Stefano Ginanni Corradini, Flaminia Ferri, Michela Mordenti, Luigi Iuliano, Maria Siciliano, Maria Antonella Burza, Bruno Sordi, Barbara Caciotti, Maria Pacini, Edoardo Poli, Adriano De Santis, Aldo Roda, Carolina Colliva, Patrizia Simoni, Adolfo Francesco Attili
AIM: To investigate the effect of drinking sulphate-bicarbonate-calcium thermal water (TW) on risk factors for atherosclerosis and cholesterol gallstone disease.
METHODS: Postmenopausal women with functional dyspepsia and/or constipation underwent a 12 d cycle of thermal (n = 20) or tap (n = 20) water controlled drinking. Gallbladder fasting volume at ultrasound, blood vitamin E, oxysterols (7-b-hydroxycholesterol and 7-ketocholesterol), bile acid (BA), triglycerides, total/low density lipoprotein and high density lipoprotein cholesterol were measured at baseline and at the end of the study. Food consumption, stool frequency and body weight were recorded daily.
RESULTS: Blood lipids, oxysterols and vitamin E were not affected by either thermal or tap water consumption. Fasting gallbladder volume was significantly (P < 0.005) smaller at the end of the study than at baseline in the TW (15.7 ± 1.1 mL vs 20.1 ± 1.7 mL) but not in the tap water group (19.0 ± 1.4 mL vs 19.4 ± 1.5 mL). Total serum BA concentration was significantly (P < 0.05) higher at the end of the study than at baseline in the TW (5.83 ± 1.24 μmol vs 4.25 ± 1.00 μmol) but not in the tap water group (3.41 ± 0.46 μmol vs 2.91 ± 0.56 μmol). The increased BA concentration after TW consumption was mainly accounted for by glycochenodeoxycholic acid. The number of pasta (P < 0.001), meat (P < 0.001) and vegetable (P < 0.005) portions consumed during the study and of bowel movements per day (P < 0.05) were significantly higher in the TW than in the tap water group. Body weight did not change at the end of the study as compared to baseline in both groups.
CONCLUSION: Sulphate-bicarbonate-calcium water consumption has a positive effect on lithogenic risk and intestinal transit and allows maintenance of a stable body weight despite a high food intake.
Gastroenterology Division, Department of Clinical Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome