Short-Term Daily Intake of Polydextrose Fiber Does Not Shorten Intestinal Transit Time in Constipated Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
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Chronic constipation (CC) remains a common gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that conveys a substantial healthcare burden. Expert guidelines recommend increasing fiber intake, yet the clinical evidence to support this needs strengthening for specific fibers. The aim was to evaluate changes in intestinal transit time and GI symptoms in CC patients who consumed polydextrose. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 128 adults with CC received 8 g or 12 g polydextrose, or placebo, daily for 4 weeks. Transit time, as primary outcome, was assessed by radiopaque marker distribution after 2-weeks intervention. Bowel habits, GI symptoms and quality of life (QOL) were assessed by questionnaire, including the Patient-Assessment of Constipation (PAC) Symptoms (SYM), and PAC-QOL. Following 2-weeks intervention, no reduction was seen in transit time in any group and following 2- or 4-weeks intervention, no improvements were seen in stool frequency or consistency in any group. After 2-weeks intervention with 8 g/day polydextrose an improvement was seen in the PAC-SYM rectal score (p = 0.041). After 4-weeks intervention both rectal (p = 0.049) and stool (p = 0.029) scores improved while improvement in the QOL satisfaction score did not reach significance (p = 0.071). Overall, the results suggest that 2-weeks consumption of 8 or 12 g/day polydextrose does not significantly improve physiological measures of gut function in CC adults. Longer term consumption may improve clinical measures, but further studies will be required to substantiate this.