KANTVIK, FinlandScientists at DuPont Nutrition & Health determined lactitol’s ability to relieve constipation through a meta-analysis of 11 clinical studies involving 663 patients. (Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology. 2014, Jul; (7) 241-248.)
Researchers reported no significant difference when comparing the efficacy of lactitol with lactulose, one of the most commonly used osmotic laxatives. However, lactitol does show a tendency to increase stool frequency, the analysis concludes. The evidence, although limited, further suggests that lactitol is superior to stimulant laxatives.
"The study documents what has long been suspected – that lactitol relieves the symptoms of constipation," said Arthur Ouwehand, research manager at DuPont Nutrition & Health and one of the scientists behind the study. “Importantly, it shows that lactitol is very well tolerated."
The meta-analysis is of interest to manufacturers of pharmaceutical and over-the counter medicines targeting the many adultsup to 27 percentwho regularly suffer from constipation.
At DuPont, which manufactures its own brand of lactitol under the OsmoAid(TM) brand, it is hoped the findings will encourage further research into the use of lactitol as a constipation treatment.
“We know that current treatment options provide insufficient relief for around half of patients," said DuPont scientist Julia Tennilä, who also worked on the meta-analysis. “While the efficacy of a daily dose of 10 to 20 g lactitol has been proven, there is still a need for more research into the effects of long-term lactitol use.
OsmoAid Lactitol is a disaccharide sugar alcohol approved by the FAO and WHO as an ingredient for use in food products and dietary supplements, which is also approved by several pharmaceutical authorities as an osmotic laxative. Its gentle action makes it suitable for all age groups. Additional studies suggest lactitol may also provide relief from adult constipation attributable to surgery or hospitalization.
Earlier this year, DuPont also introduced ingredients for child nutrition.