PEG Tube Feedings: Healthy DIY Formulas

By Michelle Hamburger

Transitioning from eating-by-mouth to PEG tube feedings can be a difficult process, especially if patients or family members desire healthier alternatives to what hospitals and home care programs typically offer. The following paragraphs will highlight how to create your own PEG tube formula.

Before bringing your DIY formula plans to the hospital’s attention it is helpful to get a general idea of the total daily calories needed by the patient, as well as macronutrient breakdowns. Putting in the work ahead-of-time will show hospital staff you’ve done your research and are capable of providing for the patient.

A great online resource for calculating individual enteral nutrition needs is www.ClinCalc.com/Nutrition/EnteralNutrition. Enter the necessary Patient Parameters and, if desired, your Formulation-of-choice, then press calculate.

Below are images of an example enteral nutrition calculation and the results provided.

Calculator                                                 ClinCalc Results

PEG Tube Feedings - Healthy DIY Formulas 1     PEG Tube Feedings - Healthy DIY Formulas 2

The results are thorough and provide recommended hourly caloric requirements, instructions for dosing both water and food, breakdowns of formula macronutrients and how to manage both feed water and water flushes. Most hospitals should have no problems accepting this level of preparedness.

Do-it-yourself PEG formulas are not as daunting as they seem. With the right ingredients and a little creativity a DIY tube formula can be the most beneficial, life-saving addition to a patient’s entire hospital stay.

Below is a simple tube feeding recipe, which meets the average macronutrient standards found in most hospital settings. All supplements can be found on the Conners Clinic web store.

PEG Tube Feedings - Healthy DIY Formulas 3

Proteins & Carbohydrates

ProteinXYM

{Dosage 1 scoop per feeding} – ProteinXYM is a vegan protein blend of pea, pumpkin, brown rice and hemp. The powder also contains flax and chia seeds, probiotics and digestive enzymes, a vegetable blend and a superfood fruit blend. Each scoop contains 100 calories and is available in vanilla and chocolate flavors.

Greens First

{Dosage 1 scoop per feeding} – Greens First is a complete phytonutrient and antioxidant supplement that works synergistically in your body providing 49 different super foods, extracts and concentrates including super-greens, organic fruits & vegetables, probiotics, soluble and insoluble fibers, herbs, spices, natural flavonoids and digestive enzymes. Basically, it’s a fantastic multi-vitamin. Greens First comes in 2 flavors for adults: original and chocolate, and 3 flavors for kids: berry, chocolate and original. Each scoop contains 60 calories.

SunSpectrum

{Dosage 1 scoop per feeding} – SunSpectrum is a PREbiotic plus a probiotic, a natural fiber (SunFiber), a turmeric-based anti-inflammatory (Curcumin C3) and an excellent form of CoQ10 (Kaneka Q10). Each scoop contains 10 calories.

Healthy Plant-Based Fats

Liquid Coconut Oil

{Dosage 1 Tablespoon per feeding} – Liquid coconut oil, often labeled as fractionated coconut oil, is preferred over unrefined coconut oil because it remains in a liquified state. Unrefined coconut oil can coagulate at lower temperatures, which can gum-up feeding tubes, and it’s possible for fragments of coconut meat to be mixed in with the oil. Although unrefined CO is great because of it’s lowered processing, liquid CO will pass through feeding tubes better. A single tablespoon contains 130 calories, an excellent source of fat.

Unsweetened Nut/Hemp Milk

{Dosage 1 cup per feeding, minimum} – Each cup of milk supplies approximately 40-50 calories. Nut milks can easily be made at home, which improves the nutrient quality and likely the fat content. If the patient requires a smaller diameter peg tube, more milk [than 1 cup] can be added to thin the mixture. If purchasing nut/hemp milks at a grocery store, please focus on organic, non-gmo and as little sweetening as possible.

Avodaco, pureed

{Dosage ¼ cup per feeding} – Avocados blend easily into smoothie-like mixtures without clumping and they are an excellent source of healthy fat calories. A quarter cup of mashed avocado contains 90 calories, which is great for brain health and cell support.

Additional Supplement Support

A feeding tube is an excellent way to add extra supplements directly into the patient’s digestive tract. The following supplements are recommended based upon common hospital scenarios, and what hospital staff are often trying to manage with traditional prescriptions.

For Liver Support: Liver ND

{Dosage ½ teaspoon per feeding} – Liver-ND is a liquid herbal extract including Milk Thistle and Turmeric, that is designed to support liver detoxification.

To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections: UriCo Phytosynergist

{Dosage ½ teaspoon per feeding} – UriCo Phytosynergist is a great UTI preventor and contains a blend of herbs to support normal urinary system function. These herbs provide a range of compounds including mucilage, an essential oil (consisting mainly of the monoterpene diosphenol), flavonoids, caffeic acid derivatives (especially echinacoside and cynarin), alkylamides, triterpenoid saponins (especially glycyrrhizin) and other saponins. These key phytochemicals and other compounds within this herbal formulation work to support healthy mucous membranes within the urinary tract, support healthy urinary tract function, maintain healthy urinary tract tissue, support healthy prostate tissue and stimulate the immune system.

To Reduce Pain and Help Patients Rest: Evolv Entourage CBD

{Dosage ½ Dropper per feeding} – Evolv Entourage CBD is a ground-breaking proprietary blend of Phytocannabinoid Rich Hemp Oil, terpenes and immune modulating Acemannan to help the body’s management of mood, memory, sleep and joint health. Evolv’s nano-sized Broad Spectrum Hemp Oil is converted to water compatible molecules, which increases absorption 5-7 times over the competition.

To Support Heart/Immune Health & Improve Mineral Absorption: Restore ADEK2

{Dosage ½ Dropper per feeding} – A vitamin D supplement which also contains the other fat-soluble vitamins A, E and K, which improves vitamin D and other mineral absorption.

Using this DIY formula, loose estimations would show that 5 feedings of approximately 440 calories over the course of 10 hours would provide more than 2,000 calories of high-quality nutrients each day (plus immune support, plus pain support, plus digestive support). As one can see, making your own formulas could potentially be the best of all options available.

FILTERED WATER

It’s important to address filtered water. Many hospitals do have water filtration systems, but most hospitals still default to tap water for their patients. Conners Clinic recommends either reverse osmosis filtration or steam distilled water. These options will remove harmful contaminants from patients’ systems, reducing their toxic burden and aiding in nutrient absorption.

Ultimately, each family or caretaker has to do what is feasible and affordable for their circumstances. Each of these recommendations are to help ease the transition to feeding tubes in a way that honors many patients’ current dietary restrictions and long-term health goals.

Michelle Hamburger was a former patient at Conners Clinic, and currently operates as the lead Clinical Kinesiologist and distance program director. For more information on Conners Clinic, please visit www.ConnersClinic.com.