Maximizing Nutrient Absorption from Spinach Smoothies?


I often wonder how much nutrition I would keep in my system from the spinach smoothies I consume every morning. They are very liquid and seem to exit quickly via the pouch. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks. Penguins7

NJ Bain


As a fellow ileostomate, I would guess that you're not getting a lot of nutritional value from the smoothies but I'm sure it doesn't hurt to get some nutrition from them. Spinach smoothies to my knowledge, are a great source of vitamin K and C. I believe that vitamin K is mostly absorbed by the large intestine.

But our bodies do adjust to missing a large intestine. I wouldn't stop drinking the smoothies. I would probably eat something along with it that slows down your output like graham crackers or cereal. And maybe drink one twice a day just to be sure your body is absorbing as much nutrition as possible. Just my 2 cents.


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Hi Penguins!

I have been wondering the very same thing and have done some research and asked a few doctors. The general consensus is that the nutrients are primarily absorbed in the small intestine, so theoretically we (ileos) should be fine. Coated and time-released medications may be a problem. I was advised to, like Bain mentioned, have smaller portions - more often. Also, it's better if you sip rather than drink the smoothie, water, or any liquid. I always have 2 or 3 drinks going, interchanging water with Propel (for the electrolytes) and sometimes cranberry juice.

Bain also suggested slowing the output with crackers or cereal. I've tried a little of everything but have found that pretzels (which I don't care for) and applesauce work the best. Another pointer was, of course, Imodium or Metamucil -- up to a tablespoon in 4 ounces of water... opposite of what is prescribed for constipation. Now a week or so after my questions to the doctor, she did a blood panel and all vitamin levels were spot on!! It actually surprised me because I feel SOOOoooo exhausted.

Oh, one thought to consider is how spinach usually affects you, such as a laxative. I found that out the hard way... I went on a 5-day camping trip where a tub of red licorice was always out. I was wondering why I was having outrageous output, then DUH. I quit munching the licorice and everything went back to normal.

Now I am trying to find out how the Vagus Nerve is affected because of interrupting the digestive system :)

I'm sure you'll find your sweet spot... everyone is different.

Here's to good health! Vicki


My doctor told me that almost all of digestion occurs in the small intestine, and the colon's job is mostly to remove liquid to "package" the remains for exit. So unless you are also missing some small intestine, you are most likely processing all you need. That might not be all of the nutrition in the smoothie, because if it represents more than your body actually needs, your body will just exit the excess.

It is amazing how quickly food can exit your system sometimes. In the case of the smoothie, it could be that it contains way more of certain nutrients than your body needs, so your body just moves it along quickly.


Big Al, thanks for your note and I will definitely keep drinking the spinach smoothies. Popeye would be proud of me! Stay well. Penguins7

Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister

Hello NJ, thanks for your note and I will continue with the smoothies. Great idea with something to slow output. Stay well. Penguins7


Hello Vicki, thanks so much for your counsel on this subject. Interesting info that nutrients are absorbed through the small intestine as mine is still in place. I travel a lot on airplanes and the pretzels are a great idea to slow output. Keep plowing forward! Penguins7

Past Member

I myself am having trouble with my ileostomy and absorption, actually past year have lost a ton of weight become malnourished, seems everything I do I have an issue, I do have major problems with scar tissue in my abdomen due to endometriosis from a very early age, so looking for advice on anything to blend, I just had a horrific CT scan done still extremely sore, I'm sure you all know the barium ez CT scan drink, rectal contrast, IV contrast be getting results this week, have gone from someone who drank 1/2 cases of water a week to not being thirsty/hungry at all so in hospital a lot for dehydration IV banana bag vitamins and fluids, they think I'm having a fistula to the rectal stump possibly to the ureters, anyone ever had this post 10-year-old ileostomy please anything is helpful... I'm looking for friends any age 1/100, I'm in my 50's... a Texas girl first time on here....