Lemon juice, as well as grapefruit juice, may cause a type of irritable bowel syndrome called post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome, or PIB.
The condition usually occurs in the days or weeks following a viral, bacterial, or other infection.
- Cramping, pain, or diarrhea
- Nausea or vomiting
Although researchers are not sure why it happens, they think that the inflammation caused by the viral infection damages the lining of the digestive tract.
Lemon juice may also cause:
Some people with PIB also have a food intolerance to the same food that causes symptoms. For example, PIB often occurs after eating spicy foods.
Lemon juice can be a trigger for PIB. In one study, people with PIB drank lemon juice in the evenings.
Their symptoms improved when they cut out the lemon juice.
One possible reason for this is that the spicy foods they ate triggered the symptoms in the first place.
Lemon juice and pregnancy
Research has not confirmed the link between lemon juice and pregnancy complications.
Lemon juice, however, may be especially good for pregnant women. It may help reduce nausea and vomiting, and improve gas and bloating.
The American Pregnancy Association also recommends avoiding citrus juices during pregnancy.
Lemon juice and acid reflux
Lemon juice may help with acid reflux, a type of heartburn.
A 2010 study showed that lemon juice reduced the amount of acid produced by acid reflux.
A small 2011 study found that lemon juice may reduce symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn in pregnant women.
Lemon juice and headaches
According to the American Migraine Foundation (AMF), lemon juice may help reduce migraines.
But lemon juice can also irritate the lining of your stomach and cause nausea. It can also make your head throb.
A 2009 study of pregnant women found that lemon juice may be especially helpful for treating migraine-related nausea.
Lemon juice and urinary incontinence
Lemon juice may make your urine less acidic. This could help prevent or reduce incontinence.
According to the American Urological Association (AUA), citrus juices, including lemon, can cause acidity in your urine.
If you’re concerned about the acidity of your urine, you can try the following:
- Drink water that’s alkaline.
- Increase your intake of potassium citrate.
- Eat fewer foods that may cause acid reflux, such as spicy foods, alcohol, and citrus fruits.
Lemon juice and weight gain
Lemon juice can help you lose weight.
In one study, researchers found that lemon juice helped people who had a weight problem lose weight and improve their body mass index (BMI).
They also found that it may have a role in preventing weight gain, especially in overweight or obese women.
Lemon juice and skin problems
Lemon and lemons may help with skin problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
One 2009 study found that people who drank lemon juice had less severity of their acne.
A 2014 review of research also found that lemons may help with the following skin conditions:
- Skin lesions
The authors of the review noted that more studies are needed to confirm a link between lemon or lemons and skin problems.
Lemon juice and weight loss
In one study, people who took lemon juice lost weight. Another study found that lemon juice helped people lose weight.
However, a third study found that lemon juice had no effect on weight loss.
Lemon juice and memory
Lemon juice may help prevent memory loss and improve memory. It may also help with mild cognitive impairment caused by conditions such as:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
One small study found that people who drank lemon juice improved their memory.
Lemon juice and skin tags
A small 2010 study found that people who drank lemon juice had fewer skin tags than people who drank water.
A small 2013 study in women found that lemon juice may help prevent the growth of skin tags.
Lemon juice and eye health
In one small study, people who drank lemon juice had better vision than people who drank water.
However, a 2013 review of research did not find any links between lemon juice and eye health.
Lemon juice and hair health
According to a 2015 study, drinking lemon juice may reduce scalp hair loss.
One small study found that lemon juice may help promote hair growth.
The authors of the study noted that more studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Lemon juice and depression
A small study found that lemon juice may help improve the symptoms of depression.
One small study found that lemon juice may help improve mental health symptoms, such as:
- Sleep disturbance
The authors of the study noted that more research is needed.
Lemon juice and constipation
According to the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), lemons are a good source of fiber.
One small study of pregnant women found that lemon juice improved constipation.
Lemon juice and acne
According to a 2010 study, lemon juice reduced the severity of acne in people with acne.
Lemon juice and heartburn
Lemon juice can help reduce heartburn.
One small 2011 study found that lemon juice can reduce the severity of heartburn, particularly in pregnant women.
Lemon juice and heart disease
According to a 2015 review, lemon juice can improve the symptoms of heart disease.
This may be because lemons are a good source of:
- Vitamin C
It may also help reduce inflammation in the body.
Lemon juice and breast cancer
According to a 2014 review, there is evidence that lemon juice might help lower the risk of breast cancer.
However, more studies are needed to confirm this.
Lemon juice and skin lesions
A small study found that lemon juice made lesions on the skin less irritated.
Lemon juice and hair loss
A small 2011 study found that lemon juice increased hair growth in women with alopecia.
A small 2014 study found that lemon juice could help promote hair growth in people with alopecia.
Lemon juice and migraine
According to one study of people with migraine, lemon juice reduced the severity of their migraine.
Lemon juice and diabetes
Lemon juice is a good source of vitamin C, which helps improve the symptoms of diabetes.
One small 2011 study found that lemon juice improved blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Lemon juice and anxiety
A small 2014 study found that lemon juice improved anxiety in people with depression.
Lemon juice and Alzheimer’s disease
According to one small 2017 study, lemon juice reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Lemon juice and skin cancer
In a small 2019 study, lemon juice reduced the risk of developing skin cancer.
Lemon juice and high cholesterol
According to one 2015 review, lemon juice is a good source of vitamin C, which can help improve high cholesterol.
Lemon juice and kidney stones
Lemon juice and other juices can help prevent kidney stones.
According to one study, lemon juice has a protective effect against kidney stones.
Lemon juice and Parkinson’s disease
In one small 2017 study, lemon juice improved the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Lemon juice and high blood pressure
A small 2019 study found that lemons might help reduce high blood pressure.
Lemon juice and eczema
According to an older 2019 study, lemon juice reduced the symptoms of:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Eczematous dermatitis
- Hand eczematous dermatitis
- Foot eczematous dermatitis
- Stasis dermatitis
However, more studies are needed to confirm these findings.
What is the best way to consume lemon juice?
Lemon juice is a great source of vitamin C. When you drink lemon juice, only drink small amounts. Too much of it can cause side effects.
A 2013 review found that people who drank lemon juice regularly had fewer symptoms of:
- Bacterial infections
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Sleep disturbances
- Urinary tract infections
You can drink lemon juice in several ways:
- One tablespoon of lemon juice mixed with one cup of water.
- One tablespoon of lemon juice mixed with two cups of water.
- One tablespoon of lemon juice added to a glass of water.
Before you drink lemon juice, always consult your doctor.
Lemon juice is not a good choice for people who have a weak immune system.
Risks and warnings
According to an expert review, lemons contain the following substances:
- Pyrrolizidine alkaloids
- Calcium oxalate
Allergic reactions are rare, but they can happen.
If you’re allergic to lemons, eating any of these can increase your risk of irritation and a severe reaction.
If you’re allergic to lemon, you can also have an allergic reaction if you have the following conditions:
- A skin infection
- A digestive disorder
- A thyroid disorder
- A blood disorder
- A liver disorder
- A kidney disorder
- A nervous system disorder
- A respiratory disorder
- A bone disorder
Also, lemon juice is not a good choice for people with kidney stones or other urinary tract infections.
If you have a weak immune system, you can also have an allergic reaction to lemon juice.
Lemon juice is a popular home remedy for a range of conditions.
However, more research is needed to confirm the possible benefits.
Before trying lemon juice, talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns.
You should also avoid lemon juice if you have:
- A history of liver disease
- A history of kidney disease
- A history of stomach problems
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