgrowth of the small bowel. Occult malabsorption due to bacterial overgrowth should therefore be considered as a cause of malnutrition in the elderly.

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