The effect of fibers on coagulation of casein-based enteral nutrition in an artificial gastric digestion model

Luttikhold, J.; Norren, K. van; Minor, M.; Buijs, N.; Braak, C.C.M. van den; Ludwig, T.; Abrahamse, E.; Rijna, H.; Leeuwen, P.A.M.


A serious complication seen in critically ill patients is the solidification of enteral nutrition causing gastrointestinal obstruction. It has been suggested that enteral nutrition enriched with insoluble fibers may increase the risk of this complication. Therefore, we investigate the effect of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers on the coagulation of a casein-based enteral nutrition in an artificial gastric digestion model. A 100% casein-based enteral nutrition was enriched with increasing concentrations of soluble fibers (acacia fiber, oligofructose and inulin) and insoluble fibers (soy polysaccharide, resistant starch and alpha cellulose). After digestion in an artificial gastric model, the chyme was poured over sequentially placed sieves, separating the coagulate into size fractions of larger than 2 mm, between 1 and 2 mm, and between 0.25 and 1 mm. Of these fractions we measured wet weight, dry weight and protein content. A significant effect on the fraction larger than 2 mm was considered to be clinically relevant. Addition of high concentrations soy polysaccharide and resistant starch to a casein-based enteral nutrition, did not alter the wet weight, whereas dry weight and protein content of the coagulate was significantly reduced. When high concentrations of soy polysaccharide and resistant starch are added to a 100% casein-based enteral nutrition, the coagulate consist of more water and less proteins, which may lead to an increased protein digestion and absorption in a clinical setting. The suggestion that insoluble fibers increase the risk of gastrointestinal obstruction in critically ill patients is not supported by these data.