Background/aims: Constipation is one of the most prevalent gastrointestinal complaints. High fiber intake is recommended as an initial therapy for constipation. Ear mushroom is known to have higher fiber contents about 50% than other mushroom. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of fiber supplements using ear mushrooms on the improvement of functional constipation.
Methods: We conducted a double blind study with 3 groups (placebo, ear mushrooms alone, and ear mushrooms with additives including cascara sagrada, etc.), which were randomly assigned out of 34 patients with functional constipation, defined by modified Rome II criteria. Number of bowel movement, straining, sense of incomplete evacuation, stool consistency, satisfactory relief, abdominal pain/discomfort and colon transit time were evaluated and analyzed before, during and after the treatment.
Results: Both ear mushrooms alone and ear mushrooms with additives significantly improved number of bowel movement, straining, sense of incomplete evacuation, stool consistency and satisfactory relief in patients with functional chronic constipation (p<0.05). Although the use of ear mushrooms with additives was found to be more effective on the improvement of constipation than ear mushrooms alone, it may induce abdominal discomfort or pain.
Conclusions: In patients with functional constipation, fiber supplements using ear mushrooms significantly improved constipation related symptoms without serious side effect.