Lemon Water: Poop-Inducing or Just a Myth?

Are you tired of hearing people swear by the alleged magical powers of drinking lemon water? Are you wondering whether there is any real scientific basis to this trend, or if it’s just another Instagram influencer fad? Or, more importantly, are you curious whether drinking lemon water can make you poop more? Fear not dear reader, for I have dived into the depths of research (and my own digestive system) to bring you some answers.

What is Lemon Water and Why All The Hype?

First things first – let’s define what we mean by “lemon water”. Unless someone is talking about a new brand of sparkling seltzer with added lemon flavoring (in which case my apologies), we’re usually referring to plain old tap or filtered water that has been infused with slices or wedges of fresh lemons.

The appeal behind this mixture lies in several factors:

  • It tastes refreshing and mildly tart
  • Lemons contain vitamin C and other antioxidants that are beneficial for overall health
  • Some studies show that drinking warm lemon water in the morning may help jumpstart metabolism and aid digestion

All good stuff then! But does adding citrus to your hydration routine really warrant all the fanfare it receives on wellness blogs?

Vitamin C Benefits – Preventative Measures Only

When life gives us lemons – squeeze them into your meal prep!

Lemons are indeed an excellent source of vitamin C, which plays a crucial role in antioxidant function within our bodies [1]. Antioxidants protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals produced during metabolic processes. Consuming adequate amounts of vitamin C daily may also benefit immune function [2], promote healthy skin [3], improve iron absorption from non-animal sources [4] among others.

However as impressive as these benefits sound they don’t necessarily stem directly from consuming lemon by drinking lemon water. Rather, it means that getting sufficient vitamin C in your diet from various sources (broccoli and bell peppers are also great choices) can promote healthful outcomes.

Ah, now we get to the juicy (pun intended) bit: does adding acidic citrus juice to plain old H2O turn our bowels into a quicker-acting machine?

The Physiology of Digestion – Why Anything We Eat/Drink Affects Our BM

Before exploring this question, let’s have a quick rundown on how digestion works.

Digestion starts from the moment we put food or drink in our mouths 5. Salivary glands begin producing an enzyme called amylase, which begins breaking down carbohydrates even before we start chewing. Our stomach then mixes up what it receives with gastric juices containing hydrochloric acid and enzymes like pepsin, starting its breakdown process further by turning contents into a liquid mush known as “chyme”. Eventually, chyme moves through the small intestine where nutrient absorption takes place while excess water is reabsorbed thereupon reaching large intestines where feces formation completes leading to excretion via rectum [6].

Long story short: anything we swallow has potentially far-reaching impacts on digestive processes beyond whatever initial taste sensations or nutritional benefit they might offer.

Lemons + Warm Water = Happy Tummy? Maybe…

One claim often made by lemon-water enthusiasts is that consuming it first thing in the morning (before eating any solid foods) aids digestion thanks to its apparent alkalizing effect on stomach acidity [7]. However no existing empirical research supports this notion – indeed researchers contend such an effect would be minimal given that meals already contain proteins buffering stomach acidity during digestion anyway!

What is supported depending heavily on individual experiences is having a glass warm water early immediately after waking up – more so than whether lemons are involved or not. Drinking warm water on an empty stomach stimuli gut motility promoting possible movements [8].

There is limited evidence that lemon compounds such as limonene and polyphenolic flavonoids like hesperidin may support digestion by reducing delayed gastric emptying time (the amount of chyme remaining in your stomach after 2 hours). So bio-chemically speaking, it’s plausible that drinking diluted lemon juice could make feces softer easier to pass if you’re constipated [9]. But this effect remains weakly supported.

The Bottom Line: Drink Lemon Water for its Fine Taste & Observed Beneficial Effects

So, what can we conclude with certainty? Increasing daily water consumption over sugary/caffeinated drinks provides a variety of benefits. Sip away on infused or plain regular water.

Incorporating foods into your diet which offer various health benefits including Vitamin C improves overall wellbeing help keep the doctor away.

And finally long story short – What does Not Happen when drinking lemon water is poop inducing bowel movements beyond individuals’ normal routine frequency.

That’s all folks! Breath easy knowing there no negative impacts to come from consuming lemons in any form other than the occasional heartburn caused by their acidic nature – but surely third degree mouth puckering while failing to swallow anything near them would have conditioned us enough against that!


With Grace,
Your Digestive System

[1]: Reddy et al., ‘Assessment of total antioxidant activity in Indian kitchen spices using spectrophotometric methods’, Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry 50 (2002), pp. 81–86._

[2]: Carr AC, Maggini S., ‘Vitamin C and Immune Function’ Nutrients
2017 Nov; 9(11):1211_

[3]: Pullar JM, Carr AC,Vissers MCM,’The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health’ Nutrients
2017 Aug; 9(8):866

[4]: Hallberg L, Hulthén L,’Prediction of dietary iron absorption: An algorithm for calculating absorption and bioavailability of dietary iron’ American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
2000 May ;71 (5 ):1147-60

[6]:’The gastrointestinal system’ – Typeset.io. (2022). Retrieved 11 June 2022, from https://typeset.io/resources/the-gastrointestinal-system/#the-small-intestine.
[7]Liska, D., & Jungnickel, M. ‘Comparative study on the effects of two mineral alkalizing blends on urinary pH’. Accessed August 25th, 2021. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269315376_Comparative_study_on_the_effects_of _two_mineral_-alkalizing_blends_on_urinary_pH.

[8]Rao SS,’Effectiveness of warm water ingestion in stimulating bowel movements in healthy subjects’ Neurogastroenterology & Motility
2006 Jul;18(7):591- or alternatively summarized here:https://garudacreations.com/drinking-warm-water-on-an-empty-stomach-immense-health-benefits-myths-vs-facts/

[9]:Kim MS et al ‘ The effect of lemon inhalation aromatherapy on nausea and vomiting during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial’ J Alt Compl Med .2014 Apr;20(4):330-3