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Bomb calorimetry, the gold standard for assessment of intestinal absorption capacity: normative values in healthy ambulant adults

Wierdsma, N. J.; Peters, J. H. C.; van Bokhorst-de van der Schueren, M. a. E.; Mulder, C. J. J.; Metgod, I.; van Bodegraven, A. A.

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PMID: 23647171


BACKGROUND: Intestinal absorption capacity is considered to be the best method for assessing overall digestive intestinal function. Earlier reference values for intestinal function in healthy Dutch adults were based on a study that was conducted in an inpatient metabolic unit setting in a relatively small series. The present study aimed to readdress and describe the intestinal absorption capacity of healthy adults, who were consuming their usual (Western European) food and beverage diet, in a standard ambulatory setting. METHODS: Twenty-three healthy subjects (aged 22-60 years) were included in the analyses. Nutritional intake (energy and macronutrients) was determined with a 4-day nutritional diary. Subsequently, mean faecal losses of energy (by bomb calorimetry), fat, protein and carbohydrate were determined following a 3-day faecal collection. Finally, intestinal absorption capacity was calculated from the differences between intake and losses. RESULTS: Mean (SD) daily faeces production was 141 (49) g (29% dry weight), containing 891 (276) kJ [10.7 (1.3) kJ g(-1) wet faeces; 22.6 (2.5) kJ g(-1) dry faeces], 5.2 (2.2) g fat, 10.0 (3.8) g protein and 29.7 (11.7) g carbohydrates. Mean (SD) intestinal absorption capacity of healthy subjects was 89.4% (3.8%) for energy, 92.5% (3.7%) for fat, 86.9% (6.4%) for protein and 87.3% (6.6%) for carbohydrates. CONCLUSIONS: The present study provides normative values for both stool nutrient composition and intestinal energy and macronutrient absorption in healthy adults on a regular Dutch diet in an ambulatory setting. Intestinal energy absorption was found to be approximately 90%.

Automatic Tags

Female; Humans; Male; Adult; Young Adult; Middle Aged; Energy Intake; Reference Values; Dietary Carbohydrates; Healthy Volunteers; Dietary Proteins; Diet Records; Netherlands; Intestinal Absorption; Nutrition Assessment; Calorimetry; Feces; absorption; bomb calorimetry; faecal energy loss; healthy subjects

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