Magnificent Seven: Poop Right – Laxatives

$725 million each year is the estimated expenditures in the United States on laxatives for self-treatment of constipation.

With some forms of laxatives there are inherent risks and dangers of “addiction” or laxative abuse that can lead to further health issues.  Perhaps looking at some of the causes of constipation will allow for an understanding of improving bowel movements.

Causes of Chronic Constipation

  • Not enough fiber in the diet – the Standard American Diet (SAD) is extremely low in beneficial fiber.
  • Lack of physical activity – too many people are spending too much time doing nothing.
  • Medications – constipation is a frequent side effect of many commonly prescribed medications.
  • Changes in life routine such as pregnancy, travel, or aging.
  • Abuse of laxatives – a very common side effect from both prescription and over-the-counter laxatives.
  • Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement – when nature calls…listen.
  • Dehydration – remember drink 1/2 your weight in ounces of water each day.

So addressing the issues above are very important in maintaining proper bowel movements.  If you aren’t getting enough fiber in your diet, and your only water comes in the water added to your mac-n-cheese then start there.  Too many people rely on pills (supplements, over-the-counter meds and prescription meds) as a way to try and override lifestyle.  That doesn’t work.  You can’t have a poor diet, poor water, no movement and expect all your body’s vital functions to work properly.

If you do have chronic constipation one thing that is very beneficial and safe to use is magnesium citrate.  Magnesium deficiency is a very common condition in the United States.  Add this to the fact that stress states deplete magnesium, and the fact that one of the signs of magnesium deficiency is constipation, you can see where adding this to your day can help improve bowel function and motility.  I recommend patients use magnesium citrate to bowel tolerance.  I have had patients take very large doses of magnesium to maintain proper bowel function.

Another option would be a vitamin C flush.  This serves the two-fold purpose of assessing your vitamin C status and dosing needs, as well as causing a bowel movement at the dosing required for a flush.

If you would like more information on the use of magnesium citrate, or the vitamin C flush, please send an e-mail to [email protected] and I would be happy to send you some information.

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