I am chatting about this today because many of the women in the Natural IBS Support group struggle with constipation and one of the first things they get recommended to try is Metamucil.
So I’m going to dig deep into this #1 Doctor recommended fibre brand (according to the Metamucil website) so that you can make your own choice if you are comfortable putting this into your body.
First things first: ideally we should be pooping 1-2 times per day. That’s right per day! Anything less than that is not ideal for optimal health and is considered constipation.
WHAT IS METAMUCIL?
The main component that gets you pooping with Metamucil is ground psyllium husk which is the soluble fiber derived from the seeds of Plantago ovata (an herb mainly grown in India). This ingredient doesn’t concern me at all. Psyllium husk is excellent for getting the bowels moving but unfortunately Metamucil contains a lot more ingredients than just this.
It also contains: sugar, artificial & natural flavors, artificial colors, aspartame (artificial sweetener), maltodextrin (thickener and preservative.
IS IT A GOOD CHOICE FOR CONSTIPATION?
As I said above I am a big fan of using psyllium husk for most constipation (depends from person to person) there are aspects about Metamucil I am not ok with.
Why (just to name a few)…
Refined sugar increases gas and bloating. It also causes huge imbalance of the good/bad bacteria in the colon which is a huge contributor of constipation.
Maltodextrin is a cheap thickener found in many processed foods. It spikes the blood sugar, supresses the growth of good bacteria in the colon causing more IBS symptoms and constipation. Has been linked to numerous symptoms like abdominal gurgling, gas, diarrhea, skin irritations, cramping and bloating.
Artificial and natural flavors pretty much fall under the same category because the word ‘natural’ has zero regulation behind it. These have been shown to have toxic effects on the body.
Aspartame has been proven in numerous studios to cause severe neurological effects. And since I know so many of my IBS and digestively challenged friends out there also suffer from depression and anxiety its imperative that they take care of our beautiful brains.
Artificial colors (like Blue No. 1, Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake, Yellow No. 6) these are mostly derived from petroleum, can impact children’s behaviour and are carcinogenic. PS: Does anyone really care what color their pooping remedy is?!
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD?
I did a whole blog post on the Simple Steps to Kick Constipation that is definitely worth a read but my two favorite Metamucil alternatives are ground flax or just straight up psyllium.
These two are excellent for bulking up the stool allowing it to move more easily through the intestines. They also, help the body to detoxify toxins, cholesterol and excess hormones. Another big bonus is that flax and psyllium balancing the good/bacteria in our colon.
Both of these can be taken as a tsp in a large glass of water or psyllium can also be purchased in capsule form. Just make sure to drink a tonne of water with them and ideally on an empty stomach.
To be perfectly honest having ground flax or psyllium in water does not taste awesome (likely the reason Metamucil adds so much junk to their products) so in my FREE facebook group Natural IBS Support we will be making a much yummier constipation tea this Thursday. Join the group and watch live or catch the replay.
Just to name a precaution; I usually do not recommend psyllium or flax for those who are experiencing diarrhea or loose stools. It can be too stimulating and actually make those symptoms worse.