Methylcellulose sources, health risks

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 by

Methylcellulose is a grayish-white powder produced from cellulose that swells to a highly viscous colloidal solution in water. It is made by chemically treated natural plant cellulose. It is a polymer, a chain of identical molecules linked together. When it is added to water, chains mix with other chains and form a gel matrix which absorbs and holds the water.

Methylcellulose is used in the pharmaceutical industry. It is used in artificial tears products. Moreover, it is a bulk-forming laxative that is used to cure constipation and help maintain regular bowel movements. It increases the amount of water in the stool to aid make them softer and easier to pass. The chemical is also used in the production of capsules as a vegetarian option to gelatin. This drug comes in other forms such as oral solution and oral suspension. In addition, it is used as a food additive. Moreover, it is used in non-food items such as water paints, leather tanning, and cosmetics. In addition, it has also been used as a substance for special effects in movies where a slime effect was needed.

Methylcellulose is sold in the brand names Citrucel, Citrucel SF, Citrucel Food Pack, Citrucel Clear Mix, and Citrucel Lax.

Harmful effects that can be caused by methylcellulose

Methylcellulose has several harmful effects in the body. One of these harmful effects is that it can cause fecal impaction and intestinal obstruction when taken with limited amount of water. It may cause the powder to swell in the throat and cause choking. This is especially common in older adults.

Moreover, methylcellulose can cause symptoms of allergic reactions such as hives, difficulty in breathing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat. It can also cause severe stomach cramps, rectal bleeding, or prevent bowel movement within three days after using the drug.

Body systems harmed by methylcellulose

There are a few body systems harmed by methylcellulose. The drug is harmful for the integumentary system as it can cause allergic reactions such as skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue.

Methylcellulose is also harmful for the respiratory system because it can cause breathing problems and chest pain. Moreover, the drug is bad for the digestive system. Methylcellulose can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and trouble swallowing. The medicine is also bad for the nervous system because it can cause headache. Lastly, the drug is harmful for the excretory system as rectal bleeding can be caused by the medicine.

Where to learn more

Summary

Methylcellulose is a grayish-white powder produced from cellulose that swells to a highly viscous colloidal solution in water. It is produced by chemically treated natural plant cellulose. It is used in the pharmaceutical industry in artificial tears products, in the production of capsules as a vegetarian option to gelatin, and as a bulk-forming laxative. It is also used as a food additive, in water paints, leather tanning, and cosmetic products.

Methylcellulose can cause fecal impaction, intestinal obstruction, choking, allergic reactions such as hives, difficulty in breathing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, severe stomach cramps, and rectal bleeding.

Methylcellulose is harmful for the integumentary, respiratory, digestive, nervous, and excretory systems.

Sources include:

Drugs.com

EverydayHealth.com

HealthLine.com



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