Many people trying to lose weight have probably tried different methods that they believe can work faster compared to the drudgery of hitting the gym to sweat it out.
While there’s no silver bullet for weight loss, people have tried methods like surgery, liposuction, taking weight loss pills, body wrapping, celebrity go-to diets, and even shocking things like drinking 12 glasses of lemon juice daily if that promises weight loss.
Still, there are others who turn to laxatives for weight loss, and they believe they’ve been successful at their weight loss goals.
In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the products that users believe are the best laxatives for weight loss.
We’ll also look at whether laxatives are safe and effective to use when you’re trying to lose weight, and what to expect if you decide to start your body on laxatives.
What Is A Laxative
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), laxatives are medications used to treat constipation by encouraging bowel movements or loosening stool to ease its passage.
They’re helpful when you’re constipated and need a little extra push that you just can’t get by exercising regularly, eating more fiber-rich foods, or drinking water.
However, laxatives are also a popular method of losing weight, believed by some people to help increase the frequency of bowel movements while allowing for the easy, quick, and effortless loss of weight.
In fact, a study published in the Pediatrics journal in July 2016, which looked at 13,000 people, found that 10.5 percent of women between 23-25 years of age have used laxatives for weight loss.
Let’s look at the different classes of laxatives, some of which come in oral form and a rectal suppository.
Types of Laxatives
This type of laxative works by triggering contractions of intestinal wall muscles to accelerate the movement of the digestive tract and move stool, resulting in elimination.
The osmotic-type of laxatives work by ensuring the colon retains more water so as to increase the frequency of bowel movement.
It does this by drawing water from body tissues around the colon, which in turn softens the stool and spurs bowel action.
This is a fiber supplement that moves through the intestines undigested, absorbs liquid or water, and adds bulk to the stool.
This way, it swells up to form a soft, bulky stool that prompts a bowel movement the natural way.
This type of laxative helps promote bowel movement by drawing water into the small intestines.
Lubricant laxatives coat the surface of the stool and intestinal lining for an easier bowel movement.
It uses oil to coat the bowel and stool, keeping the latter moist and soft so it can pass through the gastro-intestinal tract easily.
This laxative reduces straining by allowing the stool to absorb more water, hence moisture mixes into the hard, dry stool, and there’s easier passage altogether.
Best Laxatives For Weight Loss
It contains Lactobacillus Acidophilus that maintains healthy levels of your gut’s beneficial natural flora, plus Senna and Cascara sagrada that are known for their laxative properties.
Plus, it has Aloe Vera that cleanses the colon and liver, and two bulk-forming superfoods: Psyllium husk and flaxseed powder.
All these ingredients also help boost your body’s energy levels in addition to facilitating weight loss.
- All-natural ingredients from reputed sources
- Fast-acting, gentle formula
- Boosts energy levels
- Helps promote colon and liver cleansing
- Reduces bloating
- Tested by third-party using advanced GMP standards
- Made in the USA in cGMP facilities
- Removes clogged waste from intestines
- Tasteless and odorless
- Could lead to gas and multiple bowel movements
- Could cause electrolyte imbalance and dehydration
- Pills manufactured in a facility that handles wheat, nuts, soy, and other potential allergens that could cause allergic reactions in sensitive people
- Some people complained of stomach aches and nausea after consuming the supplement
It uses Senna as its base but contains other ingredients such as ginger, slippery elm, Aloe Vera gel, and rhubarb, as well as two different kinds of probiotics.
The product, which claims to work in 15 days, also contains flax seeds, cascara sagrada bark, psyllium husks, buckthorn bark, glucomannan root, and black walnut hulls.
Its probiotics help detoxify the kidneys to ease bowel movements and supply your body with the fiber and antioxidants it needs.
The supplement is 100 percent natural and doesn’t contain binders, non-GMO ingredients, or fillers.
It’s also free of sugar, wheat, soy, shellfish, egg, and milk so it’s gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly, and allergen-friendly too.
- All-natural ingredients
- Manufactured in the USA with adherence to GMP
- Ingredients third-party tested for quality and purity
- Complements the detox process thanks to the probiotics
- Doesn’t contain additives, fillers or binders
- Formulated by health professionals
- Some users experienced diarrhea, bloating, and stomach pains
- May cause cramps if you don’t take enough water along with the laxative
This tea is a popular laxative that contains Senna, Cassia Angustifolia, sweet orange, licorice, cinnamon, fennel, coriander, orange peel, and ginger.
It’s naturally caffeine-free and each box contains 16 sealed tea bags packed with all these ingredients.
The Senna ingredient gently stimulates your intestines and helps your body’s natural elimination process.
Other ingredients like coriander, fennel, and ginger help reduce the potential for cramping and other unpleasant feelings.
It’s best taken at bedtime so you can wake up knowing you’ll be fresh and ready to move right along.
- Non-GMO, organic and kosher ingredients
- Tastes sweet and nice
- Gentle relief for constipation
- Highly rated by users with positive reviews
- Could cause nausea for some users
It’s a generic counterpart for Senokot and works within 6-12 hours as a gentle laxative, softening hard, dry stool for a better bowel movement.
It may contain allergens though, so if you have bowel blockage, appendicitis, blood in your stool, or you underwent abdominal surgery recently, it’s not recommended to take it.
Plus, if you’ve been using a different laxative or mineral oil for more than a week, it’s also not recommended to use this laxative.
The product also interacts with some medications, but not all such interactions are known.
It’s an oral laxative that comes in two bottles, each packed with 100 coated tablets. The Senna concentrate, or sennosides, are the active ingredients in this product, which act as natural laxatives as they’re drawn from a plant.
Each tablet packs 25 milligrams of calcium, which contain stool softeners, and can be consumed by anyone from 2 years old and above, provided you’ve consulted your doctor first.
- Doesn’t cause bloating
- Dosage works even for young kids 2 years and above
- Good shelf life
- Painless bowel movement
- Doesn’t work immediately
- Hard to administer to kids as it’s in tablet form
- Quickly loses effects so you need to consume more at once
It works naturally with your body’s fluids and water to offer fast and gentle relief without cramping, unlike stimulant pills.
The osmotic laxative doesn’t contain herbs or Senna though. However, it relieves constipation by drawing water into the colon to hydrate, ease, and soften the stool and increase bowel movement frequency.
The active ingredient is polyethylene glycol, and it has no harsh side effects like cramping, gas, bloating, or sudden urgency.
MiraLAX laxative also mixes into anything, whether it’s a hot or cold beverage with no grit or taste.
It is also sugar-free, gluten-free, and doesn’t contain any additives or preservatives. Each bottle contains 45 doses of the laxative product.
- Odorless and tasteless
- Gluten-free, sugar, and preservative-free
- No taste or grit
- Doesn’t cause cramping, bloating, gas, pain, or accidents
- Easy to use
- Can dissolve easily in any beverage
- Doesn’t act fast, may take 1-3 days
- Has some side effects like OCD behavior, hair loss, or emotional instability
- Unsuitable for kids
If you want an osmotic laxative like MiraLAX, check out Kirkland Signature – LaxaClear.
The powder contains polyethylene glycol and reduces constipation symptoms by working with your body to provide more control and easier bowel movement, restoring its natural rhythm.
It also reduces unpleasant symptoms of constipation like cramps or gas, softening the stool for better and more increased frequency of bowel movements. It dissolves in any beverage too.
- Relieves your body from constipation by softening the stool
- Tasteless so it can mix with any beverage
- Not fast-acting or strong; takes 1-3 days to work
- Some users said they didn’t like the taste
- Unsuitable for children
The polyethylene glycol 3350 increases bowel movement frequency within 1-3 days and is suitable for adults, but minors not younger than 17 years old can take it too, while those under 16 years need supervision from a doctor before consuming the product.
It mixes in any beverage and doesn’t have unpleasant flavors. You can also take it with your pain medications for chronic neurological disease.
- Dissolves in beverages
- No unpleasant flavors
- Can work for pets in lower dosages
- Not flavorless
- Fillers could have displeasing effects
- Could cause discomfort if you’ve used other laxatives before
The stimulant laxative works within 6-12 hours to relieve irregular bowel movements and/or constipation.
It also enhances motility without irritating your intestines.
It can be consumed by adults and children above 6 years of age, when taken two pills once or twice daily, for overnight relief.
The product is gentle and reliable and doesn’t contain sodium.
- Relieves blockage and abdominal pain
- Works faster than some herbal teas
- Sealed in blister packets
- More effective when taken at bedtime
- Passes into breast milk for nursing moms
- Could change urine color albeit harmless
- Costs a bit more than other similar laxatives
9. Dr. Schulze’s Colon Bowel Cleanse
Dr. Schulze’s Colon Bowel Cleanse is a natural laxative formula that promises relief from the discomfort that comes with irregular digestion.
It’s formulated to promote regular, healthy bowel movement, thanks to ingredients like Senna, Cascara sagrada, Emodin, and Aloe Vera, which work together to boost the colon muscles’ peristaltic waves and strengthen it along the way.
It also contains Oregon Grape Root that flushes the liver and boosts bile production, which is useful for digestion and absorption of fat.
Garlic is also included because of its antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, ginger that reduces gas, and Habanero – a colon stimulant that encourages colon healing. Each bottle contains 90 capsules.
- Maintains the health of your colon
- Boosts your immune system
- Flushes out toxins
- All-natural ingredients
- Promotes healthy, regular bowel movement
- May cause cramping and uncomfortable bowel movements
10. BRI Nutrition Triphala Pure Extract Plus
The BRI Nutrition Triphala laxative contains Triphala, which means three fruits pertaining to the haritaki, amalaki, and bibhitaki dried fruits.
These work together to detoxify and cleanse the intestine while nourishing and replenishing it.
It also helps with the natural cleansing of the body, and its ingredients rejuvenate body tissues while supporting healthy digestion and intestine absorption because of the antioxidants contained in it.
All its ingredients are natural and of high quality, processed in a GMP-certified, USA-based laboratory. Each bottle contains 60 capsules.
- GMP-certified, USA-made
- Lab-tested capsules
- Active ingredients double as antioxidants
- All-natural ingredients
- Pricier than similar laxatives
- Some users didn’t experience a difference in bowel movements after consuming the laxative
How To Choose A Laxative
There are different things to consider when choosing a laxative over the counter.
The first step is to know what you need and then base your decision on that. Here’s what you can check for to select the best laxative for weight loss.
Laxatives come in capsules, tablets, oils, teas, or powders. The product you pick should be taken based on your doctor or healthcare practitioner’s direction and recommendations.
If you go for the powder laxative, make sure you take it with lots of water, or if orally, you can consume it with or without food.
They’re best taken at night so you can have a bowel movement the next morning, but this could come with cramps at night or interfere with your sleep just to go to the bathroom.
Pick a laxative based on your needs and goals. If it’s constipation, bulk laxatives or the saline agents like milk of magnesia would work.
If you’re severely constipated, you may need both laxatives and an enema. You can also change the type of laxative if the first line of treatment fails.
Check the labels carefully because some claim things in the name of aggressive marketing, yet contain ingredients that you may not want or that may react with you negatively.
Talk to the pharmacist or your doctor before picking a laxative.
Some laxatives may contain additives or sweeteners that can affect blood sugar levels. Choose wisely based on your body and health history. Some like bulk-forming laxatives are known to cause cramps, bloating, and gas among other side effects.
Some other things to consider could include whether you’ve tried diet, exercise, or other things to lose weight.
Plus, laxatives come in oral and rectal types, so you need to know which type you prefer, and the length of time you’d like the effects to last for.
Consider also the manufacturer’s warranty, guarantees, pricing, return policies, and other requirements before making a purchase.
Can Laxatives Help With Weight Loss?
Laxatives are being used for weight loss across the world, but they also enhance digestion, relieve constipation, and remove excess toxins and fats from the body.
They work by reacting with your gastrointestinal tract and regulate bowel movement by softening or increasing the bulk or liquid in your stool so you can pass it faster.
They also stimulate intestinal muscles or your rectum so it can contract and squeeze out the stool.
For weight loss, laxatives help by increasing the fat, fluids, nutrients, and toxins you excrete through a regular bowel movement.
They also help with digestion and metabolism that are important for you to maintain body weight.
Laxatives may also speed up the frequency or rate of bowel movement, which minimizes the absorption of nutrients like protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, and minerals from the food you consume.
The danger comes in when your body releases most of the nutrients and calories you consume into your stool, so you remain with inadequate amounts in your body compared to what it really needs.
This, in turn, leads to weakness, lethargy, constant fatigue, and other health issues like dehydration, so you have to control your usage and intake of laxatives.
Some laxatives also have a diuretic action, which means they expel water out of your body.
However, it’s important to note that weight loss isn’t a reduction of body fat, but in actual sense, it’s only a water loss as laxatives don’t stop the body from absorbing calories from whatever you eat.
If you use laxatives to lose weight only, they might disappoint you. Some studies show that laxatives can help you rid your body of almost 12 percent of calories absorbed, but you still need to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and observe other body maintenance practices to lose weight.
Pros And Cons Of Using Laxatives For Weight Loss
- Laxatives treat constipation that’s known to cause flatulence, indigestion, and other health issues
- They can result in weight loss by preventing constipation and eliminating clogged up matter
- Laxatives help in detoxing and cleaning out the colon
- Laxatives draw water into your intestines to soften stool, but if you don’t drink adequate amounts of water, you may get dehydrated
- Electrolyte levels in your body may be depleted, causing an imbalance that could lead to disorientation or seizure, weakness, palpitations, and other effects
- When used for longer periods, stimulant laxatives could irritate the gastrointestinal lining, in turn leading to loss of function
- If the gastrointestinal tract gets irritated and inflamed, you could get bloody stool or diarrhea. When this happens over a long period of time, you could get anemic and weak
- Laxative abuse may cause your intestines to protrude and come through the rectal opening, a condition known as rectal prolapse, which requires surgery to be corrected
Safer & Better Weight Loss Strategies
Laxatives for weight loss aren’t a safe strategy because it has its side effects, especially when used in the long term.
You can make sustainable changes to your lifestyle instead to reach a healthy weight by doing the following:
- Eating a nutritious and balanced diet rich in whole foods
- Increasing your frequency of regular physical activity every day
- Practicing self-care for better body image through journaling, talk, and cognitive behavioral therapy
- Reducing your meal portion sizes and decreasing intake of added/processed/refined sugars
Laxatives are a good and effective remedy for preventing constipation and increasing bowel movement frequency.
However, they’re unlikely to result in sustainable weight loss because they just reduce the water content instead of fat content in your body.
Worse still, abusing laxatives could come with more dangerous effects on your health. If you want to lose weight, use the safer weight loss tips we’ve mentioned above and if you must use a laxative, do so sparingly.
Remember, weight loss only benefits you when it’s necessary, so do it safely.
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Diana Paul is a certified nutritionist who writes for leading health blogs. She is a master herbalist, yoga teacher, forager, and wild-crafting writer She is focused on helping people transform life blocks to opportunities. Based in NYC, she often holds health seminars and lectures.