Q: My doctor and I are working to resolve my chronic diarrhea. In the meantime, should I be taking any particular supplements to prevent nutritional deficiencies?
A: No, but you may want to have two or three bowls of egg drop soup per day. The eggs it is made with are rich in albumin, a protein that is easily digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. Albumin helps maintain the balance of water in the bloodstream and body tissues. Also, egg drop soup’s chicken broth base is a good source of sodium. Though you may think of sodium as “bad” due to its link to high blood pressure, it is an important electrolyte (a substance that helps control the body’s fluid balance) that is necessary to sustain life. Since both albumin and sodium get excreted and depleted during bouts of chronic diarrhea, it is vital that these—as well as lost fluids—be replaced.
If you are not a fan of egg drop soup, an alternative is to eat at least one egg per day and to have several bowls of plain chicken soup. Or you can ask your doctor about drinking an oral rehydration solution, such as Pedialyte—but while such products are a convenient way to quickly replace fluids and electrolytes lost due to diarrhea, they don’t compare to what you can cook up on your own.
Also, talk to your doctor about whether you need frequent, simple blood tests to check your blood levels of albumin and sodium until a solution to your diarrhea problem is found.