A daily 5.5 gram dose of Kivia powder by New Zealand’s Vital Food Processors Ltd. was associated with a reduction in abdominal pain and flatulence in subjects with occasional constipation, according to findings published in the Nutrition Journal.
While the exact mechanism of action is still to be elucidated, researchers led by Dr Jay Udani at Medicus Research note that kiwifruit extract is rich in enzymes able to aid in digestion, as well as potential prebiotics which may enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
“Improvements were noted in the number of bowel movements, with increased bowel movements in the group using the studied extract,” they wrote. “There were also improvements observed in bowel health and stool formation.
“This suggests that Kivia powder improved bowel habits in this group of subjects.”
Justus Homburg, from Vital Food Processors Ltd, told NutraIngredients-USA that the product was launched in New Zealand in 2007, where it has become a key market leader in the digestive health segment, and in Australia in 2012, where the product has enjoyed a successful market launch.
Kivia currently is available in three formulations: a water-soluble powder that end-users mix with a small amount of water and drink; an easy-to-swallow capsule; and a chewable tablet, added Homburg.
While the Kivia is not commercially available in the US, the company is evaluating alternative approaches to commercializing the product in the US and elsewhere in the world.
“The powder to which the Medicus research project refers is actually a specific formulation for end-user applications. The powder is not an active ingredient to be used in different applications or in different products,” he explained.
Dr Udani and his co-workers recruited 87 people with occasional constipation to participate in their randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either the Kivia product or placebo daily for four weeks.
Results showed that the Kivia group experienced significant increases in spontaneous bowel movements at every week, compared to data from the start of the study. Significant differences were also observed between the kiwifruit extract group and placebo at weeks 3 and 4.
In addition, significant increases were recorded between the active and placebo groups for complete spontaneous bowel movements.
Dr Udani and his co-workers found that abdominal discomfort or pain was significantly reduced in the kiwifruit group, as was flatulence. Finally, bowel movements in the Kivia group were found to be significantly smoother and softer by the second week of the trial.
“Treatment with Kivia powder, an extract of kiwifruit containing Zyactinase, for four weeks was well tolerated and more effective than placebo in gently enhancing bowel movement frequency and reducing abdominal pain and flatulence in subjects with occasional constipation,” they concluded.
Expanding the clinical trial foundation
Homburg confirmed that one study is currently underway and there is another set to start recruiting patients before the end of this year.
“Clinical development has been and will continue to be a very important element to our product development and commercialization efforts,” said Homburg. “Underpinning Kivia’s development are, in addition to the study Dr Udani executed on Vital Foods’ behalf, several open-label studies and two randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded studies. Both the study currently underway and the one we expect to start later this year are randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded trials.
“While we can always do better, we are pleased with our developing understanding of how the product works and what it does as well as our expanding clinical trial foundation, one on which we continue to build through the assistance of organizations such as Medicus Research, to support the product.
“The focus of the current and future clinical trial efforts will be to expand on the product’s positioning and support the benefits provided by the product with clinical data.”
Source: Nutrition Journal
“Effects of kivia powder on Gut health in patients with occasional constipation: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study”
Authors: J.K. Udani, D.W. Bloom