Objective: To explore the effect of pectin, a kind of soluble dietary fiber, on colonic transit time (CTT), clinical symptoms and gut microbiota in adults with slow-transit constipation.
Methods: A total of 80 patients with slow-transit constipation were selected between June 2011 and December 2013. For this randomized controlled trial, we evaluated the efficacy of pectin on intestinal transit time and other indices of constipation in adults with slow-transit constipation. They were randomized to receive either pectin or placebo. Treatment consisted of 4-week supplementation with 24 g/d pectin (fiber group) or maltodextrin (placebo group). Before and after 4-week treatment, CTT, constipation symptoms and fecal bacterial population were compared between groups.
Results: CTT of the fiber group after treatment was lower than those of fiber group before treatment and those in the placebo group ((60.2 ± 11.2) h vs (80.3 ± 9.5), (79.4 ± 11.7) h, P < 0.01). Constipation score of the fiber group after treatment also decreased than those of fiber group before treatment and those in the placebo group (both P < 0.05). Bifidobacterium sp. and Lactobacillus sp. evidently increased (lg copies/g:8.26 ± 0.83 vs 6.42 ± 1.07 and 6.48 ± 0.82, 6.83 ± 0.77 vs 5.85 ± 0.64 and 5.91 ± 0.73; all P < 0.05) and total Clostridium sp. significantly decreased (9.07 ± 0.63 vs 9.74 ± 0.81 and 9.66 ± 0.43, P < 0.05) in the fiber group after treatment versus the placebo group. No significant adverse effects were reported.
Conclusions: Four-week soluble dietary fiber use accelerates colon transit time and alleviates clinical symptoms in patients with slow-transit constipation. Additionally, supplementary fiber offers protective effects on gut microbiota by increasing the population of healthy microflora.