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Will apple juice help you get unconstipated?

Constipation is a common condition that affects people of all ages. It is characterized by infrequent, difficult, or incomplete bowel movements. Constipation can cause discomfort and bloating. In some cases, it may require medical treatment to relieve. However, there are also some natural remedies that can help get things moving again.

What is Constipation?

Constipation refers to bowel movements that are infrequent or hard to pass. A person is considered constipated if they have fewer than three bowel movements per week or they have to strain excessively to pass stool. Stool that is hard, dry, and lumpy can also indicate constipation.

There are several factors that can contribute to constipation, including:

  • Not enough fiber in the diet
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Certain medications
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Pregnancy
  • Aging

In many cases, simple lifestyle changes like drinking more fluids, exercising, and eating more fiber can relieve constipation. But when constipation persists, over-the-counter laxatives and stool softeners may be needed to get things moving again.

Apple Juice and Constipation

Many people find that drinking apple juice can provide relief from constipation. Apple juice contains sorbitol, which is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol found in some fruits. Sorbitol acts as an osmotic laxative, meaning it pulls water into the intestines to soften and loosen stool while stimulating bowel movements.

Studies have shown sorbitol to be an effective remedy for constipation in children and adults. A systematic review published in Pediatrics analyzed 10 studies on using sorbitol to treat functional constipation in children. Researchers concluded that sorbitol increases stool frequency and improves consistency.

Another study in 45 elderly patients with constipation found that drinking 50-150ml of apple juice with high sorbitol content per day increased bowel movement frequency and improved consistency after 4 weeks. The researchers noted that apple juice provides a safe, inexpensive way to relieve constipation in the elderly.

The sorbitol content can vary widely between different brands and types of apple juice. Juices labeled as containing “concentrated apple juice” tend to have higher amounts of sorbitol compared to juices blended with other juices or water. The dose that may be effective for constipation relief ranges from 10-20g of sorbitol, which is typically around 150-300ml of apple juice that has been concentrated.

Benefits of Apple Juice for Constipation

  • Contains sorbitol, a natural laxative
  • Softens and increases bulk of stool
  • Adds fluid to promote regular bowel movements
  • Provides minerals like magnesium that improve muscle contraction
  • Well tolerated, with minimal side effects
  • Readily available and cost effective
  • Can be used safely in children and elderly

How Much Apple Juice is Effective?

Drinking a large glass of apple juice on an empty stomach can often stimulate a bowel movement within 30-90 minutes. This is because the sorbitol is rapidly absorbed in the small intestine and draws fluid into the colon.

Although apple juice may quickly provide constipation relief, experts recommend drinking apple juice throughout the day for lasting effects. The University of Michigan Health System advises drinking 1-2 cups (8-16 oz) of apple juice daily to prevent constipation. Others recommend slowly increasing apple juice intake up to a maximum of 16 oz 3 times per day if needed.

Drinking excessive amounts of apple juice can lead to gas, bloating and diarrhea, so moderation is key. Apple juice is most effective when consumed alongside a high fiber diet and plenty of fluids.

Daily Apple Juice Intake Recommendations for Constipation Relief*

Age Apple juice intake
Children 1-6 years 4-8 oz (1/2 to 1 cup)
Children 7-12 years 4-12 oz (1/2 to 1 1/2 cups)
Adults 8-16 oz (1-2 cups)
Elderly 8-12 oz (1-1 1/2 cups)

*Maximum of 16 oz (2 cups) 3 times per day if needed

Other Juices That Relieve Constipation

While apple juice is one of the most popular natural remedies, other fruit juices high in sorbitol can also help get things moving. Options include:

  • Prune juice – well known for its laxative effect, with about 7g sorbitol per 4 oz
  • Pear juice – similar to apple juice, with 5g sorbitol in 4 oz of concentrated juice
  • Cherry juice – provides around 5g sorbitol per 4 oz serving
  • Plum juice – delivers 3-4g sorbitol per 4 oz serving
  • Apricot juice – contains approximately 2g sorbitol per 4 oz

Be sure to read labels and select brands with higher sorbitol content. It’s best to drink these juices chilled and diluted with water as needed. Start with small amounts and monitor your body’s response.

Additional Constipation Remedies

While apple juice can help relieve mild constipation, other remedies may be needed for more severe or chronic cases:

  • Over-the-counter laxatives like polyethylene glycol or magnesium-based laxatives
  • Prescription laxatives such as lactulose or lubiprostone
  • Suppositories and enemas
  • Biofeedback training
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Avoiding dairy products if intolerant

It’s important to consult a doctor if you experience no bowel movements for 3 or more days, or if laxatives are needed frequently. Persistent constipation may require testing to identify an underlying condition.

Risks and Precautions with Apple Juice

Although apple juice is generally safe, there are some precautions to consider:

  • May cause bloating, gas or diarrhea if too much is consumed
  • The high sugar content can worsen diarrhea or metabolic conditions like diabetes
  • Fructose in juice can trigger symptoms in people with fructose intolerance
  • Some juices may contain higher pesticide residues compared to whole apples
  • Juice lacks the fiber content of whole apples and provides less satiety

Pregnant women should limit juice intake to 8 oz per day and avoid unpasteurized juice products. For children under 1 year old, apple juice is not recommended as excess juice intake may lead to malnutrition. Moderating juice portions and opting for whole fruits as often as possible is advised.


Drinking apple juice in moderation can provide an effective and natural way to get relief from constipation. The sorbitol and fluid in apple juice help soften stool and stimulate bowel movements. Prune, pear, cherry, and other fruit juices high in sorbitol act similarly. Apple juice is best consumed alongside a high fiber diet and plenty of water.

Speak with your doctor if constipation persists despite using apple juice or other remedies. Chronic constipation may require further treatment to identify underlying causes. Monitoring portion sizes of juice and aiming for regular physical activity, hydration, and whole food sources of fiber can help support long-term bowel regularity.