Purpose: The present placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial aimed to investigate whether a natural mineral water rich in magnesium sulphate and sodium sulphate (Donat Mg) may help to improve bowel function.
Methods: A total of 106 otherwise healthy subjects with functional constipation were randomly assigned to consume 300 or 500 mL of a natural mineral water as compared to placebo water, over a course of 6 weeks. The 300-mL arms were terminated due to the results of a planned interim analysis. Subjects documented the complete spontaneous bowel movements, spontaneous and overall bowel movements/week, stool consistency, gastrointestinal symptoms and general well-being in a diary. Change in the number of complete spontaneous bowel movements was defined as the primary outcome.
Results: For the 75 subjects in the 500-mL arms, the change in the number of complete spontaneous bowel movements per week tended to be higher in the active group when compared to placebo after 6 weeks (T2 = 1.8; p value = 0.036; one-sided). The mean number of spontaneous bowel movements significantly increased over the course of the study, with significant differences between study arms considering the whole study time (F test = 4.743; p time × group = 0.010, 2-sided). Stool consistency of spontaneous bowel movements (p < 0.001) and the subjectively perceived symptoms concerning constipation (p = 0.005) improved significantly with the natural mineral water as compared to placebo.
Conclusions: The daily consumption of a natural mineral water rich in magnesium sulphate and sodium sulphate improved bowel movement frequency and stool consistency in subjects with functional constipation. Moreover, the subjects' health-related quality of life improved.
Clinical trial registration: EudraCT No 2012-005130-11.
Keywords: Bowel function; Clinical trial; Natural mineral water; Stool frequency and consistency.