Glycerol is a naturally occurring chemical. People use it as a medicine. Some uses and dosage forms have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Glycerol is most commonly used for constipation, improving hydration and performance in athletes, and for certain skin conditions. It is also used for meningitis, stroke, obesity, ear infections, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.


Is a Form of:


Primary Functions:

Constipation, hydration, skin conditions

Also Known As:

Glycerin, Glycerine, Glycérine, Glycérine Végétale

How Does It Work?

Glycerol attracts water into the gut, softening stools and relieving constipation.

In the blood, it attracts water so that the water stays in the body longer. This might help an athlete exercise for longer.


  • Giving glycerol into the rectum, as a suppository or as an enema, decreases constipation.
  • Athletic performance. There is some evidence that taking glycerol by mouth along with water helps to keep the body hydrated for longer. The increase in fluids in the body might help people exercise for a few minutes longer and possibly go a bit faster, especially if it is hot.
  • Dandruff. Using a hair lotion containing glycerol, stearic acid, and sunflower seed oil 3 times each week can reduce dandruff by a small amount and moisturize the scalp.
  • Dry skin. Applying a product containing glycerol and paraffin to the skin reduces the thickness of scales and itching in people with xerosis.
  • An inherited skin disorder that causes dry, scaly skin (ichthyosis). Applying a specific, prescription-only product (Dexeryl, Pierre Fabre Laboratoires) containing glycerol and paraffin to the skin reduces symptoms like itching and scales in children with ichthyosis.

Recommended Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:



  • For athletic performance: Glycerol 1-1.5 grams/kg taken with about 6 cups of water starting an hour or two before competition. Glycerol is banned during competition in some sports because it might alter the amount of fluid in the blood and change the results of some laboratory tests.


  • For dandruff: A leave-in hair lotion containing glycerol 10%, stearic acid 2.5%, and sunflower seed oil 0.6%, applied to the scalp 3 times weekly for 8 weeks.
  • For dry skin: An emulsion containing glycerol 15% and paraffin 10% applied to the skin twice daily for 1-8 weeks.


  • For constipation: Glycerol 2-3 grams as a suppository or 5-15 mL as an enema.



  • For an inherited skin disorder that causes dry, scaly skin (ichthyosis): A specific, prescription-only product (Dexeryl, Pierre Fabre Laboratoires) containing glycerol 15% and paraffin 10% applied to the skin for 4-12 weeks.


  • For constipation: For children younger than six years old, the dose is 1-1.7 grams as a suppository or 2-5 mL as an enema. For children older than six years of age, the dose is 2-3 grams as a suppository or 5-15 mL as an enema.

Glycerol Supplements Frequently Asked Questions

Is glycerol same as glycerin?

Glycerol or glycerin is a colourless, odourless, viscous liquid that is sweet-tasting and mostly non-toxic. It is widely used in the food industry as a sweetener and humectant and in pharmaceutical formulations. Glycerol is an important component of triglycerides (i. e. fats and oils) and of phospholipids.

Is glycerol good for your skin?

A natural humectant, glycerin makes your skin soft and supple. It can also improve the texture of your skin. The ingredient has the potential of improving your overall internal health as well as treating skin disorders, ranging from dry skin to wound healing.

Does glycerol make you fat?

The critical role in this triglyceride, fatty acid, and fat storage process is, therefore, played by glycerol. It therefore determines the rate at which fatty acids become triglycerides within fat cells i.e. the rate at which humans store fat. If we make more glucose available to fat cells, more glycerol can be made.

Is glycerol a laxative?

What Is Glycerin? Glycerin rectal is used as a laxative. It works by causing the intestines to hold more water, which softens the stool. Glycerin rectal is used to treat occasional constipation or to cleanse the bowel before a rectal exam or other intestinal procedure.

How much glycerin do you put in hand sanitizer?

Mix 12 fluid ounces of alcohol with 2 teaspoons of glycerol. You can buy jugs of glycerol online, and it's an important ingredient because it keeps the alcohol from drying out your hands.

Why glycerin is bad for you?

Since glycerin is a form of sugar alcohol that your body cannot fully absorb, consuming too much — either alone or through foods — may also lead to gas and diarrhea. Summary Vegetable glycerin is generally considered safe.

What are the side effects of glycerin?

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Glycerin?

  • Excessive bowel activity.
  • Rectal irritation.
  • Cramping rectal pain.

Which Glycerine is best for face?

Zenvista Pure Glycerin for Skin Moisturizer

Glycerine minimizes the size of your pores and works as an excellent toner, especially for oily skin. When applied directly onto skin, it locks in moisture, therefore it is widely used in products such as body lotions and creams.

What does the body do with glycerol?

Glycerol is taken by mouth for weight loss, improving exercise performance, helping the body replace water lost during diarrhea and vomiting, and reducing pressure inside the eye in people with glaucoma. Athletes also use glycerol to keep from becoming dehydrated.

How bad is glycerol?

Since glycerin is a form of sugar alcohol that your body cannot fully absorb, consuming too much — either alone or through foods — may also lead to gas and diarrhea. Summary Vegetable glycerin is generally considered safe.

Does glycerol have sugar?

Glycerin (sometimes spelled glycerine), or glycerol, is a sweet, syrupy liquid that is about 75% as sweet as sucrose. It is chemically categorized as a polyol with 4.32 kcal/g. ... If the label has a statement regarding sugars, the FDA requires the glycerin content per serving to be declared as sugar alcohol.

Why does glycerin make you poop?

That's because the suppository is inserted rectally, allowing it to act locally in the colon without having to go through the entire digestive system. Glycerin is a hyperosmotic laxative that attracts water into the stool and promotes bowel movement.

Can you drink glycerol?

Glycerol seems to be safe for most adults. When taken by mouth, glycerol can cause side effects including headaches, dizziness, bloating, nausea, vomiting, thirst, and diarrhea. Glycerol may not be safe when injected intravenously (by IV).

What foods have glycerol?

Food industry

In food and beverages, glycerol serves as a humectant, solvent, and sweetener, and may help preserve foods. It is also used as filler in commercially prepared low-fat foods (e.g., cookies), and as a thickening agent in liqueurs. Glycerol and water are used to preserve certain types of plant leaves.

Is glycerol poisonous to dogs?

Glycerin doesn't provide much nutritional benefit to your pet. Glycerin that is derived from animal and plant sources is generally considered a 'safe', albeit nutritionally void ingredient. Risks: Some pet food manufacturers are using Glycerin that is derived from biofuel (e.g. diesel fuel) processing.

Is glycerol bad for diabetics?

Is Glycerin Used as a Sweetener? .Like sugar alcohols, which I've talked about before, glycerin tastes sweet but it is not metabolized as sugar in the body and doesn't cause a rise in blood sugar. For that reason, it's sometimes used as a sweetener in foods marketed to diabetics and low-carb dieters.

Is glycerol a carb?

Glycerin is also called glycerol. Glycerin is considered a carbohydrate, even though its chemical structure is different from the polysaccharides. The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) requires that glycerin be included in the Total Carbohydrates listed on the Nutrition Facts label.

Does glycerol cause tooth decay?

It can help reduce bacterial activity by reducing the available water activity and therefore has a protective action against tooth decay. Glycerin does not damage gums or tooth enamel.

What is an example of glycerol?

A sweet, syrupy liquid obtained from animal fats and oils or by the fermentation of glucose. It is used as a solvent, sweetener, and antifreeze and in making explosives and soaps. Glycerol consists of a propane molecule attached to three hydroxyl (OH) groups. Also called glycerin, glycerine.

How does glycerol help a cough?

Glycerol is a component in most cough syrups. It is often thought of only as a solvent or thickening agent; however, it also contributes to the efficacy of the cough treatment due to its special properties of lubrication, demulcency, sweetness, and acting as a humectant

Does butter contain glycerol?

Unlike margarine, butter is stabilised by the natural components present in milk fat itself. Milk fat is compromised of mostly saturated fatty acids in triglyceride form, however there is also presence of mono and diglycerides or 1 and 2 fatty acids (instead of 3) attached to the glycerol backbone.

Clinical Studies