Citrucel is a common supplement often used as the first line of defense against constipation.
It’s available in different forms, widely available, and easy to use.
Still, many people are unsure about its ingredients, whether it’s safe, and whether it works.
This article describes what Citrucel is, how to use it, and how it compares to some competitors.
Citrucel is designed to relieve constipation by adding bulk to your stool, helping it pass through your digestive tract more easily. This is due to its content of methylcellulose fiber (
It also contains several other ingredients, including food dyes, natural flavors, and preservatives such as citric acid.
It’s available over the counter in the form of both caplets and powders to mix with water.
Citrucel is a caplet or powder product that contains a fiber called methylcellulose. It’s intended to reduce constipation by adding bulk to your stool.
The nutritional breakdown of Citrucel varies depending on the product (2):
|Regular Citrucel powder||Sugar-free Citrucel powder||Citrucel tablets|
|Carbs||17 grams||8 grams||0 grams|
|Methylcellulose||2 grams||2 grams||0.5 grams|
Citrucel contains a different type of fiber than many other popular fiber supplements.
For example, the product called Metamucil contains psyllium fiber. Psyllium comes from a plant called Plantago ovata, also known as blond plantain, and contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber passes through your digestive tract intact (
While psyllium can improve symptoms of constipation, it can also cause loss of appetite. Plus, many people dislike the taste and texture (
Therefore, some people prefer products like Citrucel. It has only soluble fiber, a type that dissolves in water to form a thick, gel-like texture (
The nutritional content of Citrucel varies. It contains 100% soluble fiber, while other products such as Metamucil contain a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Citrucel contains methylcellulose, a type of fiber that adds bulk to your stool. This helps it move through your digestive tract more easily (
Multiple studies in the 1980s found that it can treat constipation and improve the frequency, consistency, and ease of stool passage (
According to the manufacturer, Citrucel may take 12–72 hours to produce a bowel movement (2).
As mentioned, the type of fiber found in Citrucel is classified as soluble fiber. In addition to promoting regularity, increasing your intake of soluble fiber may offer several other health benefits.
For example, studies show that soluble fiber can lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, increase feelings of fullness to support weight loss, and help protect against certain types of cancer (
Citrucel can reduce symptoms of constipation. It contains soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, increase feelings of fullness, and help protect against certain types of cancer.
Although Citrucel may offer several health benefits, it also has some potential side effects.
In particular, bulk-forming fiber supplements like Citrucel can cause issues such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in some people (
According to the manufacturer, taking Citrucel without enough fluids can also cause the powder to swell up in your throat and pose a choking risk (2).
Therefore, it’s important to drink plenty of water when using Citrucel, regardless of whether you take it in powder or caplet form.
It’s best to start with a low dosage and work your way up as needed. This will help prevent side effects, such as gas or bloating, that can occur if you increase your fiber intake too quickly (
Citrucel may cause digestive issues and pose a choking hazard if taken without enough liquid. For this reason, it’s important to increase your intake slowly and drink plenty of water.
Use Citrucel only as directed. The manufacturer recommends that adults and children over age 12 start with 1 tablespoon (11 grams) of powder per day. If this isn’t enough, you can increase the amount slowly as needed, taking up to 3 tablespoons (33 grams) daily (2).
If using caplets, you can start with 2 per day. If you need more, you can work your way up to 2 caplets 6 times per day, a total of 12 caplets daily.
Regardless of your dosage and preferred form, be sure to drink plenty of water when using Citrucel to prevent adverse digestive side effects and to reduce choking risk.
It can be a good idea to take Citrucel at the same time each day to make it easier to remember. For example, you could take it right after brushing your teeth in the morning or with breakfast.
Because Citrucel can interfere with the absorption of other drugs, take it at least 2 hours before or after other medications.
Further, if you’re taking other medications or have any underlying health conditions, it’s best to talk with your doctor before using Citrucel.
Use Citrucel only as directed. Pair it with plenty of water and take it at least 2 hours before or after any other medications.
Fiber supplements like Citrucel can be an easy and effective way to increase your fiber intake and promote regularity.
However, unless advised by a healthcare professional, you shouldn’t use Citrucel for longer than 1 week.
If constipation persists beyond 1 week, consult a healthcare professional. They can help you determine whether there are other issues to address to treat the problem at its root.
Additionally, keep in mind that fiber supplements don’t boast the same nutrients as fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Therefore, while Citrucel and other supplements can help boost your fiber intake in the short term, make sure to pair them with a healthy, well-rounded diet to ensure that your nutritional needs are being met.
While Citrucel can be used short-term to increase your fiber intake, don’t use it for longer than 1 week. Pair it with a balanced diet for the best results.
Citrucel is a fiber supplement. It contains methylcellulose, a type of soluble fiber.
In addition to promoting regularity, soluble fiber may reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels, increase feelings of fullness, and help protect against certain types of cancer.
However, it can cause negative digestive side effects. You shouldn’t use it long-term unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.
Additionally, it’s important that you don’t use Citrucel as a replacement for a healthy, well-rounded diet rich in naturally fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Just one thing
Try this today: While Citrucel can be a short-term solution for constipation, switching up your diet is an effective strategy to keep you regular in the long term. Check out this article to see 17 foods that can combat constipation.