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Ann Nutr Metab. 2012;61(2):95-101.

Systematic review of randomized controlled trials: fiber supplements for abdominal pain-related functional gastrointestinal disorders in childhood.

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Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.



A lack of safe and reliable treatments for abdominal pain-related functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) has prompted interest in new therapies.


To systematically evaluate the effect of dietary fibers for treating abdominal pain-related FGIDs in children.


In December 2011, MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating fiber supplementation in children with FGIDs.


Only 3 RCTs were identified, which enrolled a total of 167 children and adolescents (5–17 years old) with recurrent abdominal pain. Only 1 study used the Rome III criteria. Patients were supplemented with different dietary fiber types for 4–6 weeks. The use of dietary fibers did not influence the proportion of responders to treatment, and improvement did not occur in reported clinically relevant outcomes such as no pain or a significant decrease in pain intensity (risk ratio 1.17, 95% confidence interval 0.75–1.81).


There is no evidence that supplementation with fiber as a dietary manipulation may be useful for treating children with FGIDs. However, one should not overlook the fact that the main limitation for recommendation of the routine fiber use in clinical practice derives from the weak quality and paucity of available studies.

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