Preservation of the gut by preoperative carbohydrate loading improves postoperative food intake

J. Luttikhold, A. Oosting, C.C.M. van den Braak, K. van Norren, H. Rijna, P.A.M. Leeuwen, H. Bouritius

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Background & aims A carbohydrate (CHO) drink given preoperatively changes the fasted state into a fed state. The ESPEN guidelines for perioperative care include preoperative CHO loading and re-establishment of oral feeding as early as possible after surgery. An intestinal ischaemia reperfusion (IR) animal model was used to investigate whether preoperative CHO loading increases spontaneous postoperative food intake, intestinal barrier function and the catabolic response. Methods Male Wistar rats (n = 65) were subjected to 16 h fasting with ad libitum water and: A) sham laparotomy (Sham fasted, n = 24); B) intestinal ischaemia (IR fasted, n = 27); and C) intestinal ischaemia with preoperatively access to a CHO drink (IR CHO, n = 14). Spontaneous food intake, intestinal barrier function, insulin sensitivity, intestinal motility and plasma amino acids were measured after surgery. Results The IR CHO animals started eating significantly earlier and also ate significantly more than the IR fasted animals. Furthermore, preoperative CHO loading improved the intestinal barrier function, functional enterocyte metabolic mass measured by citrulline and reduced muscle protein catabolism, as indicated by normalization of the biomarker 3-methylhistidine. Conclusions Preoperative CHO loading improves food intake, preserves the GI function and reduces the catabolic response in an IR animal model. These findings suggest that preoperative CHO loading preserves the intestinal function in order to accelerate recovery and food intake. If this effect is caused by overcoming the fasted state or CHO loading remains unclear
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-561
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • randomized controlled-trial
  • insulin-resistance
  • colorectal surgery
  • abdominal-surgery
  • barrier function
  • supplementation
  • citrulline
  • rats
  • 3-methylhistidine
  • nutrition

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