Background/aims: Functional dyspepsia is a major problem in terms of prevalence and drug-therapy expenditures. In dyspeptic patients the symptoms are frequently caused by delayed gastric emptying. Conventional treatment is often inefficient. Mineral-water supplementation is prescribed for the treatment of this condition, but there is no concrete proof of its actual efficacy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of supplementation with mineral waters with high mineral salt contents (Acqua Tettuccio, Acqua Regina, Montecatini Terme) on gastric emptying of solids and symptoms in patients with functional dyspepsia.
Methodology: Eight patients with functional dyspepsia and two healthy (non-dyspeptic) controls were placed on high-mineral-content water supplementation (500 cc/day) for eight days. Before and after completion of the supplementation treatment, patient symptoms were scored and the 13C-octanoic-acid breath test was administered to assess gastric emptying.
Results: After the treatment, the dyspeptic subjects presented clear decreases in parameters of gastric emptying (half time and lag time) as well as an improvement in symptom scores.
Conclusions: Health spa treatments based on consumption of waters with a high content of mineral salts seem to be capable of improving gastric emptying of solids in dyspeptics. Longer and longitudinal studies are needed to verify the persistence of this effect.