Eating Kiwifruit Effectively Relieves Constipation and Abdominal Discomfort

Other components of kiwifruit, for example raphides, may alter mucin production, leading to improved laxation.

Daily consumption of 2 green kiwifruits per day reduces constipation and relieves abdominal discomfort in those with functional constipation (FC) and constipation-dominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C), according to study findings published in American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Researchers conducted a 16-week, prospective, single-blinded, multicenter, randomized controlled trial. A total of 184 study participants were enrolled in the study between June 12, 2014, and June 17, 2017. They were randomly assigned into 2 groups: the intervention group, which consumed 2 green kiwifruits daily and the control group who received 7.5 grams of psyllium — both of which provided equivalent amounts of dietary fiber around 6 grams. There were 60 patients with FC, 61 patients with IBS-C, and 63 healthy control participants

Researchers analyzed the effects of daily consumption of 2 green kiwifruits on number of weekly bowel movements and abdominal comfort as indicated on the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS).

Participants followed their respective diets for 4 weeks followed by a 4-week washout, which was then followed by the opposite treatment for another 4 weeks for crossover analysis. Results after each 4-week phase at weeks 4, 8, 12, and 16 were analyzed. Over 90% of the participants fully completed the study and dietary compliance was over 80% based on food diary entries.

Fiber found in kiwifruit cell walls has a large swelling and water-holding capacity in vitro, which can lead to stool softening and increased stool frequency.

Daily consumption of 2 green kiwifruits resulted in a clinically relevant increase in 1.5 or more complete spontaneous bowel movements per week in both the patients with FC (mean number of increased weekly bowel movements, 1.53; P <.0001) and those with IBS-C (mean number of increased weekly bowel movements, 1.73; P =.0003), and both constipation groups combined (mean, 1.69; P <.0001)

Notably, when comparing kiwifruit to psyllium, kiwifruit demonstrated significantly greater effects on weekly bowel movement number than psyllium in the combined constipation groups (P =.038).

Kiwifruit consumption also significantly reduced GSRS scores compared with baseline scores for patients with FC (P <.0001) and IBS-C (P <.0001) as well as the 2 constipation groups combined (P <.0001). In contrast, psyllium intervention only significantly improved constipation scores on the GSRS in the IBS-C (P <.0001) and combined constipation (P <.0001) groups, but not in the FC group (P =.0544).

When comparing kiwifruit with psyllium, kiwifruit consumption correlated with greater improvements in constipation symptoms in patients with FC (P =.026) and in the combined constipation group (P =.0237) as well as indigestion scores in the FC group (P =.0425) and the combined constipation group (P =.0047).

Study limitations included the inability to blind study participants and the relatively short treatment duration of 4 weeks, although this minimized the effect of the menstrual cycle on female participants which may have influenced findings.

“Fiber found in kiwifruit cell walls has a large swelling and water-holding capacity in vitro, which can lead to stool softening and increased stool frequency,” the study authors conclude.

This article originally appeared on Gastroenterology Advisor