Prune juice is a popular natural laxative made from dried plums, also known as prunes. It contains high amounts of fiber, potassium, and antioxidants that can help promote regularity, maintain digestive health, and provide other benefits.
What are the benefits of drinking prune juice?
Here are some of the main benefits of drinking prune juice:
- Relieves constipation – The high fiber and sorbitol content in prune juice helps add bulk to stool and draw water into the intestines, acting as a natural laxative.
- Promotes regularity – Regular consumption of prune juice can help establish a pattern of regular bowel movements.
- Improves digestive health – The nutrients in prune juice nourish good gut bacteria and act as a prebiotic. This supports overall digestive health.
- Provides antioxidants – Prunes contain antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K which help protect cells from damage.
- Boosts bone health – Prunes are rich in boron which helps the body retain calcium, promoting healthy bones.
- Supports heart health – The potassium in prunes helps reduce high blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease.
How much fiber is in prune juice?
Prune juice is high in fiber, containing around 3-4 grams of fiber per 8 ounce serving. The majority comes from a soluble fiber called inulin, along with smaller amounts of cellulose and lignin.
Here is an overview of the fiber content in an 8 ounce serving of prune juice:
|Type of Fiber
|2.5 – 3.5g
|0.5 – 1g
|0.5 – 1g
|3 – 4g
This significant amount of dietary fiber, especially soluble fiber, is what gives prune juice its laxative effect and helps promote regular bowel movements.
Is prune juice more effective than other juices?
Studies have found prune juice to be more effective than other juices at relieving constipation and supporting regular bowel movements.
In one study, participants with constipation drank 8 ounces of either prune juice, pear juice, or plum juice daily for 4 weeks. The results showed:
- Prune juice was significantly more effective than pear or plum juice for improving stool consistency, stool weight, and bowel movement frequency.
- 60% of the prune juice group saw improvements in constipation severity compared to 40% for pear juice and 20% for plum juice.
- Prune juice increased the number of weekly bowel movements by over 50% compared to around 20% for the other juices.
Researchers believe prune juice’s sorbitol content and high amount of dietary fiber give it superior laxative effects. The fluids and fiber help loosen stool while the sorbitol pulls water into the large intestines, producing a stronger laxative effect.
How much prune juice should you drink for constipation relief?
Most studies have found positive effects on constipation with around 8 ounces (240ml) of prune juice per day. This equates to approximately 3-4 prunes worth of juice.
Based on the research, here are some general recommendations for how much prune juice to drink for constipation relief:
- For mild constipation – 4 ounces (120ml) per day
- For moderate constipation – 6-8 ounces (180-240ml) per day
- For more severe constipation – 8-12 ounces (240-360ml) per day
It’s best to start with a smaller 4-6 ounce serving and gradually increase the amount if needed to find the optimal dosage that provides regularity without diarrhea.
Additionally, prune juice will likely be most effective when consumed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. This allows the body to fully absorb its beneficial nutrients and fiber throughout the day.
How long does prune juice take to work?
Prune juice generally begins working within a few hours to produce a bowel movement, but the time frame can vary based on the individual and dosage taken.
Here is an overview of roughly how long prune juice takes to work:
- At low doses (4-6 oz) – May work in 8-12 hours
- At higher doses (8-12 oz) – May work in 4-8 hours
- With chronic constipation – May take up to 24-36 hours
Prune juice contains two main compounds that trigger bowel movements – sorbitol and dietary fiber. The sorbitol has a laxative effect within a few hours, while the high fiber helps stool retain fluid and move through the colon over a longer period.
If prune juice produces no effect after 36 hours, then the dosage may need to be increased or an alternative constipation remedy considered. It’s also important to stay hydrated when taking prune juice to amplify its effects.
Should you drink prune juice every day or just when constipated?
Health experts generally recommend drinking prune juice when needed for constipation relief rather than as a daily beverage.
Here are some guidelines on how often to drink prune juice:
- For constipation relief – Drink a serving of prune juice each day you feel constipated until your symptoms resolve. Then discontinue until constipation recurs.
- For regularity – If you have chronic constipation, it may help to drink a small 4-6 ounce glass every morning to maintain regularity. Discontinue when no longer needed.
- As a daily drink – Prune juice doesn’t need to be consumed daily by most healthy adults. Limit to a few times per week unless directed by your healthcare provider.
The key is to use prune juice as needed for its intended benefits while limiting excess consumption. Moderation is best since drinking too much can lead to diarrhea, loose stools or gastrointestinal issues.
Should you drink prune juice warm or cold?
Prune juice can be drunk either warm or cold. However, some people report that warm prune juice can provide greater constipation relief.
Reasons warm prune juice may have more beneficial effects include:
- Warm fluids help hydrate the colon and soften stool more effectively.
- Warm temperatures allow nutrients like sorbitol to be absorbed faster.
- The warmth aids movement within the digestive tract.
If you choose to heat prune juice, bring it just to a warm temperature rather than boiling to retain its nutrient content. Many people enjoy sipping a warm glass of prune juice first thing in the morning to stimulate a bowel movement later in the day.
Can you drink prune juice at night?
It’s generally recommended to drink prune juice earlier in the day rather than close to bedtime. This gives the beverage time to work before sleep.
If you drink prune juice late at night, the laxative effects may wake you up and make it difficult to get a full night’s rest. You don’t want to be woken up by sudden urges to have a bowel movement.
However, everyone responds differently based on factors like metabolism and dosage sensitivity. Some people report no issues drinking prune juice in the evenings as long as they don’t consume a large amount.
If you choose to drink prune juice at night, start with a small 4 ounce serving to see how your body responds. Avoid drinking it within at least 2-3 hours of bedtime so you don’t experience disruptive effects.
Should you drink prune juice on an empty stomach or with food?
The best time to drink prune juice is typically first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. This allows it to work more efficiently throughout the day.
Drinking prune juice before eating gives it time to move through the digestive tract while maximizing absorption of nutrients and compounds that support bowel movements.
Consuming it with or directly after a meal may slow its laxative effects. Food can dilute the prune juice while delaying gastric emptying and transit time.
However, everyone has different tolerances. Some people report better results drinking prune juice alongside a small snack or meal compared to on an empty stomach. This helps avoid any stomach upset or diarrhea.
Find what works best for your body – sip your prune juice when you wake up, mid-morning, or with a light breakfast if preferred.
Does prune juice have any negative side effects?
Prune juice is generally safe when consumed in moderation but can cause some negative side effects if too much is drunk. Potential side effects can include:
- Diarrhea – Excess prune juice consumption may lead to loose, watery stools.
- Abdominal discomfort – Too much can cause bloating, gas, or cramps.
- Electrolyte imbalance – The laxative effect can potentially disrupt electrolyte levels if overused.
- Dependency – Relying on prune juice too frequently may lead to dependency and inability to have bowel movements without it.
To avoid negative side effects, stick within the recommended serving sizes and only use prune juice as needed rather than daily. Reduce your dosage if you experience any discomfort.
Are there any medical conditions that should avoid prune juice?
Most people can safely drink moderate amounts of prune juice. But some individuals with certain medical conditions should exercise caution or avoid prune juice.
- People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease should check with a doctor first, as excess fiber can exacerbate symptoms.
- Those with kidney disease or kidney stones may want to limit consumption of prune juice.
- People taking certain medications like diuretics or heart medication should consult a healthcare provider prior to use.
- If you have diarrhea, avoid prune juice until symptoms resolve.
- Anyone undergoing surgery or colonoscopy prep should not drink prune juice.
- If you have rectal bleeding or other severe symptoms, see a doctor before trying prune juice.
When in doubt, talk with your healthcare provider before adding prune juice if you have any ongoing digestive issues or medical conditions.
Incorporating a serving of prune juice can be an effective, natural way to relieve constipation and promote regular bowel movements. The ideal frequency depends on your individual needs. Use prune juice as needed for occasional constipation relief or to maintain regularity if you have chronic issues.
Drink 4-12 ounces per day, adjusting the amount based on severity of symptoms. Take prune juice on an empty stomach and allow 6-12 hours for it to produce effects. Limit excess intake to avoid possible side effects. Speak with your doctor before using prune juice if you have any medical concerns.
With the proper dosage, prune juice can be a safe, nutritious beverage that stimulates bowel movements. Its fiber, fluid, and sorbitol content help get your digestive system moving regularly.