What Kind of Hull Fiber Is the Strongest Laxative?

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What Kind of Hull Fiber Is the Strongest Laxative? Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images Hull fibers are natural bulk laxatives that are used in many over-the-counter brands, and they are also sold individually. There are several kinds of hull fibers, but they all work essentially the same way. By absorbing water and increasing bulk, they improve bowel motility. The strongest hull fiber will vary by individual, because each person's diet, age and reaction to laxatives are unique. Hull fibers can be included in your daily diet to improve nutrition and keep your bowels healthy.

The hull fiber is the rough outer covering of seeds and grains. Wheat grain kernels have an outer layer that is called the bran, which is a hull fiber with laxative properties. This is why bran muffins are considered to be helpful for constipation and improving bowel motility. Other grains have these benefits as well. Oat kernels have an outer layer that is easily removed by grinding and is available as oat bran. Legumes such as peas have an outer covering called pea hulls that act as a laxative. Psyllium seed hulls are another type of hull fiber that acts as a laxative.

Hull fiber works as a laxative by absorbing water, thereby increasing bowel bulk and making its passage through the large intestine easier. Psyllium hulls consist of a mucilage complex carbohydrate that expands with water, becoming gelatinous. This has the advantage of preventing diarrhea while providing the benefits of a laxative. Bowel motility is increased without the side effects of cramping. Always drink a glass of water when taking these types of laxatives to get the full benefits.

The laxative action of all hull fibers depends on dosage. One hull fiber may work better for you than it does for someone else. This is also true of dosage. Always start slowly when adding hull fiber to your diet. Too many bran muffins and a cup of coffee will send you in search of a bathroom. The laxative effect is multiplied when you have more foods containing hull fibers. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, an adult dosage is to mix 1/2 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons of pysllium seed in 1 cup of water. Drink immediately before it becomes too thick to swallow. If you use a brand, follow directions on the label.

Always check with your health care provider before taking over-the-counter laxatives. Follow the directions carefully. Hull fibers can be taken daily to improve bowel movements. Do not combine hull fiber laxatives with other forms of laxatives without talking to your doctor. Although constipation is not usually a sign of serious illness, you should discuss chronic constipation with a health care professional.

Article reviewed by TimDog Last updated on: May 10, 2012

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