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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2013 September;172(9):713-5


language: Italian

Use of functional supplements for the improvement of constipation in subjects institutionalized

Pregliasco F. 1, 2, Giardini G. 1, Grisetti R. 1, Cimarelli L. 1, Rognoni C. 1, Degnoni V. 2

1 Fondazione Istituto Sacra Famiglia Onlus Cesano Boscone, Milano, Italia; 2 Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche per la Salute, Università degli Studi di Milano Milano, Italia


Aim: Constipation is a common disorder in western countries; it is estimated that 20% of the general population suffers from it and it is also an important and chronic problem among institutionalized subjects. Particularly in those subjects with severe mental retardation associated with motor deficits, if not adequately addressed, constipation can be a source of complications. Food supplements (medical food containing apple pulp, lactulose and fiber) are now available. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the usefulness of these supplements in improving intestinal motility.
Methods: This was a double-blind study versus placebo (apple pulp). Forty-five residents of a Residential Health for disabled with mental retardation and severe disabilities who presented a clinical picture of constipation were included. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of supplementation of a food supplement of the latest generation on constipation, considering both the frequency and stool consistency during 30 days of treatment.
Results: Forty-five patients have eaten a snack supplement regularly, without differences between the two types of product administered. Subjects who ate the supplement have achieved an improvement in the observation period with an increase in the number of discharges in 68.9% of subjects, with a statistically significant increase in the average monthly discharges from 11.02% to 14.53% and a reduction of enemas in 35.6% of the subjects (even if not statistically significant number).
Conclusion: The preliminary data obtained have shown objective evaluable benefits.

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