Kiwifruit promotes laxation in the elderly

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2002;11(2):164-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-6047.2002.00287.x.


Numerous anecdotal reports have suggested that kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) has laxative effects. This could be an acceptable dietary supplement, especially for elderly people who often present with constipation. We wished to obtain objective evidence as to whether or not kiwifruit eaten regularly could promote laxation in elderly people. Thirty-eight healthy adults of age > 60 years consumed their normal diet, with or without one kiwifruit per 30 kg bodyweight for three weeks, followed by a 3-week crossover period. Daily records were taken on frequency of defecation and characteristics of the stools. Kiwifruit significantly enhanced all tested measures of laxation in these adults. The regular use of kiwifruit appeared to lead to a bulkier and softer stool, as well as more frequent stool production. Kiwifruit as a natural remedy appears palatable to most of the population and provides improved laxation for elderly individuals who are otherwise healthy. It is likely that a number of factors in the whole fruit are involved, but the nature of the stools suggest fibre is important. This study provides evidence of the potential for improvement in bowel function, health and well-being through changes in diet.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actinidia*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cathartics / administration & dosage*
  • Constipation / diet therapy*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Defecation / physiology
  • Feces
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Cathartics