Mango provides additional relief from chronic constipation

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COLLEGE STATION – A study led by Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists has shown consuming mango alleviates symptoms and associated biomarkers of constipation beyond an equivalent amount of fiber.

The study, “Polyphenol-rich Mango, Mangifera indica L., Ameliorate Functional Constipation Symptoms in Humans Beyond Equivalent Amount of Fiber,” can be found on PubMed.com at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29733520.

“Chronic constipation is a common gastrointestinal condition associated with intestinal inflammation and leads to a considerably impaired quality of life that affects about 20 percent of Americans,” said Dr. Susanne Talcott, principal investigator for the study and its corresponding author. Talcott is an associate professor in the nutrition and food science department of Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in College Station.

She said dietary fiber and laxatives aid in the treatment of constipation but do not address all symptoms, such as intestinal inflammation.

“We set out in our research to find out if mango, a fiber- and polyphenol-rich fruit, might provide anti-inflammatory effects related to constipation,” she said.

Drs. Stephen Talcott, Vinicius Venancio, Hyemee Kim and Maritza Sirven, also of the nutrition and food science department, provided additional support for the study. Additional contributors were Dr. Carmen Tekwe, an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at Texas A&M, College Station, and Gilson Honvoh, a doctoral student in that department.

To test their hypothesis, the team devised a study in which 300 grams of mango or the equivalent amount of fiber were consumed by otherwise healthy human volunteers with chronic constipation. Participants were randomly assigned to either group. Blood and fecal samples and digestive wellness questionnaires were collected at the beginning and end of the study.

Study results showed mango consumption significantly improved constipation status in terms of stool frequency, consistency and shape, as well as increased gastrin levels and fecal concentrations of short chain fatty acids. Short chain fatty acids are produced by the healthy intestinal microbiome and help reduce intestinal inflammation. Mango consumption also lowered endotoxin and interleukin 6 concentrations in plasma compared to the fiber treatment.

“In this pilot study, the consumption of mango is shown to improve symptoms and associated biomarkers of constipation beyond the same amount of fiber,” Susanne Talcott said. “However larger follow-up studies will be needed to investigate biomarkers for intestinal inflammation in more detail.”

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