Liquid Suppliments

CA KateJanuary 18, 2014

My DH now has a feeding tube that goes directly into his stomach. The hospital dietitian set us up with a program to automatically deliver liquid food that can be fed to him thru the tube. In our case it was Glucerna, but could also have been an Ensure product.

After a couple of weeks more ( plus two and a half weeks in hospital ) DH started getting severe stomach pain every time we fed him and severe sweating bouts. Calls to the dietitians provided no information... a total waste of my time.

Starting at Thanksgiving my DD made him strained vegetable smoothies in addition to the Glucerna. He would still react every time we gave him the Glucerna or Ensure products. Since Christmas I've been giving him nothing but strained smoothies made of either a vegetable base or an oatmeal base. He's had no more stomach problems AND the profuse sweating has stopped.

It is apparent that he really is terribly allergic to something in those suppliment products. I wanted to warn any of you who might be giving your disabled person these food suppliments over a long period of time that you might need to watch for reactions .

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Thank you for sharing this. I am so sorry that your husband had that reaction to something in the supplement. It sounds like you are giving him superior nutrition with excellent whole foods. I make different veggie and or fruit/veggie smoothies that I make at home. He feels like he is getting a treat while I ply him with all sorts of nutritious veggies he would otherwise never eat.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 11:10PM
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CA Kate

;-) I don't think DH ever had Kale or dandilion greens in his life before.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 12:54AM
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VitaMix will sell you a unit at a reduced price (if you are interested) due to the necessity; it will really make pureeing foods and making smoothies so easy - I got one for my DH that way.

Actually Carnation makes (or did make five years ago) a supplement drink that was really better for my DH that the two brands you mentioned.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 5:15AM
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CA Kate

DH bought a chef's version of the Vitamix several years ago. Now it's back to using it daily and I'm happy to have the more powerful motor. But it's good to know about how get a new one, if ever needed.

I'll check into the Carnation version, although I'm not sure that its not the milk/dairy that he's allergic to in the others. He gets no dairy in anything I make and he tolerates it all really good.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 5:58PM
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CA Kate

Yesterday an agent from the provider company called to get a re-order for the Glucerna and I explained about how we can't use these products anymore and why. She said, " So, your husband is allergic to the artificial feeding liquid and we will no longer be supplying this product."

Yes, she did call it 'artificial'!

DH has been ill with the flu -- which could quickly send him back to the hospital with pneumonia. The idea made me wonder just what would they feed him at the hospital with the pump???

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 4:49PM
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In L.A. area they give patients on feeding tubes a product by Nestle Co(They make hot choc. mix & cookies & many other products but they seem to have the market on "feeding tube" products out here as every hospital I've been to they are using Nestlé's. Might check on- line & see what is in their's. Had a friend in hospital for yrs after a stroke in the neck left her paralyzed from below the nose. Whatever they gave her made her gain a lot of weight. I imagine by now they have improved the liquid so don't get so heavy as that brings on more problems. Sounds like the smoothies are working well for you!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:27PM
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Westelle, I hope that your husband is okay and didn't need hospitalization. If he does, though, be sure you tell the dietician about your experience. I am quite shocked that consulting them about his intolerance got you nowhere. Surely they weren't giving him glucerna through that tube in the hospital?

The reaction could have been to the concentrated sugar in those products -- in my hospital we use unsweetened, unflavored products for tube feeding. I am surprised to hear that those were what you were told to use.

Nestle and Abbot Labs are 2 of the biggest suppliers of pre-made tube feeding products. They each make various formulas for different nutritional needs. A good registered dietician will be choosing the product and feeding rate based on each patient's metabolism, digestive problems and lab values.

I can't remember off the top of my head, but I think that both of those products (ensure and glucerna) are lactose free. Still, the protein source could have been the problem too. Not everyone can tolerate cow milk protein, or soy protein.

Another possible reason for that reaction could be too much volume at once, or too concentrated, overstimulating the GI tract. Similar to "dumping syndrome".

Back in the day, nurses had to make tube feeding themselves with a blender -- I can vaguely remember the recipe, with ingredients like one egg, 2 slices bread, half cup of orange juice, etc. Would never give anyone raw egg now!

I totally agree that making the feeding yourself is just fine! Just be sure that you are getting an adequate amount of protein in there, as well as some fat (olive oil is a good choice) -- our bodies need both.

PS feeding someone through a tube is considered artificial feeding, no matter the type of food being given. But, the manufactured products are indeed far from natural!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 8:00PM
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CA Kate

raee: yes, he was being given Glucerna, both at the hospital and at home. I still have a case of the big bottles of Glucerna that one can hang for pump feeding. Total waste!

Thank you for mentioning "dumping syndrome", I'd never heard of that before. I suspect that very well what may have caused the sweating. Recently DH conveyed to his caretaker that he was full. Since then we've cut his feedings from six to four and he hasn't had an event since.

I have been trying to think of how to add some fat to the smoothies and have added avocado; I hadn't thought of olive oil. Duh!

I posted a request for " super smoothies" on the Cooking Forum. As hoped, grainlady responded and, among lots of great information, suggested I get a non-gelling gelatin that will add protein and necessary amino acids, etc. called Great Lakes Gelatin --- Collagen Hydrolysate. I've been adding that to the smoothies too.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 8:53PM
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