Use of laxatives linked to dementia
Regular use of over-the-counter laxatives has been tied to a significantly increased risk of dementia, particularly among those who use multiple types of laxatives or osmotic laxatives.
Among more than 500,000 middle-aged or older adults in the UK Biobank, those who reported regular laxative use had a 51% increased risk of dementia due to any cause, compared to their counterparts who did not regularly use laxatives.
Individuals who only used osmotic laxatives had a 64% increased risk compared to peers who did not use laxatives, while those using one or more types of laxatives, including bulk-forming, stool-softening, or stimulating laxatives, had a 90% increased risk.
The study was published online February 22 in Neurology.
Over an average of 9.8 years, dementia was recorded in 218 (1.3%) of those who regularly used laxatives and in 1969 (0.4%) of those did not.
The Alzheimer's Association is leading a 2-year clinical trial, US Pointer, to examine the impact of behavioral interventions on the gut-brain axis to better understand how our gut health may affect our brains.