Can apple juice Get rid of constipation?

Constipation is a common condition affecting people of all ages. It occurs when stool passes through the large intestine too slowly, becoming hard, dry and difficult to eliminate. Constipation has many possible causes, including poor diet, lack of exercise, various medications, altered bowel habits, and certain medical conditions. While it’s usually temporary, constipation can disrupt daily life and cause significant discomfort. Fortunately, there are many remedies that can help get things moving again.

What is Constipation?

Constipation refers to infrequent, difficult, or incomplete bowel movements. Someone is considered constipated if they have fewer than three bowel movements per week or stools are hard, dry and difficult to pass. Other symptoms of constipation include:

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Feeling like you can’t completely empty the bowels
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Small, hard stools
  • A sense of rectal blockage
  • Using manual maneuvers to facilitate bowel movements, like applying pressure to the abdomen

Occasional constipation is very common and usually the result of simple dietary or lifestyle factors. However, chronic constipation persisting for weeks or longer can indicate an underlying medical condition and should be evaluated by a doctor.

Causes of Constipation

There are many potential causes of constipation, including:

  • Low Fiber Diet – Fiber adds bulk to stool and helps move it through the colon. Low fiber diets cause stool to become hard and dry.
  • Dehydration – Adequate fluid intake is necessary to keep stool soft. Dehydration leads to hard, difficult to pass stool.
  • Lack of Exercise – Physical activity helps stimulate the bowel and pelvic muscles.
  • Medications – Iron supplements, antacids, blood pressure medications, narcotics, antidepressants.
  • Ignoring the Urge to Defecate – This causes stool to remain in the colon longer, removing more fluid.
  • Stress and Anxiety – These can disrupt natural bowel motor function and cause constipation.
  • Travel or Schedule Changes – Interrupting daily routines can affect natural bowel rhythms.
  • Certain Medical Conditions – Diabetes, thyroid disease, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome.

Treatment Options for Constipation

There are many natural laxatives and home remedies that can stimulate bowel movements and provide constipation relief. Common options include:

  • Increasing Fiber Intake – Consuming more high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
  • Staying Hydrated – Drinking plenty of water and fluids like juice, herbal tea, broths.
  • Exercising Regularly – Physical activity helps move stool through the colon.
  • Establishing Bathroom Routines – Going at the same time each day trains the body.
  • Probiotics – These healthy gut bacteria aid digestion and regularity.
  • Magnesium Supplements – Magnesium helps relax muscles and draw water into the stool.
  • Stool Softeners – Soften and loosen stool to make it easier to pass.
  • Laxatives – Stimulant, bulk-forming and osmotic laxatives promote bowel movements.
  • Enemas – Use liquid solutions to stimulate a bowel movement.

Can Apple Juice Relieve Constipation?

Many people find that drinking apple juice provides quick and effective relief from constipation. There are a few reasons why apple juice seems to help get things moving:

  • Fiber – Apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that acts as a mild natural laxative.
  • Fluids – The liquid content helps soften stool while providing hydration.
  • Sorbitol – Apple juice contains sorbitol, a sugar alcohol with laxative effects.
  • Stimulation – The nutrients, acids and enzymes in apple juice may stimulate digestion.

Research looking at the effects of apple juice on constipation is limited. However, some studies have shown promising results:

  • A study in elderly patients found that drinking 200mL of apple juice three times per day increased bowel movements.
  • Another study gave patients with neurogenic bowel either apple juice or a polyethylene glycol solution. Apple juice increased bowel movement frequency and improved consistency.
  • Multiple studies have found sorbitol, a component of apple juice, to have a laxative effect and increase bowel movements.

While evidence is still preliminary, apple juice appears to be an easy, safe and inexpensive home remedy to try for relief from occasional constipation.

How Much Apple Juice Should You Drink?

There isn’t a standardized amount of apple juice that is recommended for constipation. Some general guidelines include:

  • Drink one glass (8 ounces or 250mL) of apple juice per day when constipated. The sorbitol it contains acts as a laxative.
  • Consume apple juice twice per day, such as 8oz with breakfast and 8oz with dinner.
  • Slowly increase apple juice intake if needed, up to three 8oz glasses spread throughout the day.
  • Drink one glass (about 6-8oz) of warm or room temperature apple juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

It’s best to stick to no more than 24-32oz (700-950mL) of apple juice per day when trying to relieve constipation. Consuming very large amounts can lead to diarrhea in some people.

Apple juice takes about 8-12 hours to move through the digestive tract and have an effect. So try drinking a glass with a meal one day, then seeing if you have a bowel movement the next morning.

You can combine apple juice with other high-fiber foods or laxative supplements to enhance its effectiveness. Some options include:

  • Whole grain cereal or oatmeal made with apple juice instead of milk
  • Apple juice blended with protein powder, yogurt, fruit and spinach/kale
  • Prune juice mixed with apple juice – both have laxative components
  • Warm apple juice with lemon juice and honey
  • Fiber supplement like Metamucil taken with apple juice

Other Benefits of Apple Juice

In addition to relieving constipation, drinking apple juice provides several other health benefits:

  • Antioxidants – Apples contain polyphenols and vitamin C that act as antioxidants in the body.
  • Heart Health – Some research shows apple juice may reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and benefit heart health.
  • Bone Health – The phosphorus in apple juice supports bone density.
  • Anti-Inflammatory – Compounds in apples may reduce inflammation associated with chronic disease.

Apple juice made from whole pressed apples provides more nutrients than clear, filtered apple juice. The fiber content is also higher in juice with pulp.

For the greatest benefits, look for organic, cold-pressed apple juice with no added sugars or preservatives.

Downsides and Precautions

While apple juice can be helpful for constipation, there are some downsides to consider:

  • High in sugar – Apple juice contains around 10-24 g of sugar per 8oz serving.
  • May cause diarrhea – Excess sorbitol can draw too much water into the colon.
  • Tooth decay risk – The sugars may harm tooth enamel, especially in children.
  • Interacts with some medications – Sorbitol can change absorption of certain drugs.

Other precautions when drinking apple juice for constipation include:

  • Avoid giving cow’s milk to relieve constipation in children under 1 year old.
  • Don’t regularly use apple juice as a laxative without consulting a doctor.
  • See a doctor if constipation persists longer than 2 weeks in infants or adults.
  • Discontinue use if diarrhea or abdominal pain develops.

Apple juice should not be given to infants under 6 months old due to risk of botulism. It’s also unsafe for anyone allergic to apples or with certain metabolic disorders affecting sorbitol breakdown.

When to See a Doctor

While apple juice and other remedies can help occasional constipation, it’s important to see a doctor if you experience:

  • No bowel movements for 3+ days
  • Hard, painful bowel movements
  • Blood in the stool
  • Persistent changes in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Ongoing abdominal pain or vomiting

These symptoms could indicate a potentially serious medical condition requiring proper diagnosis. It’s also vital to seek medical care if constipation symptoms fail to improve or worsen despite home treatment.

The Bottom Line

Drinking apple juice can be an effective natural way to find constipation relief. The fiber, fluids, and sorbitol it contains help stimulate bowel movements. Start with one 8oz glass per day and increase if needed, but don’t overdo it. Apple juice may cause diarrhea if consumed in excess.

While apple juice can treat occasional constipation, chronic or worsening issues should be evaluated medically. See a doctor if constipation is accompanied by concerning symptoms like weight loss or persists beyond 2 weeks.

Pros of Apple Juice for Constipation Potential Cons of Apple Juice
  • Provides fiber from pectin
  • Adds fluid to soften stool
  • Contains sorbitol with laxative effect
  • Easy to find and inexpensive
  • High in natural sugar
  • Excess sorbitol can cause diarrhea
  • Tooth decay risk, especially in children
  • Not recommended for infants under 6 months
Apple Juice Dosage Tips for Maximizing Relief
  • 8 ounces (250mL) once daily
  • 8oz twice per day
  • Up to 24-32oz (700-950mL) maximum per day
  • Take first thing in the morning on empty stomach
  • Choose organic, cold-pressed juice with pulp
  • Combine with high-fiber foods like oatmeal
  • Mix with prune juice for added laxative effect
  • Add lemon juice and honey for flavor and benefits
  • Pair with magnesium or fiber supplements

In most cases, apple juice can quickly and safely relieve occasional constipation. While evidence is still limited, many people find its fiber, fluid and sorbitol content stimulates bowel movements. Apple juice may work particularly well for mild constipation, but medical treatment is still warranted for severe or chronic cases.

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