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How benign is Miralax?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 18, 2011 at 1:48 AM

I have heard both that Miralax (aka Polyethylene Glycol) is a benign laxative and that it actually damages the gut flora.

How severely does Miralax affect gut flora?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 18, 2011
at 02:52 PM

Low molecular weight PEG can be absorbed, but even at the high end (1100 Daltons) in that paper you see less than 5% absorption. Miralax is 3350 daltons, likely much too large to be significantly absorbed by our digestive systems. Even if it does get absorbed, it's chemically inert and essentially biologically in-degradable, and will get eliminated largely unchanged.

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3 Answers

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32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 18, 2011
at 02:02 AM

We chemists see PEG has fairly inert and biologically compatible. Being non-toxic, it's not killing gut flora. It might though through its mechanism of action ultimately cause bacteria to get flushed out of your intestines, just a guess on that.

1
D037d734f061de515a0bd49a32e11d3c

(90)

on October 18, 2011
at 02:28 PM

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/126/9/2172.full.pdf

Would love for someone to interpret this.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 18, 2011
at 02:52 PM

Low molecular weight PEG can be absorbed, but even at the high end (1100 Daltons) in that paper you see less than 5% absorption. Miralax is 3350 daltons, likely much too large to be significantly absorbed by our digestive systems. Even if it does get absorbed, it's chemically inert and essentially biologically in-degradable, and will get eliminated largely unchanged.

1
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on October 18, 2011
at 02:22 AM

I took it for 8 months straight, no side-effects except for major relief on the toilet.

First time I've ever heard suggested that it could harm gut flora. If you're still worried, taking probiotics or eating fermented foods are always a good thing, with or without Miralax.

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