A high-fibre personalised dietary advice given via a web tool reduces constipation complaints in adults

Iris Rijnaarts*, Nicole M. de Roos, Taojun Wang, Erwin G. Zoetendal, Jan Top, Marielle Timmer, Koen Hogenelst, Emily P. Bouwman, Ben Witteman, Nicole de Wit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Constipation can greatly impact the quality of life (QoL), which can be relieved by dietary fibres; however, preserving a higher fibre intake remains a challenge. We investigated the effects of a personalised dietary advice (PDA) on fibre intake and mild constipation complaints. A total number of twenty-five adults with mild constipation complaints were included in a 4-week observation period followed by a 4-week personalised intervention. The PDA provided high-fibre alternatives via a web tool. In weeks 1, 4 and 8, dietary intake, constipation complaints and QoL were assessed. Furthermore, participants collected a faecal sample at weeks 1, 4 and 8 to determine microbiota diversity and composition, and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). Participants completed questions daily for 8 weeks regarding abdominal complaints, stool frequency and stool consistency. Fibre intake in week 8 was significantly higher compared to week 1 (Δ = 5·7 ± 6·7 g, P < 0·001) and week 4 (Δ = 5·2 ± 6·4 g, P < 0·001). Constipation severity and QoL significantly improved at week 8 compared to the observation period (P < 0·001). A higher fibre intake significantly reduced constipation severity (β = -0·031 (-0·05; -0·01), P = 0·001) and the QoL (β = -0·022 (-0·04; -0·01), P = 0·009). Stool consistency (P = 0·040) and abdominal pain (P = 0·030) improved significantly during the intervention period (P = 0·040), but stool frequency did not. Average microbial alpha diversity and composition and SCFA concentrations did not change over time, but indicated individual-specific dynamics. Several SCFAs were associated with constipation complaints. To conclude, a PDA effectively increased fibre intake and subsequently reduced constipation complaints, indicating that guided dietary adjustments are important and feasible in the treatment of mild constipation complaints.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere31
JournalJournal of Nutritional Science
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2022


  • Constipation
  • Dietary fibre
  • Functional bowel disorders
  • Personalised nutrition
  • Quality of life


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