Enzymes are a really important part of a CF dietary regime. Enzymes help people with CF digest food by replacing the enzymes that would otherwise be released by the pancreas.
Scientifically speaking enzymes are biological catalysts and help complex reactions happen everywhere in life. Inside the body they help break down fats, carbohydrates and protein.
Enzymes are released through the pancreas into the intestines where food is broken down and the nutrients and minerals drawn out. Because of the mucus build up in pancreases of people with cystic fibrosis (CF), their natural enzymes don’t make it to the intestines, which means food isn’t absorbed properly.
Enzyme supplements help people with CF digest food by replacing the enzymes that would otherwise be released by the pancreas.
About 85% of people with CF are pancreatic insufficient and will need to take pancreatic enzymes to digest food and absorb nutrients properly.
The most commonly used enzyme preparation in Australia is Creon®. Creon comes in a range of strengths – Creon Micro, Creon 10,000, Creon 25,000 and Creon 40,000
Enzymes don’t need to be taken with fruit, jelly, lollies, soft drink, chewing gum, cordial, fruit juice, black tea or coffee.
Everyone with CF is different, some people need more enzymes than others and it is also depends on how much fat is in the food or drink you are having. That means, the more fat in your meal, the more enzymes you will need to take.
The average dose of Creon needed for each gram of dietary fat is:
Creon 10,000 – 1 capsule per 7 grams fat
Creon 25,000 – 1 capsule per 20 grams of fat
Creon 50,000 – 1 capsule per 40 grams of fat
Check out the number of Creon you need to take for the following foods:
You can check the fat content of various foods on the Calorie King website.
Foods, fat and enzyme dose guide
|Food||Fat (g)||Number of
|Pasta with meat, sauce and cheese||50||8||3|
|Bucket of chips or fries||25||4||2|
|Roast meat with skin, potatoes, veggies||40||6||3|
|Burger and fries||55||9||3|
|Ham and cheese sandwich||15||2||1|
|Fish and chips||35||5||2|
|Bacon, eggs and toast with butter||60||10||4|
|Potato wedges and sour cream||70||11||4|
Sample menu and enzymes
|Breakfast||1 cup of rice bubbles with 1 cup of full cream milk
2 tbsp sugar, 1 cup of orange juice
|Snack||2 Chocolate biscuits, 300ml chocolate milk||21||3|
|Lunch||2 slices of ham and 1 slice of cheese
Sandwich with 2 teaspoons of margarine, yoghurt topped muesli bar, 250ml plain milk and 5 teaspoons of Milo
|Snack||Banana and 200g of regular yoghurt||6||1|
|Dinner||200g crumbed chicken breast cooked in a lightly oiled pan, 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of mixed vegetables with 1 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 cup of water||25||3|
|Supper||1 cup full fat milk with 5 teaspoons of Milo||10||1|
|Key: 1 cup = 250mL|
The body can’t digest food when there aren’t enough enzymes which means nutrients can’t be absorbed. This is called malabsorption.
Malabsorption can lead to weight loss, malnutrition and increased susceptibility to infections.
Symptoms of malabsorption include: