OBJECTIVES: We investigated the clinical usefulness of soluble dietary fiber (SDF) for the treatment of diarrhea during enteral nutrition in elderly patients.METHODS: This study included 10 men and 10 women (mean age ± standard deviation: 79.3 ± 5.1 y) who had diarrhea during long-term nutrition management. When administering SDF, the initial dose was 7 g and thereafter gradually increased at 1-wk intervals. After 4 wk, the administration was discontinued for 2 wk to confirm the effects of SDF.RESULTS: After the administration of SDF, serum diamine oxidase activity significantly increased (P < 0.001): The water content of the feces decreased significantly after the administration of fiber (P < 0.01). The frequency of daily bowel movements also decreased significantly (P < 0.05). Simultaneously, the fecal features improved. Concerning intestinal flora, there were no significant changes in the total number of bacteria or the number of anaerobic bacteria. The fecal pH decreased significantly 4 wk after the administration of fiber (P < 0.05). The total level of short-chain fatty acids increased significantly 4 wk after the administration of fiber (P < 0.05). There were no significant changes in the various nutritional indices. CONCLUSIONS: The administration of SDF is useful for controlling spontaneous, favorable bowel movement by improving symptoms of small intestinal mucosal atrophy and normalizing the intestinal flora.
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