The inert indicator, or random stool method of estimating intestinal absorption and digestion was originally used in animals to overcome difficulties involved in obtaining complete stool collections over prolonged periods of time. The rationale of this method was that, with uniform intestinal mixing, the ratio of a nonabsorbable indicator to a test substance in the food could be compared with the ratio in the stool. Absorption of the test substance could then be calculated from a single random stool specimen (vide infra).Chromium sesquioxide has been the indicator most commonly used in both animals and humans.1-9 In animal studies it was administered uniformly mixed with the food. Stools passed 24-48 hours after the start of test feeding showed homogenous mixing of the indicator with intestinal contents. Subsequent studies on humans showed that equally good intestinal mixing could be achieved if the indicator was given in capsules twice or
MACDOUGALL LG. Estimation of Fat Absorption From Random Stool Specimens: Measurement by Zirconium 95 and Iodine 131. Am J Dis Child. 1964;108(2):139–143. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1964.02090010141004
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