Role of dietary fibre in older adults with asymptomatic (AS) or symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease (SUDD): Systematic review and meta-analysis

Fiona Eberhardt, Megan Crichton, Camilla Dahl, Romina Nucera, Julie Jenkins, Wolfgang Marx, Skye Marshall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Dietary fibre and probiotics may play a role in the management of diverticular disease. This systematic review synthesises the evidence on the effects of dietary fibre modifications, with or without the use of probiotics, on the incidence in older adults of asymptomatic (AS) or symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease (SUDD), as well as on gastrointestinal function and symptoms. Five electronic databases were searched for studies through to December 2018. The body of evidence was appraised using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool and GRADE. Nine studies were included, with mean sample ages ranging from 57 to 70 years, and three meta-analyses were performed. Only one study, with high risk of bias, measured the effect of dietary fibre on the incidence of diverticulitis. Dietary fibre supplementation improved stool weight (MD: 42 g/day, P < 0.00001; GRADE level of evidence: low), but had no significant effect on gastrointestinal symptoms (SMD: –0.13, P = 0.16; GRADE level of evidence: low) or stool transit time (MD: –3.70, P = 0.32 GRADE level of evidence: low). There was “very low” confidence for the body of evidence supporting symbiotics for AS or SUDD. A high dietary fibre intake, in line with dietary guidelines, may improve gastrointestinal function and is recommended in patients with AS or SUDD. Dietary fibre supplementation should be considered on an individualised basis to improve bowel function, while any recommendation on symbiotic supplements requires further well-designed research. Future studies should also measure the impact on the incidence of diverticulitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

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