Putative mechanisms of kiwifruit on maintenance of normal gastrointestinal function

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018;58(14):2432-2452. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1327841. Epub 2017 Aug 14.


Kiwifruits are recognized as providing relief from constipation and symptoms of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C). However, the underlying mechanisms, specifically in regards to gastrointestinal transit time and motility, are still not completely understood. This review provides an overview on the physiological and pathophysiological processes underlying constipation and IBS-C, the composition of kiwifruit, and recent advances in the research of kiwifruit and abdominal comfort. In addition, gaps in the research are highlighted and scientific studies of other foods with known effects on the gastrointestinal tract are consulted to find likely mechanisms of action. While the effects of kiwifruit fiber are well documented, observed increases in gastrointestinal motility caused by kiwifruit are not fully characterized. There are a number of identified mechanisms that may be activated by kiwifruit compounds, such as the induction of motility via protease-activated signaling, modulation of microflora, changes in colonic methane status, bile flux, or mediation of inflammatory processes.

Keywords: IBS; Kiwifruit; actinidin; constipation; kissper; motility.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actinidia / metabolism*
  • Constipation / prevention & control*
  • Digestion / physiology*
  • Fruit / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / prevention & control*