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Eating Oat-Bran Daily May Reduce Constipation and Laxative Use in the Elderly

In a randomized, controlled, parallel intervention study involving 30 frail geriatric home residents with multiple chronic diseases receiving laxative therapy, results indicate that dietary supplementation with oat-bran may improve constipation and reduce laxative use. The patients were randomized to 1 of 2 groups: 1) fiber group: (n=15) received 5.2g/d oat-bran for 84 days mixed into the daily common meals; 2) control group: (n=15) received habitual diet. A significant decrease in laxative use was observed in the fiber group. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "Oat-bran helps to improve constipation management and B12 bioavailability in elderly with multiple chronic diseases who live in nursing homes."   Reference: "The status of vitamins b6, B12, folate, and of homocysteine in geriatric home residents receiving laxatives or dietary fiber," Sturtzel B, Elmadfa I, et al, J Nutr Health Aging, 2010; 14(3): 219-23. (Address: B. Sturtzel, University of Vienna, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna. E-mail: ).

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