JAPAN: A brief communication published in the American Journal of GASTROENTEROLOGY determined prune juice’s effectiveness on chronic constipation and concluded it to be a “safe” and “natural” effective therapy.
Laxatives used for chronic constipation treatment have many side effects, and efficacy remains insufficient. Natural food treatments are the most beneficial, safe and prevalent despite drug treatment.
Prune has a potent ameliorating effect on constipation, but data on this subject remains limited. Some studies report its beneficial effects, while some relate it to side effects like abdominal discomfort and diarrhoea.
Considering this, a study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Taishi et al, MS, from the Institute for Health Science from MIKI Corporation and the Department of Gastroenterological Endoscopy from Tokyo Medical University, Japan, to evaluate the effectiveness of prune juice consumption on chronic constipation in Japanese subjects for stool consistency and subjective complaints of constipation symptoms.
The study points are:
• Eighty-four study participants were enrolled, aged 20–75 years and had symptoms of treatment-naive chronic constipation.
• The criterion was based on Rome IV as fewer than three bowel movements per week. The hard stool was defined by the BSFS score (1 or 2), for the past three months, with the onset of symptoms (at least six months earlier).
• There were two groups: the prune juice group and the placebo group, and subjects were randomly allocated to these groups.
• Subjects consumed 54 g of each test food per day for eight weeks.
• The placebo had the flavour, colour, and taste of prune juice.
• To check constipation improvement, Stool consistency by BSFS and GSRS were assessed.
• Stool consistency was recorded every week.
• After starting intake, GSRS measurements were made at baseline, four weeks, and eight weeks.
• Blood and urine tests were performed at baseline and post-intake periods.
• No significant differences in baseline characteristics were recorded between the groups.
• The rate of hard and lumpy stools (BSFS 1 or 2) was significantly reduced in the prune juice group from baseline. The results obtained were comparatively lower than the placebo after three weeks.
• There was an increased rate of normal stools from baseline, and it was significantly higher than the placebo group after three weeks.
• There was no significant change in rates of loose and watery stools (BSFS 5, 6, or 7) during the study period.
• At weeks 4 and 8, in the prune juice group, there was a significant decrease in constipation, hard stools and flatulence scores.
• At week 8, the prune juice group recorded significant differences in constipation and hard stools.
• There were no adverse events or abnormal laboratory findings recorded.
The researchers wrote that the hard stool rate significantly decreased after three weeks, while a normal stool after seven weeks of prune juice intake was significantly increased.”
No previous studies have focused on the alteration of BSFS score. The persistence of BSFS 4 correlates with life quality. Our study underlines that improving stool shape in ≤4 weeks is imperative, but life quality determination occurs after at least eight weeks.
They finally wrote that prune juice is safe without any adverse events and could be used continuously and safely by those with chronic constipation.
In our study, the prune juice we used contained abundant sorbitol, which improves constipation. Prune juice contains dietary fibre, pectin, and polyphenols, as well, and these also improve constipation. So we suppose that these effects of prune juice were obtained due to the combination of sorbitol, pectin, and polyphenol. They said.
We did not score the emergence of bloating, and this could be one limitation of our study, they mentioned.
As acknowledged, the study was partially funded by MIKI Corporation.
Koyama et al.Prune Juice Containing Sorbitol, Pectin, and Polyphenol Ameliorates Subjective Complaints and Hard Feces While Normalizing Stool in Chronic Constipation: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. The American Journal of Gastroenterology: October 2022 – Volume 117 – Issue 10 – p 1714-1717