Laxatives induce bowel movements and rush the elimination of foods from the intestines, hence their popularity as weight loss aids. But extensive use reduces, in time, your body’s capacity to assimilate the much-needed nutrients. Along with the fats and the water, you are also losing essential compounds, starting to feel weaker and without energy. In extreme cases, your heart can stop (due to the lack of nutrients) or the brain might get into a seizure (because of electrolyte imbalance). Your kidneys are also at danger of short-term bleeding or even long-term damage. The colon itself can end up much too lined, forcing you to use a colostomy bag for the rest of your life.
The risks associated to weight loss laxatives depend on what and how much you’re taking – upon intensity, laxatives can be classified as:
Type 1 – based on fibers, the mildest effect;
Type 2 – based on osmosis, absorb water into the intestines, soften the stool;
Type 3 – soften the stool more aggressive, recommended to patients with significant bowel movement difficulties or constipation;
Type 4 – stimulant laxatives, strongest and most dangerous; they force the body to take out everything from the digestive tract by aggressively irritating the intestinal walls.
Now let’s have a look at the top 5 best weight loss laxatives:
1. Super Colon Cleanse
Super Colon Cleanse is made of Cascara Sagrada, Senna and Buckthorn as main ingredients (the last 2 are herbal laxatives) and Fennel Seed, Papaya, Peppermint, Buckthorn Bark, Rose Hips, Celery, Barberry Root and Acidophilus as secondary ingredients. This is another fully vegetarian formula (except for the outer layer of the capsule, which is gelatin), that should help you clean your bowels and control your weight.
But the manufacturer itself warns against using this product if you’re having abdominal pains, loose stools or diarrhea, prior or after starting to use Super Colon Cleanse. They also advise against it any pregnant or nursing women. Those who are under any kind of other medication should ask their doctor before using it.
2. Optimum Colon, by Dr. Tobias
The Optimum Colon formula of Dr. Tobias contains not just fibers (psyllium husk, flax seed powder) and natural laxatives (such as Cascara Sagrada and Senna), but also the friendly Lactobacillus Acidophilus, known to increase the levels of healthy bacteria inside the intestinal tract.
The manufacturer advises customers to use it occasionally, and if you want to start a cleansing program with it, to take only 2 capsules a day for 2 weeks in a row, but never start a new cycle sooner than 6-8 weeks after the previous one. The same recommendation stays in place – consult your doctor if you have any known medical condition, you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
3. Colon Cleanse, by Naturo Sciences
Naturo Sciences manufactures a proprietary blend that combines over 20 different natural ingredients, Cascara Sagrada, Buckthorne Root, Aloe Vera included. The supplements are advertised as cleanse and detoxify solution and enjoy numerous positive reviews throughout the web.
Nevertheless, the FDA hasn’t evaluated this formula, just like most other weight loss laxatives. Naturo Sciences warns against using more than 3 capsules a day and calls it a “powerful formulation”. Pregnant and nursing women, children under 18 years old and adults with any kind of medical conditions should ask their doctor’s opinion on taking these supplements.
4. Triphala, by BRI Nutrition
For a product that doesn’t enjoy as many reviews as other competitive brands, Triphala promises a lot of benefits: anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, liver function boost, amazing irritable syndrome therapy treatment and more.
Even though it is 100% natural and it contains many herbs, BRI Nutrition warns that it can cause some gastrointestinal troubles – upset stomach, diarrhea, gas etc. Children, nursing mothers and pregnant women “are highly discouraged” from using these supplements.
5. Garcinia Cambogia Extract, by NatureWise
Garcinia Cambogia is an exotic fruit-based weight loss supplement, but few people know that the locals have used the plant as a laxative for a very long time. The pills manufactured by NatureWise are exclusively based on this plant, gluten-free, non-GMO and non-stimulating. The product is known to suppress appetite and boost energy, but recent research suggests it can also increase glucose absorption and improve cholesterol levels.
Therefore, the main risks concern its combination with blood sugar or cholesterol control medication. These natural pills could cause the glucose levels drop down or inhibit the effect of the cholesterol controllers. Pregnant and nursing women, just like people with liver or kidney problems, are not advised to take this supplement.
The signs that you are having problems could not be so obvious or, on the contrary, could cause you dizziness, headache, dry mouth, upset stomach or even diarrhea.
Even the most popular weight loss laxatives, made exclusively from plants, can have side effects. Many of them aren’t known because FDA doesn’t look extensively into these products. And since there are many different compounds involved, you can never know how they’re going to react with other medication that you are taking.
While you don’t have to be scared up to the point of not using these supplements anymore, the safest bet is to always ask your doctor about the pills you are considering.