The breakdown of the carbohydrates by the colonic bacterial flora can cause intestinal symptoms, such as meteorism, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. The ability of human bacterial flora to break down the DEAE-dextran, a new lipid lowering resin, similar to cholestyramine, was investigated in man. Colonic bacterial flora did not appear to break down DEAE-dextran, as assessed by hydrogen respiratory excretion measured in healthy volunteers. Furthermore, the blood levels of vitamin A, E and D (as 25-OH and 1,25-OH derivatives) were measured in patients treated with the DEAE-dextran in order to study the interference of DEAE-dextran on the absorption of liposoluble vitamins. With the exception of slightly depressed vitamin A levels in 3 patients out of 16, the blood values of the vitamins A, E and D were within the normal ranges, indicating that DEAE-dextran does not interfere with liposoluble vitamin absorption by the gut.
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