The etiology and specific treatment of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are unknown, and the treatment strategy for patients with inflammatory bowel disease is essentially symptomatic and supportive. The malnutrition that frequently accompanies inflammatory bowel disease is a manifestation of intestinal failure and should be vigorously corrected with total parenteral nutrition, elemental diets, or both. Evidence exists for the value of total parenteral nutrition and elemental diets as primary therapy for inflammatory bowel disease in selected patients. Judicious nutritional therapy remains a cornerstone in the adjunctive management of these patients.
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