Isotonic Tube Feeding Formula Induces Liquid Stool in Normal Subjects: Reversal by Pectina

Donna M. Zimmaro, Rolando H. Rolandelli, Mark J. Koruda, R. Gregg Settle, T. Peter Stein, John L. Rombeau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Diarrhea is one of the most common complications in patients who receive tube-feeding formulas. Since the colon is the final site of water and electrolyte absorption and ultimately determines fecal composition, diarrhea during tube feeding may result from altered colonic function. The lack of dietary fiber, such as pectin, in tube-feeding formulas may be one of the means by which colonic function is affected. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a standard, liquid, commercially available, isotonic tube-feeding formula (ITFF) and the effects of supplementing the ITFF with pectin on colonic function as measured by stool consistency and colonic fluid composition in 13 normal adults. Data were obtained when subjects consumed their regular diet, ITFF, and ITFF supplemented with pectin using the technique of in vivo dialysis of colonic fluid. Ingestion of the ITFF resulted in a significant increase in the percentage of liquid stools compared to a regular diet [median (interquartile range) = 0% (0), 60% (64);p < 0.01]. Ingestion of the ITFF also resulted in significant decreases in the concentrations of sodium, potassium, and short-chain fatty acids, and increases in pH and osmotic gap in colonic fluid compared to the subjects' regular diet. Supplementing the ITFF with pectin significantly reduced the incidence of liquid stools [0% (0)] and promoted a normalization of colonic fluid composition. The results suggest that the addition of pectin may enhance tolerance to ITFFs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1989
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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