Alleviation of constipation in the elderly by dietary fiber supplementation.J Am Geriatr Soc. 1980 Sep; 28(9):410-4.JA
To alleviate the constipation problem among the elderly residents of Essex County Geriatric Center, New Jersey, a fiber-supplemented dietary regimen was started. Under this regimen, bran was added to the hot breakfast cereal, thus increasing the crude fiber content of the diet to 6-8 gm compared with the former 4-6 gm. As estimated from recent analysis data, the total dietary fiber was increased from 25 to 40 percent by the addition of bran. This amount of fiber proved effective in preventing constipation in 60 percent of the residents even though many of them had previously required laxatives. Additional programs of dietary fiber supplementation were devised for residents who did not respond to the cereal supplementation or who required nasogastric feedings. In the year following initiation of the program at this Center, the use of laxatives was virtually eliminated, and the institution's pharmacy reported a saving of $44,000 in expenditures for laxative drugs. Recipes are included for the bran-supplemented hot cereal, a special fiber-prune juice supplement, and a fiber-rich liquid for tube-feedings.