Although dietary fiber is essential to keeping the body healthy, many people fall short of the recommended daily intake of 21 to 38 g of dietary fiber, which can lead to constipation and other bowel problems. Manufacturers sell Citrucel and other over-the-counter fiber supplements to help you relieve digestive system difficulties and maintain bowel health.
The active ingredient in Citrucel is methylcellulose, a type of fiber derived from plants. In addition to methylcellulose, regular Citrucel powder contains citric acid, dibasic calcium phosphate, FD&C yellow #6 and other ingredients, while sugar-free Citrucel powder has aspartame, dibasic calcium phosphate, FD&C yellow #6 and other ingredients.
Once in your digestive system, the soluble fiber in Citrucel absorbs considerable amounts of liquid. It combines with whatever is in the digestive tract to form a larger, softer, bulkier stool. According to MayoClinic.com, this will help spur intestinal contractions, the normal action that moves stools through the digestive tract.
Bulk formers like Citrucel can improve several different aspects of bowel health. They can relieve constipation and straining, because softer, looser stools are easier to pass than are small, hard stools. Citrucel can also relieve diarrhea by helping your stools bulk up and your system slow down.
Citrucel powders should be stirred into water or juice. The resulting mixture should be consumed immediately. Follow Citrucel packaging directions carefully, using the correct amounts of both powder and liquid. Always drink the recommended amount of liquid, because drinking too little can lead to choking and other problems.
Although oral bulk formers are relatively gentle compared with stronger laxatives, over-the-counter fiber supplements can interfere with the activity of certain medications and may not be right for everyone, so speak with a health-care provider before starting to take Citrucel.