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Mechanisms underlying effects of kiwifruit on intestinal function shown by MRI in healthy volunteers

Wilkinson-Smith, V.; Dellschaft, N.; Ansell, J.; Hoad, C.; Marciani, L.; Gowland, P.; Spiller, R.


V. Wilkinson-Smith

J. Ansell

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Professor of Gastrointestinal Imaging

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Professor of Gastroenterology


Background: Chronic constipation affects approximately 17% of the population worldwide and remains an important unmet need since patients are often dissatisfied with treatment. Kiwifruit may offer an alternative to traditional laxatives and have been shown to increase stool volume, frequency and improve consistency.
Aims: Using non-invasive MRI techniques, we assessed the effect of ingestion of kiwifruit on fluid distribution in the intestines and bowel function.
Methods: Two period crossover trial of kiwifruit versus control in healthy adults. Intervention: two kiwifruits twice daily vs isocaloric control (maltodextrin) twice daily, consumed for a total of three days. Subjects underwent MRI scanning fasted and at hourly intervals for 7 hours on the third day. Primary outcome: T1 relaxation time of ascending colon (T1AC) using MRI. Secondary outcomes: Small bowel water content (SBWC), colonic volume, gut transit time, T1 of descending colon, stool frequency and form.
Results: 14 volunteers completed the study. T1AC was higher after kiwifruit ingestion (P=0.029) during the second half of the day (when meal residue would be expected to reach the AC, T240-420 mins. SBWC (P less than 0.001), colon volumes (P=0.004), as well as stool frequency (P=0.034) and stool form (P=0.011) were increased in participants consuming kiwifruit compared to control.
Conclusion: Consumption of kiwifruit in healthy volunteers increases water retention in the small bowel and ascending colon and increases total colonic volume. The data may explain the observed increase in stool frequency and looser stool consistencies, suggesting that kiwifruit could be used as a dietary alternative to laxatives in mild constipation.


Wilkinson-Smith, V., Dellschaft, N., Ansell, J., Hoad, C., Marciani, L., Gowland, P., & Spiller, R. (2019). Mechanisms underlying effects of kiwifruit on intestinal function shown by MRI in healthy volunteers. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 49(6), 759-768.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 13, 2018
Online Publication Date Jan 31, 2019
Publication Date 2019-03
Deposit Date Jan 21, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 21, 2019
Journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Print ISSN 0269-2813
Electronic ISSN 1365-2036
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 6
Pages 759-768
Keywords Kiwifruit, Laxative, MRI, Constipation, Colon
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