Overweight people often have a tendency of eating junk food as a result of which many suffer from dry, hard stools and chronic constipation. Years and years of these poor dietary habits clog up the colon and intestines. As the individual continues to pile junk food, she/he chokes up the elimination system.
Sometimes even if you eat healthy food and lots of green vegetables loosing weight just might not be that easy.
Do Laxatives Help You Lose Weight?
Irregular bowel movements can lead to bloating and weight gain around the stomach area. Since many of these people do not have a bowel movement regularly, they tend to feel lethargic. Lethargy and constant fatigue lead to inactivity and subsequent weight gain.
This becomes a vicious cycle wherein the person has no energy, feels tired and hungry all the time and is unable to clear up the digestive system. His/her body also fails to absorb nutrients from the food leading to further debility and malnutrition.
Sometimes, even those who are seemingly not overweight can suffer from constipation and that can occur for many reasons including pregnancy, some medications or simply stress.
Using laxatives to lose weight is very common. A laxative or stool softener can help in such cases. Laxatives speed up the process of elimination of solid waste from the bowels and clear up the clogged colon and intestines. Not only does this result in detoxification; it also leads to a bit of weight loss.
In this guide, I will be talking about everything one needs to know about laxative usage and the best brands of laxatives that are suitable for weight loss and regularity.
What Are Laxatives? How Do They Work?
Laxatives are medicines which prevent and treat constipation by softening the stool or stimulating the intestines to push out stools. Most herbal laxatives contain anthraquinones which stimulate the colon to contract frequently and cause secretion of electrolytes and water into the intestines. This pushes out material from the intestines faster.
Do Laxatives Aid in Weight Loss?
Some types of laxatives have a diuretic action - they expel water out of the body. They also speed up the process of expelling waste from the body. Since the body loses both solids and water, there is a bit of weight loss.
It is important to note that this weight loss is in fact only a water loss. There is no loss in body fat. Also, laxatives do not stop your body from absorbing calories from food. So, if you are only using laxative weight loss teas for losing weight, you will likely be disappointed.
You must eat healthily and exercise regularly to lose weight. However, weight loss laxative teas are great remedies for jumpstarting sluggish colon.
They especially work great after you have binged on food during holidays or celebrations. Studies have shown that laxatives can rid your body of nearly 12% of the calories absorbed. Constipation also results in bloated, puffy look which can be eliminated by using laxatives safely.
Different Kinds of Laxatives
Commercially, many different kinds of laxatives are available. The common ones are:
These include senna, castor oil, bisacodyl, cascara sagrada etc. Many like phenolphthalein are dangerous and yet pharmaceutical companies make them available over the counter without prescription.
Bulimics often abuse these type of laxatives to lose weight and purge after eating. They work by stimulating nerves of the large intestines to cause contractions. These push of water and solids resulting in bowel movement.
Overuse of such laxatives can lead to electrolyte imbalance. Also, over time, people develop tolerance to them so they need higher and higher doses each time. These laxatives tend to be habit-forming.
These are laxatives like Epsom salts, milk of magnesia etc. They work by drawing water into the intestines. Compared to stimulant laxatives, these are non-habit forming. Some of these medicines do require prescription. Also, overuse can still cause health issues like dehydration, electrolyte imbalance etc.
Lubricant or Emollient Laxatives
These are generally safer than most kinds of laxatives as long as you use them for limited periods. They work by softening the stool. Common examples are mineral oil, castor oil and docusate.
Bulk Forming Laxatives
These are the safest types of laxatives as they add fibre to the intestines and increase roughage which pushes the faeces out easily. Main examples are psyllium in brand names like Metamucil. However, you must take it only as directed as overuse can cause intestinal problems and even prevent absorption of nutrients.
How Long Does it Take for Laxative to Work?
How long laxatives take to work depends on many factors:
- How sensitised you are to them. With long-term use, you could develop tolerance thereby needing more quantity or taking longer for the medicine to work.
- Your body weight
- The type of food you have eaten
- Kind of laxative you are using.
Advantages of Laxatives
When used as directed, laxatives can have many positive benefits:
- Laxatives treat constipation which is a cause of a wide range of health issues including skin problems, indigestion, flatulence, etc.
- They result in weight loss by removing clogged up matter and preventing constipation. Laxatives clean out the colon and help in detoxification.
- Certain laxatives like Psyllium benefit heart health. A study has shown that 10 grams of psyllium providing 7grams of fibre per day reduced total cholesterol by 5% and LDL cholesterol by 9%.
- Certain types like castor oil are generally safe for use in constipated babies.
- Elderly patients and those needing palliative care can definitely benefit from safe use of laxatives.
Dangers of Laxative Abuse
Large amounts of laxatives can cause many health issues. They should never be used for prolonged periods of time. Dietary changes like eating fibre rich foods can help you overcome constipation. Likewise, for weight loss, you need to follow a balanced diet with regular exercise.
Following are some side effects and dangers of laxative abuse:
Yes, prolonged use of laxatives can lead to impaired intestinal function as a result of which, they lose their ability to move the stool out. Dependency on laxatives can also cause patients to take higher and higher doses.
Loss of water from intestines can cause dehydration. Symptoms include dizziness, fainting, extreme thirst, headache, decreased urination, dry mouth etc.
With certain laxatives, there is an imbalance of sodium, potassium and chloride. This can cause irregular heartbeat, weakness and even heart related issues. Sometimes, severe diarrhoea can result from excess intake of laxatives causing death.
Laxatives can irritate the colon and intestines leading to bloody diarrhoea. With prolonged bleeding, one could experience fatigue, anaemia, weakness and general debility.
In very severe cases of laxative abuse, the intestines can protrude out of the rectal opening. This condition needs surgery and is very painful.
How to Choose a Laxative
Laxatives are available in form of tablets, capsules, oils, powders or teas. Whatever product or type you choose, take it only as directed by your healthcare practitioner.
If you are taking pills or powder, take it with a tall glass of water. You can take the pill orally with or without food. Night time is best so that you have a bowel movement the next morning. The downside to taking laxatives at night is that you could wake up from cramps or having to go at night.
While taking powders mix the required quantity with a glass of water. In any case, no matter what type of laxative you use, it is advisable to drink tons of water to prevent electrolyte and fluid imbalance. Castor oil and mineral oil work quite quickly; in 5-6 hours you will have a bowel movement. Avoid taking castor oil at bedtime. Never take laxatives after taking antacids or milk.
Choose a laxative based on the goals you wish to achieve.
- For mild constipation, choose bulk laxatives or saline agents like milk of magnesia.
- In case of severely constipated bedridden patients, you might need enema in addition to laxatives.
- If the first line of treatment does not work, you may consider changing the type of laxative.
- Read labels carefully. Many products are advertised as “New Improved Formula”. So a good old stool softener may now contain laxatives like senna which you may not want. Always talk to a pharmacist prior to selecting a laxative.
- Many bulk-forming laxatives contain sweeteners which can affect your blood sugar levels. So choose wisely. Several bulk-forming laxatives are known to cause bloating, abdominal cramps etc.
- Some fibre laxatives are also available in the form of cookies. Many people tend to eat a lot of wafer/cookies laxatives. Note that these contain fat and sugar and, in excess, can lead to diarrhoea, bloating and cramps.
- In senior patients with constipation, one must select laxatives based on age, urinary as well as the cause of constipation.
Best Natural Laxative(s) To Lose Weight
Here are reviews of some of the best laxative to lose weight quickly but gently and safely.
1. Dr Tobias Colon: 14 Day Quick Cleanse to Support Detox, Weight Loss & Increased Energy Levels
If you are looking for top quality, strong laxatives for weight loss, go for Dr Tobias Colon Cleanse.
What it Contains
This ADVANCED herbal formula provides not only effective natural laxatives, fibre and herbs that are gentle on the intestines but also probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus to help promote healthy levels of bacteria in the intestinal tract.
It also contains gentle, natural fibre and senna which is a herbal laxative. Other ingredients are cascara sagrada, aloe vera juice, psyllium husk and flax seeds. These effectively cleanse the colon and liver.
Dr Tobias formula is No. 1 Best Seller on Amazon in the "Detox & Cleanse Weight Loss Products" category. This premium product has had thousands of positive reviews. You can read more details and order it here.
- Made in the United States, Dr. Tobias laxative sources finest ingredients from reputed sources. It is tested by third party using advanced standards of testing.
- Manufactured in cGMP facilities. Tested in an extensive GMP third party testing program.
- Apart from weight loss, the laxative effect also detoxifies the system and chelates toxins from the liver.
- Fast acting gentle formula works quickly to remove clogged waste from the intestines.
- Non irritating laxative which can boost energy, reduce bloating and support healthy bowel movement.
- Effective detox laxative for weight loss.
- Odourless and tasteless
- Cleanses everything out of your system including prescription medicines, so make sure you speak to a doctor before use.
- Very inexpenssive
- Many users got a flatter stomach in a short period of time. Here is a link to the best seller Dr Tobias Colon Cleanse on Amazon.
- Can lead to gas and malodorous bowel movement.
- Can lead to 2-3 bowel movements so make sure you have access to a toilet.
- Make sure you drink plenty of water as it could cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
- Produces stomach noises in some people owing to gas movement.
- The pills are manufactured in the same facility that handles soy, nuts, wheat and other possible allergens. This could cause sensitive people to have allergic reactions.
2. Swiss Kriss Herbal Laxative Tablets By Modern Products
Swiss Kriss herbal laxative is safe and gentle product with hundreds of positive reviews.
What it contains
Swiss Kriss herbal laxative contains some amazing ingredients including: papaya, centaury herbs, calendula, caraway, peppermint, parsley, star anise, lemon verbena, dandelion, peach tree leaves, hibiscus flowers and senna as the main laxative.
- This product works quickly; 6-8 hours and you will get fast, gentle relief.
- People, including colorectal cancer survivors, have safely used this natural laxative for years without any adverse effects. It is non-habit forming.
- Made in USA
- Highly recommend for anyone that needs a little help with bowel movements. Many people have said that Swiss Kriss worked after they tried many other products that didn't.
- Swiss Kriss weight loss product helps you without cramping. Check it out here on Amazon.
- Some people felt even more bloated and constipated after taking Swiss Kriss herbal laxative.
- Could cause heartburn in sensitive individuals.
- Dry pills can be a bit difficult to swallow for some.
3. BioSchwartz Colon Cleanser & Detox for Weight Loss. 15 Day Extra Strength Detox Cleanse with Probiotic for Constipation Relief - Best Laxative for Weight Loss
BioSchwartz’s 15 day program is quite similar to Dr Tobias Colon Cleanse. Like many other colon cleanses it uses senna as its laxative base, but it also has other ingredients in its “proprietary blend” including slippery elm, rhubarb, ginger and aloe vera gel. It also has two different kinds of probiotic bacteria, versus just one in Dr Tobias formula.
Both Dr Tobias and BioSchwartz products are rated 4.5 stars on Amazon so check out the ingedients and choose the one you think will be better for you. In my opinion BioSchwartz formula is slightly better, mainly because it contains two different probiotics. Get more details here.
What it contains
BioSchwartz Colon Cleanser is a very popular laxative and it's an Amazon's Choice for "colon cleanse detox". It contains senna Leaves (Senna alexandrina), flax seeds (L. usitatissimum), psyllium husks (Plantago ovata), cascara sagrada bark (Rhamnus purshiana), rhubarb root (Rheum spp.), aloe leaves (Aloe ferox), ginger root (Zingiber officinale), glucomannan root (Amorphophallus konjac), buckthorn bark (Frangula alnus), black walnut hulls (Juglans nigra), slippery elm bark (Ulmus rubra), Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium.
- Made in USA
- All our products are 100% natural and proudly manufactured in the USA, with strict adherence to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
- All batches are 3rd party tested to guarantee the purity and quality of the ingredients.
- Great detox laxative for weight loss.
- Complementary to the detox process, each serving of this Colon Cleanser is infused with a 4 Billion CFU Probiotic.
- Hand down best laxative for Weight Loss
- I does not contain GMOs ingredients, no fillers, no binders and no artificial ingredients. Click here to buy on Amazon.
- Some people complained about stomach pains.
- Some complained that the product didn't work and others experinced diarrhoea.
4. Traditional Medicinals Organic Smooth Move Tea, 16 Tea Bags (Pack of 6)
If you prefer tea to relive constipation Smooth Move tea is the way to go. 1 cup of this sweet tea and you will have a bowel movement within 6-8 hours.
What it contains
Traditional Medicials laxative Smooth Move tea is very popular laxative. It contains Cassia angustifolia, senna, licorice, fennel, sweet orange, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, and orange peel.
- Gentle relief for occasional constipation
- Non GMO, kosher and organic
- Does not contain caffeine
- It tastes nice
- Non cramping
- It has been rated 4.5 stars by hundreds of happy users. Click here to learn more and buy on Amazon.
- Could cause nausea in some people
5. Senna-Time Generic for Senokot Natural Vegetable Laxative Senna 8.6 Mg 1000 Tablets per Bottle
This is a natural laxative made from senna. Senna has been used since centuries to provide fast, natural overnight relief. Senna-Time is a great product for those who want a laxative that only contains senna.
What it contains
Senna is the main ingredient. It also contains mineral oil.
- This is a fast acting natural laxative that can give relief within 6-12 hours.
- Great price for large number of pills (1000!).
- Effective so you get value for money.
- Works for several conditions like opioid therapy patients, IBS, low carb dieters, elderly patients. Get more details here.
- Produced no results for some users
- Some people experienced cramps with them.
- No other ingredients but senna.
6. MiraLAX Powder Laxative: Miralax Cleanse for Weight Loss
Many people have heard of Miralax for weight loss so I included Miralax in this review because it's the number one recommended best laxative brand by doctors and No. 1 Best Seller in the laxatives category on Amazon.
Compared to stimulant pills, Miralax works naturally with the water in your body to provide fast, gentle relief without cramps. Miralax is an osmotic laxative. Unlike the other products reviewed in this article, it deos not contain herbs or senna. It relieves occasional constipation by attracting water in the colon to ease, hydrate and soften stool to increase the frequency of bowel movements.
What it contains
The main ingredient is polyethylene glycol.
- Tasteless and odourless
- Sugar and preservative free. Contains no gluten.
- Comes with a single dose measuring cap. So no guesswork needed!
- No grit or taste-gentle predictable relief.
- Does not cause accidents, pain, bloating or cramping.
- Easy to use. It's a powder that you can dissolve in anything. Click here to read more about MiraLAX Laxative on Amazon.
- Not fast acting - it may take 1-3 days to work.
- Comes with side effects like emotional instability, hair loss, OCD behaviour, etc especially if you are taking medicines for these issues.
- Not suitable for children.
7. Kirkland LaxaClear, 90 Total Daily Doses (3 Bottles, 30 Doses Each), Compare to Miralax Active Ingredient
This brand of best laxative is also comparable to MiraLax. it contains exactly the same ingredient as Miralax but it's cheaper, so if you are after an osmotic laxative and want to try a different brand then Miralax, check out the top quality Kirkland LaxaClear.
What it contains
This osmotic laxative powder has polyethylene glycol.
- Softens stool to provide gentle relief from occasional constipation
- Works like MiraLax - prescription strength laxative that doctors recommend for people taking pain medicines, or those who have undergone surgery etc. Here’s the link to buy your own.
- Tasteless so you can mix it with anything.
- Not very strong or fast acting - it takes 1-3 days to work. Some people felt it was not comparable to MiraLax in this aspect.
- A few users felt that its taste was terrible.
- Did not work for some people.
- Certainly not for kids as could lead to terrible side effects.
What Causes Constipation?
Constipation is usually caused by a disorder of bowel function rather than a structural problem. Common causes of constipation include:
- Inadequate water intake
- Not enough fibre in the diet
- A disruption of regular diet or routine e.g. travelling
- Eating large amounts of dairy products
- Stress and inadequate activity or exercise
- Immobility due to sickness
- Laxative overuse which, over time, can weaken the bowel muscles
- Neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis
- Using antacids containing calcium or aluminum for a long time
- Medicines and supplements, such as narcotics, antidepressants, or iron pills
- Depression and eating disorders
- Resisting the urge to have a bowel movemen
Chronic constipation can be an annoyance at the least and could also indicate serious underlying health issues at the worst. Moreover, it leads to weight gain, inactivity, lethargy and bloating.
Laxatives provide a safe way of moving the bowels. Using a colon cleansing supplement can help improve your gastrointestinal health on several fronts. The laxative effect in colon cleansing supplements can treat constipation, helping to prevent toxins from sitting around in your colon and causing damage.
However, it is important not to abuse laxatives for weight loss or weight management. Many people are under the impression that if the bowels do not move daily, they are not normal.This is not true.
Do consider all these factors when selecting laxatives for weight loss or general regularity. To repopulate the healthy gut bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract, look for a colon cleanse that has probiotics, or take a separate probiotic supplement.
I hope the above reviews of best laxatives help you make the right choice.
Thank you for providing such a thorough list. You have very good information and options for people with this issue.
i used to take laxatives when i was younger because i used to get so much pain for being constipated. Now as an adult i rather eat papaya and works as well. its good to know about this alternatives you never know when can you need them
Wow, what a great post, thanks for sharing! I really had to be reminded of the balance one needs to keep one’s colon regular.
wow I never knew there were so many different types! This is a really informative article and I like that you outlined the dangers of abuse.