Perspective from Christine Lee, MD
Disclosures: Chey reports no relevant financial disclosures.
June 08, 2021
1 min read

Kiwi fruit effectively relieves symptoms in chronic constipation

Perspective from Christine Lee, MD
Disclosures: Chey reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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Patients with chronic constipation who received kiwi fruit, prunes and psyllium reported relief in symptoms, according to a study published in American Journal of Gastroenterology.

“Patients are increasingly seeking evidence-based natural treatments for many medical conditions, including [chronic constipation (CC)],” Samuel W. Chey, MPH, from the University of Michigan and colleagues wrote. “Many patients believe that natural products are safer and less costly than prescription medications. Along these lines, so called ‘functional foodsare growing in popularity. This study confirms the benefits of prunes and psyllium and offer the first U.S. data for green kiwifruit as a safe, effective and well-tolerated treatment for a subset of patients with CC.”

Kiwi Fruit
Source: Adobe Stock.

Chey and colleagues randomly assigned 79 adults with chronic constipation at a U.S medical center to one of three natural treatments; complete data were available for 75 patients. For a 4-week period, 29 patients consumed two green kiwi fruit per day, 24 consumed 100 g of prunes per day and 22 consumed 12 g of psyllium per day. All eligible patients had three or less complete spontaneous bowel movements (CSBM). The proportion of patients in each group reporting an increase of one or more CSBM compared with baseline for at least 2 of 4 treatment weeks served as the primary endpoint. Other outcomes included stool frequency, stool consistency and straining evaluated daily. Investigators also measured treatment satisfaction and adverse events.

Proportions of complete spontaneous bowel movements were similar for the three treatments, according to the researchers.

“For secondary outcomes comparing treatment weeks 3 and 4 to baseline, there was a significant increase in weekly CSBM rate with all three treatments (P = .003); stool consistency significantly improved with kiwi fruit (P = .01) and prunes (P = .049); and straining significantly improved with kiwi fruit(P = .003), prunes (P < .001), and psyllium (P = .04),” the investigators wrote.

Bloating scores improved among patients assigned to kiwi fruit (P = .02). According to researchers, adverse events were most common with psyllium and least common kiwi fruit. When treatment ended, investigators noted fewer patients were dissatisfied with kiwi fruit vs. prunes or psyllium (P = .02).