In India, 38% of children are born with Low Weight for Age. 36% of Urban and 44% of rural children are stunted. Bottle-feeding puts infants at a higher risk of illness, especially diarrheal diseases. Magnitude of the problem at global level is that malnutrition is responsible as underlying factor for 60% of the total 10 million deaths in children under 5 years of age.
One of the evident strength of homeopathy is its constitutional treatment wherein it reversers the inherent imbalances in the body system which is the major cause of several metabolic disorders. The constitutional care modulates the inability of the body to absorb or assimilate the micro nutrients. Thus, it provides curative care, offer long term prevention and promote health by correcting malnutrition and mal absorption disorders. This is one of the comprehensive ways to tackle nutritional disorders that is over reaching with substation therapy.
Malnutrition and mal absorption are the conditions in which the body does not receive enough nutrients for its proper functions. These are grouped under a broad category called Nutritional disorders. Nutritional disorder may be related to a deficiency of one particular nutrient or the inability to properly digest or absorb nutrients from the food they consume.
Malnutrition is defined as a pathological state resulting from a relative or absolute deficiency or excess of one or more essential nutrients; clinically manifested or detected only by biochemical, anthropometric or physiological tests. It is primary when there is deficiency of food available or secondary when food is available but the body cannot assimilate it for one or another reason. Malnutrition is common in children between age of 3 months and 3 years. Lack of proper nutrition caused by not having enough to eat, not eating enough of the right things or being unable to use the food that one does eat are all categorized under malnutrition. Disease and malnutrition are closely linked. Sometimes disease is the result of malnutrition, sometimes it is a contributing cause. Malnutrition in younger age shall lead to reduced physical and mental development. In fact, malnutrition is the largest single contributor to disease in the world, according to the UN’s Standing Committee on Nutrition (SCN).Malnutrition remains a significant global problem, especially in developing countries. About 2.3 crore children in India, up to 6 years of age, are suffering from malnourishment and are under-weight.
On the other hand, mal-absorption is a condition in which the intestine can’t adequately absorb certain nutrients into the bloodstream. It can slow down the absorption of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), or both. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and most fluids are absorbed in the small intestine (small bowel). Mal-absorption syndrome occurs when something prevents the bowel from absorbing important nutrients and fluids. The problem may be caused by inflammation, intrinsic disease, or injury to the lining of the intestine. Sometimes, the condition may be the result of the body’s failure to produce enzymes needed to digest certain foods or to adequately mix the food with the enzymes and acid produced by the stomach.
Homoeopathic approach on Malnutrition
Homeopathy advocates that when there is an imbalance in nutritional requirement and its supply, the deficient nutrients should be supplied in adequate quantity through natural food, provided the body can assimilate and absorb the same. In cases where there is deficiency of supply or the body is so wakened to absorb the natural nutrients, then it need to be supplied artificially. In cases where the malnutrition is not due to the deficiency of nutrients alone, but the body’s inability to use the available nutrients, then it is identified as a constitutional error in the system and advised its rectification through a constitutional medication. In short, homeopathy sees the malnutrition due to deficient supply of the nutrients and mal nutrition due to mal absorption differently.
Mal absorption is considered due to diseased individual’s constitutional error. Homoeopathic treatment allows the system to use available nutritional supply from food to an optimum extent. It takes care of the adverse effects produced due to external supplements. More importantly, it is seen that in case of malnutrition, when the supplements are stopped, gradually the deficiency re appear.
In Homeopathy there are two ways of addressing this problem.
First way is to give constitutional remedy that takes care of basic constitutional error of absorption& improper utilization of existing nutrients. Simultaneously the underlying cause, if any like parasitic infection, chronic alcoholism, inadequate availability of micro nutrients shall also be assessed and appropriate remedial measures taken. The other is introducing biochemic medicine that acts according to the concept of tissue deficiencies.
Both these approaches help the body to use the nutritional supply from food to an optimum extent &helps to maintain normal nutritional status. Hence, it is curative and provide long term benefits.
Abrotanum, Argentum nit, Barytacarb, Calcareaphosphorica, Calcareacarbonica, Cina, Chamomilla, Heparsulphur, Iodine, Magnesia carbonica, Natrummuriaticum, Silica, Sulphur and Tuberculinum are the common remedies to be thought of in malnutrition. Some indications of these remedies are given below. However it is strongly recommended not to resort to self medication as the underlying cause and its effective management is possible only through qualified homeopaths.
Abrotanum: Marasmus. Impaired nutrition, defective digestion and assimilation.Marked emaciation of lower limbs, ascending type.Great weakness, ravenous appetite with rapid emaciation.Chilly patient. Constipation and diarrhoea alternate.
Calc-carb: Marasmus, defective nutrition, sour stools and vomiting of milk, sweat on scalp, head and face, the feet are damp and cold, Enlargement of the glands, voracious appetite. Dwindled body, prominent abdomen.morbid appetite, craving indigestible articles. Engorgement of mesenteric glands. Scrofulous infants.Diarrhoea on beginning to eat or drink; Rapid emaciation with a harsh and dry skin. The debility, weariness and irritable restlessness
Calc .phos: Emaciation. Predisposition to glandular and osseous disease. Large heads, defective bony development, open fontanelles and tardy development of the teeth, weak spine, curved, thin neck. Sallow complexion, persistent vomiting and diarrhoea of green, slimy and undigested stools, accompanied with much offensive flatus. Engorgement of glands, enlarged tonsils.Scrofulous tendency.
Iodium: Dark complexion, hot baby, ravenous hunger, anxiety. Better in open air.Glandular enlargement.
Magnesia carbonica: Puny children, marasmus, milk <, undigested vomiting; griping and colicky pains; sour green grassy stools, improperly nourished; ulcers in the mouth, swollen glands, bloated abdomen. Jaundice, offensive sweat.
Natrummur: Marasmus from defective nourishment, thin neck, ravenous appetite. The child grows thin. Excess thirst and craves water all the time. Gets intermittent fever frequently.Dry mouth and throat, constipated. Skin is scurfy with oozing eruptions. Craving for salt and salty food.
Tuberculinum: Light complexion, blue eyes, mental activity, ravenous hunger with rapid emaciation and anxiety.