Negative nitrogen balance


What is Negative Nitrogen Balance?

Negative nitrogen balance is a condition where nitrogen intake does not meet the body's nitrogen requirements. It can arise due to injury or illness, or if an individual is undernourished or recovering from surgery. It is typically measured in the body as the difference between the dietary or supplementation nitrogen intake and nitrogen output.

A negative nitrogen balance is an indication that the body is unable to utilize nitrogen adequately and that there is an imbalance between nitrogen intake and nitrogen output. It is also sometimes referred to as an “anabolic deficit” where the rate of protein synthesis is lower than the rate of protein breakdown.

Symptoms of Negative Nitrogen Balance

  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Increased tendency for infections
  • Decreased ability to heal wounds
  • Anaemia

Causes of Negative Nitrogen Balance

  • Inadequate protein intake
  • Chronic disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Cancer
  • Excessive exercise
  • Burns or trauma
  • Aging
  • Surgery

Treatment of Negative Nitrogen Balance

The primary treatment for negative nitrogen balance is to improve the nutritional status of the individual, by increasing dietary intake of protein and essential micronutrients. In cases of chronic illness or disease, specialized medical treatment may also be required. Supplementation with amino acids may also be beneficial. If an individual is unable to eat sufficient amounts of protein-rich foods, medical nutrition products may be needed.