80%-90% of people with Cystic Fibrosis need to take enzyme capsules before they eat, as part of their Cystic Fibrosis treatment. In Cystic Fibrosis, as the lungs produce thick, sticky mucus, the pancreas also makes the same type of mucus that blocks the release of enzymes needed for digestion. When the pancreas is not able to deliver the enzymes needed to digest food, it can result in a failure to gain weight and to thrive, and abdominal pain when the body tries to digest food. In addition to weight loss, it can also lead to malnutrition and other complications because the body does not absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K properly. In both children and adults with CF, malnutrition is linked to poorer general health, more severe lung disease and shorter life expectancy.
Enzymes are given to babies by opening up the capsules, but children with Cystic Fibrosis can learn to swallow enzyme capsules at a surprisingly early age. This is a video of a toddler taking his enzymes. Perhaps your small child can relate!