3 Ways to Get Salt if You Have a Feeding Tube

Mar 09, 2023

3 Ways to Get Salt if You Have a Feeding Tube

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) may affect a number of the automatic systems in the body, including gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction. The most commonly reported GI symptoms are nausea, irregular bowel movements, abdominal pain, bloating, and constipation. Many POTS patients report these GI symptoms more than once per week. In fact, one of the most common conditions reported in POTS is delayed gastric emptying or gastroparesis, with 14% of POTS patients reporting also having gastroparesis in a study by Dysautonomia International in 2019. 

Some people have motility issues serious enough that they have trouble swallowing or can’t eat or drink enough through their mouth. In temporary cases, these people may get a feeding tube through their nose or mouth. In more long-term cases, a feeding tube may be placed in the stomach and/or intestines to directly get nutrition.   

Even though people with POTS and a feeding tube have alternative ways of getting nutrition, they still may benefit from increasing their salt intake.

Here are some ways to increase salt intake:

  1. Eating your favorite salty snacks in small quantities. For those with G tubes (gastric tubes), some liquids like broths or small quantities of saltines with water, can be drainable.  
  2. Pushing DrinkMix through your tube. You should speak with your provider about whether this is a safe option for you.
  3. Sucking on FastChews, which are absorbed through the lining of the mouth known as the buccal mucosa, giving you rapid symptom relief without having to digest them.   

Eve Daines has a nasojejunal (NJ) tube to help her maintain a healthy weight and get the nutrients she needs to stay as healthy as possible with SMA Syndrome, hEDS, and previous struggles with anorexia nervosa. She uses a combination of IV fluids and Vitassium DrinkMix to get ample amounts of sodium, either pushing DrinkMix through her tube or sipping it slowly throughout the day.   

“Because of my chronic [vomiting], it is a little hard to maintain my electrolyte levels — Vitassium products help a lot!” she said.   

Her favorite flavor is Pink Lemonade, which helps her reach her goal of getting an extra 500 to 1,000mg of sodium per day. 

“Chronic illness and eating disorders aren’t easy, but you can still have a very full and happy life!” Eve said.