TikTokers Are Drinking Chia Seed Water to Make Themselves Poop, But Does It Work?

Learn all about the benefits of chia seeds for digestion from nutrition experts.

TikTok True or False: Do Chia Seeds Make You Poop?
Photo: Getty Images

Constipation is a hot topic on TikTok. If you're on the app, there's a good chance you've come across some tip or hack to help deal with a backed up digestive system. With videos about abdominal massages, acupressure techniques, and even a method called splinting, which involves physically pushing stool out of the body, the app has brought forth some interesting methods (to say the least) for relieving constipation.

The most recent digestion hack to go viral on the app involves drinking a concoction many users are calling the "internal shower" drink. It consists of 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and juice from half a lemon mixed into a glass of water. Before drinking it, users recommend letting it sit for a few minutes until it becomes more gelatinous in texture. Users on the app are recording themselves making the beverage, drinking it, and then giving updates afterward on whether or not it's helped move things along in their digestive system. The beverage has created quite a bit of buzz on the platform recently for its supposed benefits, and now one search of the hashtag #internalshowerdrink brings up videos with more than seven million collective views.

While the drink has only recently made the rounds on TikTok, it's important to note that the Aztecs were the first to discover the benefits of chia seeds thousands of years ago, and ancient Mayan warriors attributed their stamina to the ingredient. In fact, the Mexican Tarahumara tribe known for their long-distance runners have long relied on a drink called Iskiate that's made of chia seeds, lemon, and water for energy. TikTok user @_mimzilla created a video to set the facts straight: Drinking chia seed and lemon water isn't simply a wellness trend, it's an ancient tradition, she explains in her TikTok.

That said, the drink does offer digestion benefits, mostly due to the fiber content of chia seeds. Keep reading to learn more about why the drink might help kickstart your digestive system and what to consider before giving it a try, according to registered dietitians.

What are chia seeds?

Chia seeds are edible seeds that come from a desert plant known as Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family, and they are loaded with nutrients and offer plenty of health benefits, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They're a good source of healthy fat, minerals, and plant-based protein, explains Taylor Fazio M.S., R.D., C.N., a registered dietician and wellness advisor at The Lanby in New York City. Plus, chia seeds "help manage blood sugars, support bone health (thanks to the minerals they provide), and support heart health," says Lauren Manaker, M.S., R.D.N., L.D., a registered dietitian and nutritionist.

Most importantly in terms of digestion, chia seeds contain fiber. "In just 2 tablespoons, chia seeds pack in around 10 grams fiber," explains Fazio. That's why they can help support healthy bowel movements, according to Fazio and Manaker (more on that later).

Does drinking the chia seed "internal shower" to deal with constipation work?

While there are many factors that my impact a person's digestive health, drinking chia seeds and lemon mixed with water may help regulate bowel movements, namely due to the fiber found in the chia seeds, but it won't treat underlying causes, confirm experts. ICYDK, fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can't digest and, in turn, helps regulate the passage of food through the digestive system, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

The daily recommended amount of fiber for women is at least 21 to 25 grams and 30 to 38 grams for men, reports the Mayo Clinic. So, drinking the "internal shower" beverage that calls for 2 tablespoons of chia seeds (aka 10 grams of fiber) contributes to a solid portion of your daily recommended amount of fiber.

"Since these seeds contain fiber, they can help support healthy bowel movements," says Manaker. "Of course, they won't be a cure-all for everyone, as digestive health depends on many factors that extend beyond a person's diet," she adds. Fazio agrees that the "internal shower" drink may help stimulate a bowel movement but notes that it's important to look at the big picture when it comes to relieving constipation. "Lifestyle factors, such as adequately hydrating, getting movement, quality of overall diet, stress, and more" may be related to digestive issues, she explains. That's why it's important to consult with a health care provider before making dietary changes to get to the root of any gastrointestinal problem.

As for the included lemon juice, it's mostly for flavor, but lemon is a natural diuretic (meaning it helps you pee, therefore removing excess water and salt) that may help with bloating, especially when included with water.

Is the chia seed "internal shower" drink safe?

"I have been recommending drinks like the 'internal shower' drink for years, because it is a natural solution that may help people have healthy bowel movements," says Manaker. Although it's a relatively safe concoction, ingesting too many chia seeds could lead to negative symptoms, such as gas, bloating, and constipation, explains Fazio.

"I would not recommend consuming chia seeds in large quantities to meet fiber needs," says Fazio. "1 to 2 tablespoons maximum mixed in water, soaked for an adequate amount of time should be okay," she adds. Most TikTok users advise soaking chia seeds for five to 15 minutes before drinking.

Manaker agrees, adding, "For those who typically eat a lower-fiber diet, eating large amounts of chia seeds may cause gastrointestinal distress." Instead of rapidly increasing how many chia seeds you eat in a day, try slowing increasing your intake to avoid discomfort, she recommends.

Drinking the chia seed "internal shower" is a good way to help relieve constipation: true or false?

TikTok True or False: Do Chia Seeds Make You Poop?
Getty Images

It's true! If you're having issues with constipation, you might be pleasantly surprised by the effects of this drink. The "internal shower" beverage can boost your fiber and water intake to help move food through the digestive system.

However, if you don't enjoy the way this drink tastes, there are plenty of other remedies to try, says Manaker. For instance, you can add chia seeds to "smoothies, on top of oatmeal, in salad dressings, or even soaked in water or light coconut milk for a chia pudding," suggests Fazio. When in doubt, make sure to consult with a doctor for the best dietary practices for you.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles