Citrucel and Metamucil are two of the very popular fiber supplements available. Before we explain the differences between Citrucel and Metamucil let us first explain the similarities between them.
Metamucil and Citrucel are both bulk-forming laxatives. Both of these products are used to treat conditions such as diarrhea, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and constipation. They attract water in your intestines and make the stools soft and bulky, easier to pass. Therefore, you should make sure that you drink ample amount of fluids like water or juice.
Since most fiber supplement help in constipation relief you can see they have similarity in how they help you fight constipation. Now let us see the differences between these two products.
Differences between Citrucel and Metamucil
1. Type of Fiber
The primarily active ingredient in Metamucil is psyllium. Psyllium seeds and husks are derived from a plant called Plantago ovata. It is a kind of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is of two types: insoluble fiber and soluble fiber.
When you ingest soluble fiber, it absorbs water and forms a gel-like lump. When this mass passes through your digestive tract, it makes it more comfortable for your intestines to push food materials through digestive tract for exclusion in your feces.
In addition to easing constipation, the bowel-regulating effects of psyllium can also ease the symptoms of mild or moderate diarrhea.
Citrucel contains a substance called methyl cellulose. Methyl cellulose is a chemical compound obtained from cellulose, a natural substance that forms the cell walls of various types of plants. It is not digestible, non-toxic, and non-allergen.
Just like psyllium, methyl cellulose eases the road to excretion for food materials in your bowels. It acts like soluble fiber and fills itself with water in the colon, making gooey stool. It is used to treat gastrointestinal diseases including constipation, diarrhea and IBS.
Psyllium in Metamucil forms a slippery gel when when it comes in contact with water. This gel does not has any other taste but you can feel it when you take it. This is the reason that orange flavor is added to metamucil.
Citrucel on the other hand is totally soluble when you dissolve in water or any other liquid. Methyl cellulose has miild vegetal taste that’s easily suppressed by other flavors. You will not feel the taste of methylcellulose in Citcrucel which is orange flavored. You won’t be able to know that you are taking Citrucel while drinking the fluid. You are more likely to find it easier to take Citrucel compared to Metamucil.
3. Effect on Healthy Gut Microflora or Bacteria
Gut bacteria has a lot of effect on our health. Most recent studies prove this theory. When you have a healthy population of friendly bacteria your overall health will be good and digestive system will work in an efficient manner.
These gut bacteria needs fermentable fiber for food. When they get fermentable fiber they continue to flourish. The fermentable fiber or any food which feed these bacteria is called prebiotic.
Citrucel contains 100% non fermentable fiber. Hence it does not have any effect on gut bacteria. That means that it is not a prebiotic. Psyllium fiber has some amount of fermentable fiber so it does have some good effect on gut bacteria but as you can see a study mentioned here psyllium is not a prebiotic at a massive level. So Metamucil may be better for your gut bacteria health compared to Citrucel.
4. Bloating and Gas (Most important!!)
If you suffer from gas problem this difference will be the most important difference for you. Citrucel is 100 percent non fermentable so gut bacteria in the gut cannot digest it. Hence it does not produce any gas. Citrucel is promoted as non gas producing fiber product. Psyllium can cause some bloating and gas in some people who are not used to this product since it can be digested by the gut bacteria.
What about dose?
Usually you are most likely to consider fiber supplements for constipation or for cholesterol control. Your dosing for both Metamucil and Citrucel for these conditions is more or less the same.
Whichever product you take, make sure you take it with at least 8 oz. of water or some other liquid like fruit juices. If you don’t take this step, both Psyllium and Methyl Cellulose can bulk up and in some cases cause choking.
Don’t take either Metamucil or Citrucel for more than a week without speaking to your doctor. Potential and sometimes lethal side effects of both of these products include nausea, vomiting, allergic reaction, difficulty to swallow, abdominal pain and rectal bleeding.
Metamucil might cause skin rash and worsening constipation symptoms. Citrucel may trigger chest pain and breathing trouble.
Metamucil and Citrucel have drawn different results in different people. Some patients have found Metamucil to work wonders for them, while other patients are ready to suggest Citrucel to everyone they know.
The reason for this diversity might be the varying conditions of the patients’ bodies. Some people with sensitive bowels might experience bloating and gas while on Metamucil.
These symptoms went away once they switched to Citrucel. Sometimes you may see Citrucel doesn’t trigger bowel movements but when you switch to Metamucil does the work for them.
It is prudent to test which of these products works well with your body before you settle to one. You can start with buying the smaller packets and they do a trial. Talk to your doctor for dosage and time of intake. Both of the products interfere with a wide array of other medication and other supplements such as Vitamin absorption you take the medication and supplement around these products. Hence you would be wise to avoid the conflict.