While oral rehydration therapy with glucose-electrolyte solutions is highly effective, the optimal formulation has not yet been defined. Recent clinical studies suggest that stool volume, and thus water losses, may be reduced if glucose is replaced by a polymeric substrate which reduces osmolality. It is possible that the efficacy of glucose monomer based oral rehydration solutions (ORS) will also improve if osmolality is decreased. Using jejunal triple lumen perfusion in healthy adult volunteers net water and solute absorption were studied from three hypotonic solutions with different sodium concentrations (46, 60, 75 mmol/l) but identical glucose concentrations (90 mmol/l), thus allowing osmolality to rise (210, 240, and 270 mOsm/kg, respectively). Results from these solutions (ORS 45:210, ORS 60:240, and ORS 75:270) were compared with the World Health Organisation oral rehydration solution (WHO-ORS). Greatest water absorption was seen with ORS 60:240 (p less than 0.01). Sodium absorption from ORS 60:240 and WHO-ORS was similar and greater than sodium absorption from ORS 45:210 (p less than 0.05). Potassium and glucose absorption were greater from ORS 60:240 than from any of the other hypotonic solutions (p less than 0.05) and were equal to absorption from WHO-ORS). These results in a short segment of healthy human jejunum suggest that hypotonic ORS containing monomeric glucose may increase water absorption.