We’ve all been there – after days of discomfort, we find ourselves searching for the miracle concoction that will grant us some relief. So…which drinks for constipation will get the job done? And is there a better way to help prevent constipation before it even starts?
Are Classic Drinks for Constipation Effective?
If you’re in the often-constipated crowd, you’ve probably heard a lot of similar advice. “Prune juice!” “More electrolytes!” And perhaps the most common – “drink more water!”
Some of the classic advice for those who are constipated includes:
- Drink prune juice
- Drink more water
- Drink coffee or caffeine-containing beverages
- Eat fiber (you’ll hear recommendations for both soluble and insoluble fiber)
- Take prebiotics and probiotics
- Take magnesium supplements
You’re probably wondering which of these remedies and drinks for constipation actually work, right? Well, that depends on whether you’re looking for a short-term or long-term strategy.
Short-Term Constipation Remedies
If you’ve been backed up for days, you’re likely looking for some relief like...yesterday. When it gets to this point, some of the typical constipation recommendations are likely to be a good fit because they focus on short-term solutions to constipation.
For example, prunes (dried plums) contain a natural sugar alcohol called sorbitol that has a laxative effect. They’re also high in insoluble fiber, which helps to move things along. This is why prune juice is often recommended as a drink for constipation.
Sorbitol is also found in several other fruits, including apples, peaches, and cherries. So don’t worry if you’re not a fan of prunes or prune juice – choosing any high sorbitol fruit will get the job done.
Taking a magnesium supplement or magnesium-containing drink for constipation will also have a laxative effect, as it draws water into the intestines. This will soften your stool and make it easier to pass.
One thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that most recommended drinks for constipation focus on short-term remedies and because of this, they will likely result in looser stool (if not diarrhea) in order to get things out. So don’t be surprised by this!
Long-term constipation remedies, on the other hand, don’t tend to have the side effect of loose stool. Let’s talk about those next.
What is a Long-Term Constipation Remedy?
Now, short-term constipation remedies have their time and place. When you’re constipated, you just want to be...well, not constipated!
But that vicious cycle of constipation → laxative-type remedy → loose stool/diarrhea gets old after a while, right?
The benefit to long-term constipation remedies is that they aim to reduce the need for laxatives by helping your body move food through your digestive system at the *just* the right pace.
This is why many of the long-term remedies for constipation tend to be changes in your lifestyle to encourage a healthier digestive system, like consuming enough fiber (both soluble and insoluble), drinking enough water, and exercising regularly.
All of these lifestyle factors work together to help prevent you getting constipated in the first place!
But many of you are probably thinking...but I’m already doing all of this and I’m still constipated. What the heck?!
This is where improving your gut microbiome by using prebiotics and probiotics can come into play.
Improving the Gut Microbiome to Prevent Constipation
The gut microbiome is a collection of bacteria, yeasts, and viruses that live in your intestines. These microorganisms do a lot to keep you healthy, like help break down your food, make vitamins, and assist in regulating your immune system.
They’re an important part of making sure food moves through your digestive system at the right pace, too.
One of the best things you can do to keep your microbiome in good shape is to regularly consume prebiotics and probiotics.
At Gut Power, we incorporate high quality prebiotics and probiotics into all our drink mixes to help support your digestive system.
When it comes to constipation, our prebiotic really shines.
A Prebiotic-Containing Drink for Constipation: A Good Long-Term Strategy
Prebiotics can be very useful for constipation and are one of the best long-term solutions to constipation.
But they’re not all created equally – and that means not all of them are going to get you the best results when it comes to moving things along regularly within your digestive tract.
At Gut Power, we’re always keeping up to date on the latest science in the digestive health field. It’s why we chose to include Sunfiber in our drink products – the most well-tolerated prebiotic fiber on the market.
The cool thing about Sunfiber is that it’s been shown to be useful for both constipation and diarrhea, in addition to reducing IBS-like symptoms.
In terms of constipation, though, Sunfiber (partially hydrolyzed guar gum) has been shown to reduce constipation and increase bowel movement frequency. Research also indicates that Sunfiber consumption improves stool consistency, changing it from hard to normal.
This particular prebiotic seems to reduce the need for the use of laxatives and enemas, taking their use from 2 to <0.1 and 7-8 to 1-3 per week, respectively.
Sunfiber at 5g/day increases colonic transit time – the rate at which your digestive system moves food through it – by about 12 hours in constipated patients, and by about 22 hours in those with slow transit time.
Interestingly, these benefits occurred using a wide range of dosages within these studies. Dosages from 5g/day to 36g/day were all shown to be beneficial for constipation.
This means that even at dosages as low as 5g/day, you may notice improvements in bowel movement frequency, abdominal pain related to constipation, and stool consistency.
All Gut Power Drinks include 6g of Sunfiber, as this is the dose at which Sunfiber also becomes prebiotic (meaning that it increases counts of beneficial bacteria in the gut). Because of this, it’s one of the best drinks for constipation as it’s actually working to support your gut health over the long term.
Takeaway: The Best Drinks for Constipation
What qualifies as the best drink for constipation depends on whether you’re looking for a short-term or long-term solution.
Drinks for constipation that focus on the short-term are mainly laxative-like substances such as prune juice or other high sorbitol fruits, magnesium supplements or drink mixes, and pharmaceutical laxative medications.
Long-term constipation remedies include diet and lifestyle changes like eating enough fiber, drinking enough water, exercising consistently, etc.
But another long-term constipation strategy that is often overlooked is to make sure your gut microbiome is healthy and balanced, as this can help food move through your digestive system at the right pace.
In particular, the prebiotic Sunfiber can be very helpful to help move food through the digestive system at just the right pace, which is why we choose to include 6 grams of it in each serving of Gut Power Drinks.
Gut Power Drinks are the best drinks for constipation if you’re looking to help prevent constipation before it happens. Because they include both prebiotics and probiotics, they can help improve the health of your gut microbiome over the long term.