Can you actually get diarrhea from orange juice? Could this highly coveted nutritional drink that is so well known for its abundance of the immune boosting vitamin C really be the cause of your frequent bathroom visits?
No one wants diarrhea… It can really throw a monkey wrench into your plans and mess up your entire day. Instead of walking the dog, going for run, or enjoying that new TV series you just got into, you are running to the toilet every hour to relieve yourself… And when you are not on the toilet you are focusing on squeezing your butt cheeks together which can be mentally and physically exhausting.
Maybe somebody told you that orange juice is the cause of this or maybe you just narrowed it down to this particular beverage on your own, and believe it or not, it does indeed have the potential to cause diarrhea.
4 reasons OJ might be to blame
Reason #1 - Too much vitamin C
As mentioned and as you probably already know, orange juice is loaded with vitamin C. In just one cup of OJ you get about 124 mg of vitamin C, which is already over 2x the RDA. Now most people can megadose on this vitamin without any adverse side effects, but some are more sensitive to it and could end up with diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and other similar symptoms when taking too much.
The upper limit for the amount that you should not exceed taking per day is 2000 mg, but even this might be too much for some people.
Reason #2 - Digestion disorders
Another possible reason could be that you have a digestion disorder that has a problem with your orange juice consumption.
For example, you could have fructose malabsorption which is a condition where your body cannot adequately absorb fructose. Or you could have acid reflux, in which you definitely wouldn't want to have orange juice because of the very low ph of around 3.5, making it very acidic.
These are just two examples that could lead to diarrhea.
Reason #3 - You're allergic
Something else that you may want to consider is that you might be allergic to OJ. However, if this is the case then you probably notice similar undesirable symptoms from drinking similar fruit juices, such as grapefruit or lemon juice for example.
Allergic reactions are unnecessary reactions when your body gets confused and the immune system starts building a defense against a perceived threat that is not really a threat to begin with.
According to Healthline, having a citrus allergy can cause swelling around the mouth (where you ingest the OJ or other citrus beverages/foods), asthma, nausea, vomiting, and of course diarrhea.
Another allergy that could potentially be the culprit, although not as common, would be that of salicylate. If you are allergic to salicylic acid one of the symptoms is an upset stomach. If this is the case then you might experience similar symptoms when eating other foods high in salicylic acid such as being sprouts, peas, lettuce and asparagus.
Reason #4 - Bacteria
Last but certainly not least is bacteria… Which would be more likely to be a cause of diarrhea if you are buying unpasteurized orange juices.
You see, most orange juices that you will find in the market are pasteurized, which means that they go through a process that helps to eliminate bacterial threats among other things. So obviously drinking orange juice that is unpasteurized would increase your chances of ingesting harmful bacteria.
That said, while possible, this is definitely nothing that you should be worried about due to the fact that, as stated, most orange juices are already pasteurized and orange juice itself is very acidic so most bacteria cannot survive in it to begin with.
Orange juice is great... but..
Orange juice very well "could" be the cause of the runs in which you have, but is it? Well… That is up to you and/or your doctor to find out.
If you are uncertain then you may want to perform an elimination diet to find out for certain. What you would do here is simply eliminate the foods potentially causing the problem from your diet, see if the diarrhea goes away, and then add them back into your diet one by one to further narrow it down and find out what is causing the diarrhea. Then proceed forward based on your results.
If it isn't the cause, you still may want to avoid drinking it at certain times. Why? Well… Because of the high acidity of this juice it can make diarrhea worse if you already have it.
For most people drinking such a nutritious juice is much more beneficial than not and provides a great source of immune boosting nutrients, which can in turn help you live a healthier life with less diarrhea, which is why it's included on our list of fruits that help with diarrhea...But you aren't most people and it very well could be the cause.
Whether it is or it isn't the cause, we hope that you get to the root of the problem and get rid of this very undesirable situation that you are currently experiencing.