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News

Green banana and pectin can alleviate persistent diarrhea in children

Green banana and pectin alleviate persistent diarrhea in children, and may be useful to treat individuals at home, according to research published in the September issue of Gastroenterology.

News image

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A team from Dhaka, Bangladesh, evaluated the therapeutic effects of green banana or pectin in children with persistent diarrhea.

The investigators enrolled 62 boys, aged 5-12 months, in the double-blind trial. These children were randomly given a rice-based diet containing either 250 g/L of cooked green banana (n = 22) or 4 g/kg pectin (n = 19). The remaining 21 were given a control diet of rice alone. Each regimen provided 54 kcal/dL daily, for 7 days.

Stool weight and consistency, frequency of vomiting and purging, and duration of illness were all measured.

Patients recovered from diarrhoea, at day 3:
Pectin: 59%
Banana : 55%
Controls: 15%
Gastroenterology
The researchers found that most children (60%) had no pathogens isolated from stools. However, 17% had rotavirus, 5% Vibrio cholerae, 4% Salmonella group B, and 11% had enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli infections.

By Day 3 post-treatment, significantly more children receiving pectin or banana recovered from diarrhea compared with the controls (59%, 55%, and 15%, respectively).

By Day 4, these proportions correspondingly increased to 82%, 78%, and 23%, respectively - the study diet groups being significantly different from the controls.

Green banana and pectin were found to significantly reduce amounts of stool, oral rehydration solution, intravenous fluid, and numbers of epizodes of vomiting, and diarrheal duration.

Author Golam H. Rabbani, of the Center for Health and Population Research, Dhaka, concluded on behalf of the group, "Green banana and pectin are both useful in the dietary management of persistent diarrhea in hospitalized children. They may also be useful to treat children at home."

Gastroenterology 2001; 121: 554-560
05 September 2001

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