Some home remedies are perennially popular. Others are more unusual. Although we have heard from readers that blackstrap molasses can ease hemorrhoids, we were surprised when a reader reported that taking blackstrap molasses improved bowel function.
Blackstrap Molasses Reduced Urge to Poop:
Q. I used to have to use the bathroom three or four times a day at a moment’s notice. This is part of my history of ulcerative colitis.
About two weeks ago, I started taking a couple of tablespoons of blackstrap molasses daily. Since then my urge to poop is under control. In addition, I only need to use the bathroom once or twice a day.
I am not constipated, and I’m pleased with these changes. Do you have any insight why it is happening?
A. People with ulcerative colitis (UC) have an inflammatory disease of the digestive tract. There is some evidence to suggest that the immune system of these individuals is reacting to the microbial makeup of the gut ecology (Disease-a-Month, Dec. 2019).
Molasses My Affect Intestinal Microbiota:
A fascinating article in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine (Dec. 2019) may offer a preliminary answer to your question. A pilot test tube study suggests that sugarcane molasses may enhance the body’s natural anti-inflammatory reaction. It may do this in part by enhancing the good bacteria in the colon. Perhaps the blackstrap molasses is modifying your microbiota in a favorable way.
Keep in mind, though, that molasses does contain sugar. A tablespoon contains 61 calories, so over time an extra 122 calories daily could add up. If you compensate by reducing your intake from other sources, though, you might be able to manage that without weight gain.
We have interviewed a few scientists who are investigating how the gut flora (the microbes in the digestive tract) respond to diet. You may wish to listen to Show 1156: How the Microbiota in the Good Gut Takes Care of You. We have also spoken with gastroenterologist Robynne Chutkan, MD. Her interview on avoiding constipation offers numerous tips on diet to improve the digestive microbiota. It is Show 1115: How You Can Conquer Constipation.