Food-based solutions are a viable alternative to glucose-electrolyte solutions for oral hydration in acute diarrhoea--studies in a rat model of secretory diarrhoea

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1990 Jan-Feb;84(1):156-9. doi: 10.1016/0035-9203(90)90417-d.


A survey of acute diarrhoea and its treatment, in 3 groups of villages in south India, revealed that use of the World Health Organization oral rehydration solution (WHO-ORS) was poor or virtually non-existent and that several liquid foods were given to children during acute diarrhoea. The effects of the most commonly used, boiled and cooled supernatants of these liquid foods [rice (Oryza sativa)-water, ragi (Eleusine coracana)-water, arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea)-water], and tender coconut-water, and of the bicarbonate- and citrate-WHO-ORS on intestinal water transport were evaluated using a rat model of secretory diarrhoea. All solutions either decreased cholera toxin-induced net water secretion (arrowroot-water) or reversed it to net absorption. Ragi-water produced maximum net water absorption, significantly greater than the WHO oral rehydration solutions. WHO-ORS utilization is poor in some developing countries, and locally used food-based solutions could be used for maintaining hydration or correcting the dehydration due to acute diarrhoea once their effectiveness has been proved by clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Bicarbonates / therapeutic use
  • Data Collection
  • Diarrhea / therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electrolytes / therapeutic use
  • Fluid Therapy*
  • Glucose / administration & dosage
  • Glucose / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • India
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Potassium Chloride / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Rehydration Solutions / therapeutic use
  • Sodium Chloride / therapeutic use


  • Bicarbonates
  • Electrolytes
  • Rehydration Solutions
  • World Health Organization oral rehydration solution
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Glucose