Recent studies have shown that faecal residue (dry weight) and Na and K increase with increasing levels of dietary fibre, an effect which may be related to unstirred layers that slow absorption and the flow rate of chyme through the gastrointestinal tract. Salts of Na are the primary osmotic components of chyme and influence both retention of fluid in the bowel and transit of fluid from the small to the large intestine. The present study examines the chronic effects of dietary Na and K intake on faecal Na, K and residue excretion. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were given 12–13 g feed/d (control (g/kg): Na 4, K 8.5) for 1 week, followed by a 4-week period where Na or K intake was altered (0 01–3 times control levels). These diets altered chronic (> 1 week) faecal residue excretion and affected Na and K excretion by 8-, 310-and 2100-fold respectively. Low dietary Na reduced faecal Na and residue; K excretion was doubled during week 1, but fell over weeks 2–4 despite a 4-5-fold increase in plasma aldosterone. Chronic high dietary Na increased faecal Na, residue and K despite a 60% decrease in plasma aldosterone. Chronic low dietary K decreased faecal Na, K and residue and plasma aldosterone. Chronic high dietary K did not alter faecal Na and K despite increased faecal residue and a 4-5-fold increase in plasma aldosterone. Faecal water was unchanged by diet, paralleling changes in faecal residue. Analyses of the results provide systematic models of chronic regulation of faecal Na, K and residue excretions. When plasma aldosterone is low (> 160 ng/1), weekly faecal residue excretion is equal to 3.6 g (fibre intake was 2 6-27 g/week) + 2.6 g/mmol Na, and K excretion is equal to 0.55 mmol/mmol Na. When plasma aldosterone is high (> 1500 ng/1) weekly faecal residue excretion is equal to 23 g+26 g/mmol Na, and K excretion is equal to 0.7 mmol/week + 0.55 mmol/mmol Na.
- Potassium: Aldosterone: Faeces: Rat