British Journal of Nutrition

Absorption from fermented milks

Intestinal nitrogen and electrolyte movements following fermented milk ingestion in man

Sylvain Mahéa1, Philippe Marteaua2, Jean-François Huneaua1, François Thuilliera2 and Daniel Toméa1

a1 Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Unité de Nutrition Humaine et de Physiologie Intestinale, Faculté des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques, 4 avenue de l'Observatoire, 75006 Paris, France

a2 Service de Gastro-entérologie, INSERM U290, Hôpital Saint-Lazare, 107 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris, France


The present study focuses on the digestion and absorption of milk and fermented milk (FM) reflected by gastro-ileal N and electrolyte movements in six healthy volunteers. The N and electrolyte content of the intestinal effluents were analysed both at the beginning of the jejunum and in the distal ileum. The gastric half-emptying time of the liquid phase was significantly (P < 0·05) shorter for milk (35 (SE 2) min) than for FM (60 (SE 2) min). The N balance showed that 58 and 50 % of ingested proteins, milk and FM respectively were absorbed between the stomach and the proximal jejunum and that 91 and 90% respectively were absorbed between the stomach and the terminal ileum in 240 min. Evaluation of mineral absorption indicated that 44 and 67% of Ca was absorbed in the duodenum after milk and FM ingestion respectively, and 41 and 11% of Ca disappeared between the jejunum and the ileum respectively. With regards to N and Ca intestinal availability, the present study confirms that FM products represent an interesting source of N as well as minerals for man. This confers on FM a beneficial effect compared with milk especially for lactase (EC 3.2.1. 108)–deficient subjects and children with persistent diarrhoea.

(Received July 13 1992)

(Revised March 08 1993)

(Accepted April 01 1993)