Is drinking castor oil for weight loss dangerous? Experts weigh in on risks

0
51
Is drinking castor oil for weight loss dangerous? Experts weigh in on risks

Join Fox News for access to this content

Plus special access to select articles and other premium content with your account – free of charge.

By entering your email and pushing continue, you are agreeing to Fox News’ Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which includes our Notice of Financial Incentive.

Please enter a valid email address.

On social media, castor oil has become a popular trend for various uses, from hair growth to weight loss.

There have been millions of posts about the vegetable oil on TikTok, with many creators sharing how they’ve used it to improve their health.

In more controversial cases, creators have applied castor oil directly to their belly buttons — and have even taken to drinking it as a detox and weight-loss method, since the FDA has approved castor oil as a natural laxative.

DOES SUNSCREEN CAUSE CANCER? DOCTORS DEBUNK CLAIMS GONE WILD ON SOCIAL MEDIA

While some people on the internet have reported positive results, experts are warning that castor oil consumption could be dangerous for overall health.

Registered dietitian Ilana Muhlstein told Fox News Digital she has “never heard of castor oil being used for anything other than its traditional applications.” 

Castor oil is a vegetable oil derived from the Ricinus communis plant, which is common in the Eastern areas of the world, according to the National Institutes of Health. (iStock)

The Los Angeles-based expert assumed that a primary use is for short-term, mild weight loss, since castor oil acts as a laxative.

“Laxatives can dehydrate you and cause dependency,” she said. “There are much safer alternatives.” 

She added, “If you’re having trouble in the bathroom, try increasing your water intake, adding more fiber to your diet and getting more exercise. Speak with your doctor or dietitian if you have any questions.”

FEELING HUNGRIER THAN USUAL? YOUR SLEEP SCHEDULE COULD BE THE CULPRIT, AN EXPERT SAYS

Katrina Mattingly, M.D., chief medical officer at Option Medical Weight Loss in Chicago, said castor oil is a “tried-and-true, old-school laxative.”

She told Fox News Digital in an email, “The first thing that comes to mind is diarrhea.”

woman uses dropper with oil

Castor oil is a “tried-and-true old school laxative” with a “distinct taste,” one doctor told Fox News Digital. But doctors warn about its use for weight loss.  (iStock)

“I remember my 97-year-old grandmother giving it to us as kids, along with prune juice, when our GI systems needed help moving things along,” Mattingly said.

Castor oil “hastens our bodies’ elimination of solid waste products and also rids the body of essential water,” the expert noted.

While this can trigger weight loss, Mattingly said that “along with all the solid waste and essential water going down the toilet are essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and chloride” — which can lead to deficiencies.

WEIGHT-LOSS MEDICATIONS ARE NOT EFFECTIVE WITHOUT ‘NUTRITION THERAPY,’ EXPERTS SAY

While castor oil can be helpful in relieving occasional constipation, overusing it as a laxative can lead to the bowels becoming dependent on laxatives, Mattingly warned, “making it difficult to go naturally on your own.”

The obesity doctor emphasized that she would not recommend castor oil for weight loss in any capacity.

drops of oil are added to a coffee cup

One doctor only recommends drinking castor oil in small amounts for occasional constipation.  (iStock)

“Although castor oil has been in use for centuries for a variety of reasons, from body detoxification to vision problems to labor induction, there’s no safety data to recommend routine use for any of these conditions, except constipation,” she said.

Current scientific studies and research do not support its use solely for the purpose of weight loss, the doctor noted.

EATING ONE TYPE OF FRUIT REGULARLY COULD REDUCE DIABETES RISK IN WOMEN, STUDY SUGGESTS: ‘INCREDIBLY HEALTHY’

Mattingly said she would recommend ingesting castor oil in “small amounts” only for occasional bouts of constipation if it has worked in the past.

“Just remember to hydrate to replace the fluid loss, and if you have long-term or chronic constipation, that warrants a trip to your physician.”

‘Massive detox’ or health hazard?

Women’s health expert Dr. Mindy Pelz advocated for the use of castor oil packs to regulate organ function and move toxins through the body.

The California-based doctor claimed that castor oil can absorb through the skin and move into the organs “very easily.”

woman has oil placed in her belly button during a massage

Castor oil application can spark a “massive detox,” one doctor said. (iStock)

“When it goes into our system, it creates dilation,” Pelz said to Fox News Digital. “It’s so simple, and so inexpensive … You could just rub it over your liver and gallbladder. You need castor oil to stay on there for two hours for it to … start to dilate these organs.”

DRINKING 100% ORANGE JUICE IS LINKED TO SURPRISING HEALTH BENEFITS, STUDY FINDS

Pelz recommended applying castor oil at night, up to three times a week, for a “massive detox that opens the whole system up.”

antique castor oil bottles

The FDA has approved castor oil as a natural laxative. (iStock)

Mattingly, however, countered that castor oil “does not show promise in having inflammatory, antimicrobial properties or antioxidant properties.”

And while viral social media claims are often based on personal experiences, Mattingly noted that certain applications may not have the same effect on everyone.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

“When it comes to medical weight loss, leave that to the experts to ensure you are undergoing a safe and effective plan that won’t leave you miserable or taking that dreaded trip to the ER,” she advised.

Other castor oil applications

There are a few traditional applications for castor oil, including applying it to the scalp or eyelashes to promote hair growth, as well as using it on the belly button for better sleep, Muhlstein said.

“Some people say it helps ease muscle tension and promotes deeper sleep,” she said. “Just be cautious,” she added, “because I’ve heard that using too much of it can make you feel lethargic.”

a graphic of a woman measuring her waist and an image of an oil dropper into tea

“Perhaps future studies will give us another resounding medicinal use for [castor oil] other than constipation,” one doctor said. (iStock)

Another potential use for castor oil is as a topical treatment for skin irritations or scars, Muhlstein added.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews/health

“People have reported positive results,” she said. “So, if you’ve got any annoying skin issues, it might be worth giving it a try, but always consult with a dermatologist for bigger issues.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Mattingly recommended rubbing castor oil on your stomach or skin as a moisturizer only — but not for weight loss.

“Also, castor oil can have an unforgettable smell,” she warned. “So be prepared for this, particularly if using it on the face or hair.”

Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here