mal de caribou

mal de caribou2016-12-26T17:34:16+00:00

mal de caribou

mal de caribou image from New Medical Terms

mal de caribou


A type of acute malnutrition caused by consumption of lean (high protein) game meat, in particular, rabbit, caribou, and other wild animals, to the virtual exclusion of fats. Mal de caribou affected explorers of yore, and was exacerbated by harsh environmental–e.g., dry, extreme cold–conditions. 

Clinical findings Diarrhoea, headache, fatigue, hypotension, bradycardia and cravings for fat.

Mechanism The human liver cannot metabolise more than 4 grams of protein/kg of body weight/day; similarly, the higher the levels of urea–from the breakdown of protein in peripheral tissue, the more difficult it is for the kidneys to excrete the urea.

Management Add fat to the diet.

Synonyms Fat hunger, protein poisoning, rabbit starvation 


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