Is a useful water protocol for those with dysphagia – difficulty swallowing – and needing thickener in their drinks to use vitamin enhanced water?
It is a question that came to me looking at these “enhanced” water drinks in a supermarket.
Dysphagia predisposes sufferers to a low nutritional intake and therefore low vitamin, mineral and electrolyte levels. It’s easy to increase the nutritional levels of foods but impossible to achieve in a drink unless you use milk like you do in our Slõ Milkshakes+.
The solution I have been searching for has to use water. Water is not “heavy to drink” in large quantities. It’s refreshing and can be flavoured.
We are looking at Vitamin capsules that can be opened and added to a glass of water to enhance its vitamin content – but these types of “enhanced” water drinks can be safely and reliably changed in to Slõ Vitamin Water with our Slõ Water sachet. That raises a question.
If the health benefits of these drinks are to be believed could these drinks improve the vitamin and electrolyte balance of this nutritionally vulnerable patient group?
To quote the Company:
“glaceau vitaminwater is a range of low-calorie flavoured spring waters with added vitamins and minerals. We offer a range of flavours for you to choose from, each one enhanced with different vitamins and minerals without the sugar or increasing calories.
In Great Britain, we reformulated our glaceau vitaminwater range in 2012, using our zero-calorie stevia sweetener. By combining stevia extract with sugars, we’ve been able to reduce the sugar and calorie levels of the range by 30 per cent.
Ingredients Example: spring water, fructose, sugar, citric acid, mineral salts (potassium chloride, magnesium lactate), vitamins (C, niacin, E, pantothenic acid, B6, folic acid), fruit and vegetable concentrates (blueberry, carrot), stabilisers (acacia gum, glycerol esters of wood rosins), sweetener (steviol glycosides), natural flavourings”.
These drinks contain a whole range of Vitamins. Some only have vitamin C, some Vitamin C and Calcium, one contains Vitamin C, D, B3, B6 and B5! The restorative benefits of them are alleged to be better energy levels, increased focus and more power? [http://vitaminwater.com/products/]
This is just one brand. Other “enhanced” water brands claim to offer Protein Infused water, Highly Oxygenated Water, Probiotic Water. There is even anti-water containing anti-oxidants.
We are not condoning the use of these drinks or dismissing other “enhanced” water brand claims.
The reality is…
…. those with dysphagia have low vitamin and electrolyte levels. Ideally, they need to increase these levels by making every mouthful of food and every sip of a drink count,
….each of the drinks mentioned is heavily promoted and whether you believe the claims or not – those with dysphagia see the same adverts we do. They may believe these claims, want to try them and see if they help – despite the criticism about these products and their high sugar levels.
Could these drinks therefore be a useful part of a dysphagia management strategy, improve compliance and the lives of those with dysphagia; physically and psychologically?
What do you think?
Mathew Done: MD and Founder