Metamucil is a brand-name fiber supplement that provides typical fiber-related benefits to your digestive system. Your colon is the final part of your small intestine, and Metamucil helps to keep food moving through the colon so that you don't become constipated. A healthy colon keeps itself clean, and Metamucil contributes by supporting digestive-system health.
Metamucil contains a plant-based soluble fiber called psyllium that has a laxative effect on your digestive system, according to PubMed Health. The fiber in Metamucil absorbs water and swells as it passes through your colon, bulking your stool and making it easier to eliminate. Psyllium is a safe substance, so Metamucil is readily available over the counter as a daily fiber supplement or laxative for use as needed.
Your colon does not need a special cleansing process to remove toxins or make your digestive system function correctly. Getting enough dietary fiber in foods or supplements like Metamucil, drinking water and exercising regularly keep your colon as clean as it needs to be, according to Dr. Michael Picco of the Mayo Clinic. Stick with fiber rather than taking special colon-cleansing products or undergoing a manual colonic irrigation with water. Irrigation carries a risk of infection, dehydration and bowel perforation.
Soluble fiber keeps your colon clean and working properly, and the Mayo Clinic advises that it has other health benefits. Metamucil and other soluble fiber sources can help lower bad cholesterol levels in your blood and keep your blood glucose stable.
Metamucil is not the only source of soluble fiber for colon health. Many other supplements and fiber-based laxatives contain psyllium, and many foods contain the substance. You get soluble fiber from eating peas, beans, lentils, seed, nuts, barley, oat bran, fruits and vegetables, according to MedlinePlus. You may be able to get enough soluble fiber from those sources without taking a supplement like Metamucil. The Mayo Clinic recommends 38 g of fiber daily for men younger than 50 and 25 g for women in that same age group. Older men need only need 30 g, and older women should get 21 g.
Metamucil is generally safe, but the Mayo Clinic warns that you may have some temporary side effects when you start taking psyllium, including cramps, abdominal bloating and intestinal gas. Avoid these issues by taking a smaller initial dose of the supplement and working your way up to a full dose over a few days.