Will celery juice help IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder affecting the large intestine that can cause abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. In recent years, drinking celery juice has become a popular natural remedy claimed to help relieve IBS symptoms. Here, we’ll explore the evidence behind using celery juice for IBS.

What is IBS?

IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. It affects approximately 10-15% of the global population, being more common in women than men.

The exact causes of IBS are unknown, but it’s believed to involve a disrupted interaction between the gut, brain, and nervous system. Contributing factors may include:

  • Increased reactivity of the intestines
  • Imbalances in gut microbes
  • Food sensitivities
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Genetics

While IBS can’t be cured, symptoms can often be managed through lifestyle changes and medications. Treatment focuses on relieving abdominal pain, regulating bowel movements, and preventing flare-ups.

What is celery juice?

Celery juice is made by juicing celery stalks. It has become a health fad in recent years, with claims it can help with weight loss, inflammation, gut health, and more.

Celery contains high amounts of beneficial plant compounds, including:

  • Flavonols: Powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Polyphenols: Can protect cells from damage and modulate gut bacteria.
  • Coumarins: Linked to blood thinning and lower blood pressure.

However, evidence on the effects of celery juice specifically is limited, as most studies look at celery seed extract or celery as a whole vegetable.

Proposed benefits of celery juice for IBS

Here are some of the main ways that drinking celery juice is believed to help IBS:

Reducing inflammation

Chronic inflammation plays a role in IBS. Celery contains antioxidants like flavonols that can combat inflammation in the gut. However, human studies directly linking celery compounds to reduced IBS-related inflammation are lacking.

Relieving constipation

Celery is rich in insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to stool and helps food move through the intestines more easily. This may improve constipation in some IBS patients. But other high-fiber foods likely offer similar benefits.

Improving gut motility

Gut motility refers to the contraction of intestinal muscles that keeps food moving through the GI tract. One animal study found celery seed extract enhanced GI motility in rats. But more research is needed to confirm this effect in humans.

Modulating gut bacteria

An imbalance of bacteria in the intestines may contribute to IBS. Compounds in celery like polyphenols have been shown to act as prebiotics that feed healthy gut bacteria. But it’s unknown if celery juice in particular can significantly alter the microbiome.

Relaxing intestinal smooth muscle

Compounds in celery called phthalides are thought to relax intestinal smooth muscles, potentially relieving cramping. But human data is lacking, and phthalides are found in many different plants.

Potential risks of celery juice

When consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet, celery juice is likely safe for most people. However, there are some potential downsides to watch out for:

  • High sodium: Celery juice can be high in sodium, which may raise blood pressure.
  • Pesticide residue: Celery ranks high on the “dirty dozen” list of produce with the most pesticides.
  • Oxalate content: Celery contains oxalates that can contribute to kidney stone formation in prone individuals.
  • Allergic reactions: Celery can trigger allergic reactions, especially in those allergic to birch pollen.

Additionally, claims about celery juice cleansing the liver and flushing toxins lack scientific evidence. Replacing balanced meals with juice alone can lead to fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, and blood sugar spikes and crashes.

The bottom line

Based on the current evidence, here are some key points on celery juice and IBS:

  • Animal and lab studies show compounds in celery can reduce inflammation, improve gut motility, and act as prebiotics.
  • But direct research on the effects of celery juice itself is nonexistent.
  • The high insoluble fiber content may relieve constipation for some IBS patients.
  • Juicing removes the pulp, eliminating beneficial fiber that whole celery provides.
  • Celery juice could have theoretical benefits, but overall lacks solid human evidence.
  • More proven ways to manage IBS include dietary changes, stress management, regular exercise, and certain medications.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before trying celery juice, especially if you take any medications it could interact with.

In conclusion, adding some celery to your diet as a vegetable or seasoning may be helpful for IBS symptoms. But relying solely on trendy celery juice is unlikely to be a cure-all treatment. More human research specifically on celery juice is needed before recommending it as an evidence-based remedy for IBS.


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In summary, drinking celery juice may offer some benefits for IBS due to its anti-inflammatory compounds, insoluble fiber, and prebiotic effects. However, evidence directly supporting its use for IBS specifically is currently lacking. Celery juice is unlikely to be a miracle cure, and more human research on its effects is needed. Those with IBS should work with a healthcare provider to find the most effective dietary and lifestyle changes to manage their individual symptoms.

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