It is well known that dietary fiber helps to relieve and prevent constipation, and there are a number of scientific papers, including systematic reviews and meta-analyses on the effects of naturally derived dietary fiber on bowel movements. In recent years, there has been an increase in the manufacture of dietary fiber ingredients obtained from food raw materials, and these are now commonly available in the market. Resistant maltodextrin (RMD), a soluble dietary fiber, is manufactured from starch, and industrially produced soluble dietary fiber is used worldwide. While there are many reports on the effects of RMD on bowel movements, no systematic review or meta-analysis has been reported. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to clarify the effect of RMD on bowel movements based on stool frequency and stool volume. We also investigated the subjective evaluation of RMD effects on bowel movements. Of a total of 314 potentially relevant articles, 28 articles met the eligibility criteria, and 29 randomized controlled trials were identified. As a result of integration analyses, we found that the intake of RMD significantly increased stool volume and stool frequency compared with placebo intake. Furthermore, RMD intake tended to improve sensation of complete/incomplete evacuation. In conclusion, the evidence suggests that RMD has a positive effect on bowel movements, contributing to normal bowel function. This finding will help in the development of new criteria for choice of dietary fiber in the process of developing food products.
Keywords: bowel movement; dietary fiber; meta-analysis; resistant maltodextrin; systematic review.