Japanese apricot improves symptoms of gastrointestinal dysmotility associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease

World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Jul 14;21(26):8170-7. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i26.8170.


Aim: To investigate the effects of Japanese apricot (JA) consumption on gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)-related symptoms.

Methods: Participants included individuals living in Minabe-cho, a well-known JA-growing region, who received specific medical check-ups by the local community health service in 2010. GERD-related symptoms were examined in 1303 Japanese individuals using a validated questionnaire, the Frequency Scale for Symptoms of GERD (FSSG), which consists of 7 questions associated with acid reflux symptoms and 5 questions asking about gastrointestinal dysmotility symptoms. Each question was answered using a 4-point scale, with higher scores indicating more severe GERD-related symptoms. Subjects were divided into two groups according to their intake of dried and pickled JA: daily intake (≥ 1 JA daily) (392 subjects) and none or occasional intake (< 1 JA daily) (911 subjects). FSSG scores were compared between subjects who consumed JA daily and those who did not. Next, subjects were stratified by age, gender and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) status for subanalyses.

Results: Those who ate JA daily were significantly older than those who did not (60.6 ± 10.5 years vs 56.0 ± 11.0 years, P < 0.001). Total FSSG scores were significantly lower in subjects with daily JA intake than in those with none or only occasional intake (2.13 ± 3.14 vs 2.70 ± 3.82, P = 0.005). In particular, subjects who consumed JA daily showed significantly improved FSSG dysmotility scores compared with subjects who did not (1.05 ± 1.58 vs 1.46 ± 2.11, P < 0.001). In contrast, the FSSG reflux score did not differ between subjects with and without daily intake of JA (1.08 ± 1.90 vs 1.24 ± 2.11, P = 0.177). Subanalysis indicated that improvement in dysmotility by JA intake was specifically observed in non-elderly (1.24 ± 1.68 vs 1.62 ± 2.22, P = 0.005) and H. pylori-negative subjects (0.99 ± 1.58 vs 1.57 ± 2.06, P < 0.001). GERD patients (total FSSG score ≥ 8) were less frequently observed among subjects with daily intake of JA as compared to those without daily intake of JA (6.1% vs 9.7%, P = 0.040).

Conclusion: Daily JA intake may improve digestive dysmotility symptoms, resulting in relief of GERD symptoms. The effect is more obvious in non-elderly and H. pylori-negative subjects.

Keywords: Dysmotility; Frequency Scale for Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease; Gastroesophageal reflux disease; Japanese apricot; Umeboshi.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Diet*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diet therapy*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Gastrointestinal Motility*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Prunus*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome