Prune juice has been synonymous with pooping for as long as we can remember. Everyone from the elderly to Gen Z influencers swear this sweet, purple beverage can unplug your gut naturally.
So, is prune juice for constipation a science-backed solution or a dubious wives’ tale?
Before we dug into the research, we tried it for ourselves. After lunch, we drank a cup of prune juice and waited for the magic to happen. Unlike coffee, we didn’t get the rumbles right away. But after a few hours, things started moving—and by things, we mean our bowels.
TLDR: prune juice doesn’t make you poop instantly, but it can rev up your colon if you give it some time. Now, let’s dive into the data to see if our extremely unofficial experiment was a fluke or not.
Prune Juice for Constipation: Does It Work?
Health care professionals often advise constipated people to drink prune juice—and for good reason. A systematic review found that consuming prunes for three weeks helped constipated people have more bowel movements (3.5 per week vs. 2.8 per week) and improve their stool consistency,
These findings echo the results of a 2013 study that noted that prune juice helps prevent constipation and may even reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Further, a clinical trial from 2011 concluded that prunes should be considered as a “first line of defense” against chronic constipation and are more effective than medications and supplements containing psyllium husk (like Metamucil).
Bottom line: Prune juice is the undisputed GOAT of constipation relief.
Prune Juice vs. Dried Prunes: Which Is Better?
Prune juice is extracted from prunes, which are dried plums. Both forms of prunes have digestive health benefits, but the whole fruit may actually be healthier than the juice.
A 100 gram-serving of whole prunes contains nearly 15 grams of sorbitol, a sugar alcohol with a natural laxative effect. On the other hand, a serving of prune juice only has about half the amount of sorbitol.
Whole prunes also pack more dietary fiber than prune juice. Ten prunes deliver 7.1 grams of soluble fiber, more than 28% of the FDA’s recommended daily fiber intake. An eight-ounce serving of prune juice has three grams of fiber—not bad, but not nearly as much as the dried fruit variety.
Prunes and their juice are also loaded with probiotics, potassium, magnesium, and phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant properties.
For context, prune juice blows other fruit juices out of the water in the fiber department. That includes apple juice, pear juice, and lemon juice—all of which are popular home remedies for constipation.
How Much Prune Juice Should You Drink for Constipation?
The recommended serving size of prune juice for constipation is 4-8 ounces. For optimal bowel benefits, drink your prune juice every morning. Despite what you may have heard, guzzling large amounts of prune juice doesn’t correlate with larger poops—stick to one cup daily.
If you opt to eat dried prunes, you can eat up to ten whole prunes per day. That might seem like a lot, but they’re pretty small (slightly larger than a grape).
You can’t really “overdose” on prunes, but they might make you rip a ton of stinky farts and potentially cause bloating.
Remember that prunes don’t compensate for a poor diet, dehydration, and lack of exercise. If you’re a sloth who subsists on pizza and beer, no amount of prune juice is going to fix your digestive problems.
Try to diversify your fiber sources with whole grains and veggies, drink plenty of water, and get off your ass once every hour.
How Fast Does Prune Juice Work for Constipation?
After drinking prune juice, you can get the urge to go in 1-3 hours. If you’re severely constipated, it could take up to a day or longer to relax your digestive tract and start a bowel movement.
Most studies examining prune juice for constipation have participants consuming it for two weeks. That’s not to say prune juice can’t work fast, but it can take a while for your gastrointestinal system to sync and produce healthy, regular bowel movements.
3 Ways to Use Prune Juice for Constipation
Drinking prune juice straight out of the bottle is easy and cheap. A jug of prune juice clocks between $5 and $10, depending on where you’re shopping. However, if you want to get more creative with incorporating prune juice into your diet, here are a few options.
Prune Juice Smoothie
- One cup of prune juice
- A handful of berries (blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries)
- One medium banana
- Handful of ice
Homemade Prune Juice
- Add 5-6 pitted prunes in a bowl with ¼ cup of hot water for 30 minutes
- Blend the soaked prunes with ¾ cup of additional warm water for a minute
- Strain and chill the juice
Prune Bran-Apple Bowl
Johns Hopkins Hospital calls this the “Recipe for Bowel Regularity,” but we thought it deserved a more memorable name.
- One cup of prune juice
- One cup of applesauce
- One cup of bran or unprocessed wheat bran
- Store in your refrigerator and serve chilled
Are You Ready for Prune Poops?
When you make prune juice a staple in your diet, there’s no telling when a shit-utation will catch you by surprise. Maybe it’s in the middle of dinner with your in-laws or during a high-stakes business meeting.
Fortunately, when you stay strapped with DUDE Wipes Singles, you can be ready for cleanup duty anywhere, anytime. We might not be able to make you poop, but you can always count on us to be there for cleanup duty.
Need more ideas for constipation relief? Here's our list of drinks that make you poop immediately.