Click here to sign-up for the Health911 eNewsletter that includes information about seasonal health conditions, links to
our latest articles, alerts to our monthly product specials, health tips,
and wellness programs. Sign-up today!
your health and wellness suggestions. We want to build the Health911
community around the interests of our viewers and customers. Click here
You are suffering from constipation if your bowel movements are
infrequent, uncomfortable, and the stools are small and hard. Frequency
of bowel movements varies, but regularity is important. For optimum
health you should generally have one to three good bowel movements
daily. It is quite surprising, however, that many people have a bowel
movement only every few days, or even once a week. This is certainly not
good, as decaying fecal material and toxins in your intestines can
contribute to many other diseases. For your health, it is vital to get
fecal material out as quickly as possible.
We firmly believe the old adage "death begins in the colon."
Constipation also inhibits the flow and absorption of vital nutrients in
the body, and thereby may affect one's overall health.
Prolonged bouts with constipation can lead to other health problems, such as
Veins, indigestion, Bad Breath, Headaches
and Body Odor. The blockage caused by the
constipation forces the blood under more pressure than normal through
certain veins and capillaries, causing the hemorrhoids and varicose
As mentioned above, the waste matter in the colon may
contain toxins, and the longer they are in your intestines the greater
the chance they have to develop other diseases, such as colon and
colorectal cancer. Other intestinal problems caused by constipation are
diverticulosis - pouches in the intestinal walls that catch waste
material and hold it while it putrefies - and diverticulitis, the
swelling and inflammation of these pouches.
If you suddenly become constipated and the condition doesn't
clear up within a week, consult your health care professional as you may
have a potentially serious underlying medical condition. Also, if you
have a sudden change in bowel habits or experience abdominal pain or
bleeding, see a doctor at once.
Take this simple test to see if you have a bowel problem: if your stools float, they have enough fiber; if they sink, you don't.
Types of Constipation
There are two basic kinds of constipation: atonic (lazy bowel) and
spastic (narrowing of the colon, with small, ribbon-like stools). For
atonic constipation, a high fiber diet and increased fluid intake is
recommended. Once the problem has gone away it will be necessary to
retrain the bowel, as explained below. Spastic constipation may be
caused by an obstruction or nervousness or anxiety. See your doctor if
you can rule out the last two causes.
Constipation has many causes. Discovering the cause will point the way toward using the appropriate remedy.
- Poor dietary habits.
- Lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle.
- Lack of fiber in your diet. Fiber will add
bulk to your stools, stimulate proper bowel contractions, and promote
healthy bacteria in the colon. A healthy colon will aid in the assimilation
of nutrients. One of the problems here is the high intake of refined
white flour in the modern diet. Products with refined flour have little
or no fiber, and subsequently the intestines have nothing to help the
normal wave-like (peristalsis) motion pass digested material through
the body. However, make sure you drink water, too, as the fiber will
absorb water like a sponge and cause constipation.
- An insufficient amount of fluid intake. In
this case, coffee, tea and sodas do not count and can actually exacerbate
the problem. Drinking 8 eight ounce glasses of water is recommended
for everyone, not just those with constipation. Constipation is a sign
of chronic dehydration. One of the main functions of the large intestine
is to take excess water out of the excrement so that it is not too loose.
When the body does not consume enough water, the excrement becomes hardened,
leading to constipation.
- Avoid ice-cold drinks as they reduce the digestive process.
- Many of today's over-the-counter laxatives
may cause you even more problems than the constipation, such as killing
friendly intestinal bacteria, lessening the absorption of nutrients
and/or getting rid of necessary vitamins, and creating addicts out of
users. They are easy to get hooked on!
- Medications such as some of the ones used
to reduce blood pressure and the cholesterol-lowering ("statin")
drugs, among others.
- Bowel diseases
- Vaginitis or other vaginal ecological issues, are
sometimes associated with constipation.
- Metabolic disorders
- Exposure to toxic substances, such as pesticides,
insecticides and heavy metals, etc.
- Too much calcium in supplemental form can
cause constipation. If you eat the normal American diet you get about
500 mg of calcium, so add only 500 mg in supplemental form if you are
under 50 years old and 1,000 mg if you are over. Don't take your calcium
supplement with a high fiber cereal as it may interfere with absorption.
- Some people who are anemic and take iron
supplements or eat lots of iron-rich foods may become constipated
due to poor mineral absorption. In many cases the anemia is caused by
low stomach acidity which can cause poor absorption of iron and other
- Poor liver function. The liver, which produces
about a liter of bile a day to help digestion, removes the toxins from
our body, and may become congested by exposure to toxic substances,
alcohol, prescription or recreational drugs, or hepatitis. Nutrients
that can spur better liver function include: choline, dandelion, milk
thistle (silymarin), turmeric and artichoke. A liver flush would be
- Lack of certain digestive enzymes produced
by the pancreas. This problem often occurs as we age.
- Having Heartburn,
indigestion or Gas
may be indicative of low stomach acidity. As we age
we under-produce hydrochloric acid and pepsin which are important in
the digestive process. Also, have a hair analysis done,
which will indicate your mineral levels. Many people
with low stomach acidity are also low in minerals. Once you have the
hair analysis report back, a healthcare practitioner can determine which
minerals to take to bring your mineral levels back in to balance. By
increasing the absorption of minerals, especially iron, you should alleviate
your constipation problems. If you have had low stomach acidity problems
for a long time, have yourself checked for allergies.
- Lack of certain kinds of fat in the diet may
be another cause of constipation. Many people who try to avoid all fats
in their diet end up with a deficiency of essential, unsaturated fats,
such as the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Dry skin, scaly skin around
the eyes and red eyes are other symptoms you may exhibit if you are
deficient in the essential fats.
- An overdose (over time) of vitamin D
- Food allergies
- A deficiency in folic acid sometimes causes
- Endocrine problems, especially hypothyroidism,
or low thyroid function. Hypothyroidism slows down many body functions,
including contractions necessary to make the bowels function properly.
- Bad bathroom habits
For constipation, we suggest you try some of the remedies listed below and follow the wellness program.
As a general rule, if you are prone to being constipated you will
need to make some dietary and lifestyle changes to get your bowels to
function properly. Take these steps:
- Exercise. Start some sort of exercise program. Exercise brings
more blood, oxygen and nutrients to the intestines which helps them
function properly. Exercise, combined with recommended dietary changes
and supplements, will be the foundation of your wellness program.
- Fiber (25-35 grams, the equivalent of 2-3 tablespoons, in divided
doses). Fiber in general is needed to add bulk to your stool, and bran
is the most effective form. Fiber will also help develop regular bowel
- Fluid (eight 8 ounce glasses daily). It has also been noted
that five glasses of hot water drunk daily has been beneficial.
- Revitalize your liver function with nutrients, as mentioned
above under "causes." This should be done in cases of chronic constipation
or where other habits have been changed and the desired results have
not occurred. Do a liver flush to clean out built-up toxins and help
the liver function at optimum efficiency.
- Begin your dietary changes by eating a high-fiber diet
with plenty of fresh fruits and leafy green vegetables, legumes, whole
grains, nuts and seeds. This is the basis of your healthy diet and long-term
wellness program. However, make sure you drink water, too, as mentioned
above, as the fiber will absorb water like a sponge and cause constipation.
- Eliminate sugar and white
flour from your diet. These may add to your digestion problems
and be a source of constipation. The really beneficial part of wheat,
the bran, has been processed out of white flour during the milling process
and needs to be added back in. Take one tablespoon each of unprocessed
wheat bran and wheat germ daily, as they are good sources of fiber and
add bulk to your diet. Don't use bran sold as breakfast cereal, as it
has been processed. Add it to cereal, soups, drinks, or other foods,
depending on taste. Your body may initially have difficulty becoming
accustomed to the extra fiber and you may experience gas or stomach
distention. These problems will pass in a week or two. Start with a
tablespoon of bran and increase the amount until you become regular.
Drink plenty of liquid when you take bran as it absorbs eight times
its own weight in water and needs fluid to work its magic. Your stool
should become smooth and come at regular intervals. As side benefits,
you may also get relief from cramps, abdominal pain, gas and heartburn.
- If you are on a low or no fat diet, add some of the essential
fats, such as omega 3 or omega 6. These are important for many
body functions. Start by taking one or two tablespoons of cold-pressed
flaxseed oil every day. You can add it to a blender drink, such as a
smoothie or shake, or in cottage cheese. Ground flaxseed can also be
used as it contains mucilage which is soothing and coats the intestinal
tract. It provides both bulk and softness in the stool. If you use flaxseed,
be sure to drink plenty of water, too, as it can cause constipation.
The omega 6 fatty acids are found in Evening Primrose Oil (take 500
mg three times daily), black currant seed oil, and Borage Seed Oil.
- Avoid constipating foods and drinks, such
as white flour, cheese, fried foods, sweets, salt, beef, pasteurized
milk, all junk food, wine, carbonated drinks, and coffee. Certain berries
with a large amount of seeds, such as strawberries, huckleberries, raspberries
and blackberries, should be avoided, too, as they have a tendency to
- For problems of constipation as well as diarrhea, it is important
to maintain a good bacterial flora in the intestines
so they can function properly. Overuse of laxatives,
antibiotics and enemas can remove
the beneficial bacteria from the intestines. Take yogurt containing
live cultures, or whey, kefir or buttermilk to enhance the presence
of friendly bacteria. In place of these, acidophilus tablets or lactic
acid yeast can also help in this process. We strongly
recommend a good probiotic supplement to restore and maintain good intestinal
- Some people are allergic to wheat products,
so they have to use another source of fiber, such as unbolted
white, yellow corn meal or buckwheat flour. If you are unsure whether
or not you are allergic to wheat, have a good allergy test done. Many
people are unaware that they are allergic.
- For spastic constipation it may be necessary
to decrease your fiber intake until the situation is corrected. Drink
fruit and vegetable juices to get your supply of vital nutrients.
- If you have a child who has chronic constipation,
milk may be the culprit because it tends to replace
other solids in the diet. Cut back on the milk and add other liquids
and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- One of the traditional remedies has been the use of prune
juice. This is not recommended on a long term basis because
it acts as a mild laxative and the intestines become dependent on it
to function properly. To eliminate your constipation problem the intestines
must function properly on their own. Use of prune juice doesn't allow
this to happen.
- Juice fasting is one suggested way to eliminate
toxins from the body and get various systems going again. There are
a number of good books out on juicing.
Since you haven't been going to the bathroom on a regular basis, you
will need to retrain your bowels to get into a regular habit. Follow
these steps in the retraining process: 1) go to the bathroom at the same
time each day, even if nothing happens; relax and don't try to force
the stool; 2) don't spend more than five minutes sitting on the toilet
without producing any results. If you go into the bathroom to read,
remove the reading material; 3) don't suppress the urge to defecate; 4)
don't strain to have a movement. Prolonged straining can injure nerves
and muscles of the colon and rectum, resulting in hemorrhoids and fecal
incontinence; 5) exercise at least four times per week for a minimum of
twenty minutes each time; 6) stop using enemas or laxatives or other
products used to relieve constipation. The idea is to make the bowel
function on its own with no other aids. After a week or two with the
necessary dietary and habit changes, your stools should come at a
regular time and frequency.
Folic Acid Take 60 mcg of folic acid daily. There are not dietary sources that contain enough, so supplements are necessary.
Iron If you don't get enough iron-rich food in your diet, we suggest taking chelated iron supplements for better absorption.
MSM Take MSM - methylsulfonylmethane - a natural organic
sulphur, one of the essential structural minerals. It reduces
inflammation and helps the digestive system work better. MSM has a
soothing, healing influence on the mucous membrane that lines the GI
Triphala This supplement, widely used in Ayurvedic
medicine, is a mixture of three fruits which help tone the musculature
of the GI system without acting as an irritant laxative. Best used
regularly rather than for symptomatic treatment as it has greater
benefit the longer it is used.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), if you have a deficiency.
Vitamin C Taking vitamin C and betaine hydrochloride or
glutamic acid hydrochloride with meals will help digestion and
absorption, thereby helping to alleviate the anemia and constipation.
Apples Apples contain pectin which will add bulk to your
stools and their cleansing action will encourage bowel movements. They
have a laxative effect.
Apple cider vinegar As a fermented version of apples they
have some of the same beneficial properties. Take two teaspoons twice a
day with a glass of water.
Bananas Bananas are high in fiber and can help restore normal bowel function.
Bran Put at least 1/3 cup of bran on your cereal each morning.
Flaxseed oil Flaxseed oil is a traditional folk remedy. Take 1 to 2 tablespoonsful with lots of water right after lunch or dinner.
Flaxseed Combined with apple cider vinegar, this mixture
is another remedy. Boil two cups of water and add two tablespoons of
flaxseed; boil for fifteen minutes; strain off the flaxseed, leaving a
jelly-like substance. Drink a cup of this on an empty stomach, adding
one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Take daily until you get regular
bowels. Flaxseed is an excellent source of essential fatty acids which
are necessary for proper bowel functioning, among other benefits.
- A similar remedy is to soak 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds in 6 ounces
of water and drink this mixture once or twice daily.
- Eat three or four tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily. They
can be mixed in a smoothie, put on salads, or mixed with cottage cheese.
Beets Take two small beets, scrub them clean, and eat them in the morning. You should have a bowel movement 12 hours later.
Brewer's Yeast/Wheat Germ Take half a teaspoonful each of
brewer's yeast and wheat germ with all meals. After several days if you
haven't gotten the needed results, increase the amount by 1/4 teaspoon
two or three times until you do.
Carrot juice The essential oils in carrot juice have an
effect on the mucous membranes in the stomach and help get the bowels
functioning properly. Take juice several times daily. This will help
regain proper digestion. This is good for children, too.
Dates Soak six dates in a glass of hot water; when cool, drink the water and eat the dates.
Elderflower Drink an infusion of elderflower once daily, as needed.
Epsom or Rochelle salts Drink a mixture of one teaspoonful in a half glass of water before bed. This is very bitter, but very efficient.
Fruit Eat at least three raw fruits daily. The citrus helps promote regularity. Strawberries, prunes and spinach are laxatives.
Garlic Garlic is effective for three reasons: it soothes,
cleanses and reduces inflammation. Garlic is also very rich in potassium
which is essential for proper contractions of muscles, including the
intestines. Without proper contractions the muscles become partially
paralyzed, resulting in constipation. The potassium is also important in
the body's electrolyte system. Dice some garlic and take with juice,
milk, soup or honey two or three times a day. You may also cook the
garlic. Garlic tablets are also effective and can be used by people who
have problems digesting raw garlic. Take two tablets once or twice daily
for mild cases, three times for bad cases, and up to five times daily
for severe cases. The doses should be two grams each. Several cloves of
raw garlic eaten in a salad or other food often produces good results
Honey Honey has mild laxative properties. Start by taking a tablespoon three times a day or add to foods or drinks.
Licorice Licorice is a laxative. Make a tea of licorice
and drink before meals to enhance production of stools. Not recommended
for use by pregnant women as it may increase the risk of premature
Molasses Add 1 to 2 tablespoons a day to hot cereal or mix with warm water and drink it.
Olive oil Take one tablespoonful of olive oil in the morning and one tablespoonful an hour after dinner.
Pepper Make a massage oil of black pepper, marjoram and
rosemary (one drop of each in a light carrier oil) and rub into the
Persimmon Eat a persimmon if they are available.
Psyllium Mix one or two rounded teaspoons of psyllium seed husks in a glass of water and take after meals. This is a safe laxative.
Rhubarb helps with regularity because it is a
good source of water and fiber. Adding bulk to your stool will keep your
bowels moving. Use it stewed or in pies, but only the stalks. Or, take
2-3 capsules of Chinese rhubarb root at one time. Another way is to make
a tea by bringing a cup of water to a boil then adding 1 2/3 teaspoons
of cut dried rootstock; simmer for 3 minutes; remove to steep, covered
for half an hour; drink only 1/4 to 1/2 cup. If you continue to have
constipation, increase the dosage, as too little rhubarb can cause
constipation. This may seem odd, but rhubarb is used for constipation
and diarrhea, but in different doses.
Sauerkraut Drink an 8 ounce glass of warm sauerkraut juice followed immediately by an 8 ounce glass of grapefruit juice(unsweetened).
Senna Drink an infusion of senna once daily, as needed.
Not recommended for use by pregnant women. Senna contains anthraquinone
which may increase the risk of uterine contractions.
Spinach Drinking a pint of spinach juice daily has often corrected constipation in a short period of time.
Sunflower seeds Sunflower seeds promote regularity. Take a handful of raw shelled, unsalted seeds every day.
Triphala, or "three fruits" in Ayurvedic, has been used
for centuries as a mild laxative, digestive tract toner and bowel
cleanser. It also stimulates the liver which helps eliminate toxins from
the body. Compounds in the fruits that make up triphala, known as anthraquinones,
stimulate intestinal contractions which speeds the digestive process. Due
to its mildness, it can be used over long periods without fear of overuse
as is the case with most laxatives. If you experience diarrhea, stomach
pain or nausea after taking this remedy, stop using it. Use one teaspoon
of powder in 1/4 cup of water two to three times daily, or take 1,500
mg at night. Once your constipation problem has ended, either stop using
triphala or cut the dose in half to maintain a healthy digestive system.
|BRAGG'S APPLE CIDER VINEGARBragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is made from delicious, healthy, organically grown apples. Processed and bottled in accordance with USDA guidelines, it is Certified Organic by Organic Certifiers and Oregon Tilth; and is Kosher Certified.
|CULTURELLE - PROBIOTIC W/LACTOBACILLUSCore health begins in the core of your body – the intestinal tract where 70% of the immune system resides. Diet, stress, travel and even some medications encourage bad bacteria to flourish in your intestinal tract. When bad bacteria outnumber good bacteria, your digestive and overall health is open to a host of potential concerns. Culturelle®, with Lactobacillus GG, the most studied probiotic (good bacteria) safely and naturally replaces the bad bacteria in your digestive tract leading to improv
|HEALTH FROM THE SUN - BLACK CURRANT OIL, 500 MGBlack Currant 500
* Natural Omega-3/Omega-6 Balance - Uniquely supplying omega-6 Gamma- Linolenic Acid [GLA] plus omega-3 Alpha- Linolenic Acid [ALA] and omega-3 Stearidonic Acid - 2nd highest GLA content (17%)
|HEALTH FROM THE SUN - EVENING PRIMROSEEvening Primrose Oil 500
- Nutritive support for women's health
- Naturally supplies 50mg of omega-6 GLA per soft gel
- 500 mg easy to swallow soft gels
|KYOLIC - #100 GARLIC EXTRACT, 100% VEGETARIANKYOLIC® Aged Garlic Extract™ begins with 100% organically† grown garlic bulbs. They are then aged to perfection in a unique extraction process to eliminate odor and create beneficial compounds found only in Kyolic. - Aged Garlic Extract™ [300 mg] (per capsule). - This formula supports and strengthens your cardiovascular system by reducing the major risk factors and promoting overall heart health.*
|KYOLIC - #102 GARLIC W/ENZYME-VEGETARIANKyolic Aged Garlic Extract™ [300 mg]; Ginger [125mg]; Glucanase [16 mg]; Protease [10 mg]; Lipase [5 mg] (per capsule).
- Kyolic® Formula 102 herb and enzyme blend, contains a unique natural and synergistic combination Aged Garlic Extract™, Ginger, Glucanase, Lipase and Protease to support internal cleansing , healthy intestinal function and digestive balance.*
|KYOLIC - KYO-DOPHILUS* Kyo-Dophilus� is formulated with three specially cultured, non-dairy, heat-stable, stomach acid resistant, human strain of beneficial bacteria.
* This Friendly Trio� gives you relief from the inconvenience caused by bad bacteria.
* Take Kyo-Dophilus� during and after a cycle of medication, when you travel and everyday to boost immunity, promote healthy intestinal function and general well-being.*
* Guaranteed stable at time of consumption.
* Dairy free.
|LEWIS LAB - BREWER'S YEAST 100% PURELewis Labs - Brewer's Yeast - 100% Pure . How can pure, unbleached, untreated brewer's yeast taste so good? Of course, there is a reason. Most brewer's yeast is recovered after use in the brewing process. It is grown in vats containing grain, malt and hops. As the yeast plant feeds on this culture medium, it produces alcohol while it absorbs nutritional factors from the medium. At the same time, the yeast picks up chemicals and other undesirable materials.
|NATROL - FOLIC ACID, 800 MCGNatrol Folic Acid is an essential B Vitamin that supports cellular health, homocysteine metabolism and a healthy pregnancy. Women who consume healthful diets with adequate folic acid may reduce their risk of having a child with birth defects of the brain or spinal cord. Folic Acid should not exceed 250% DV (1,000 mcg).
|NATURE'S WAY - DANDELION ROOTDandelion is a popular bitter with a long history of use as an herbal remedy.
Dandelion's name comes from the French "dents du lion," or "teeth of the lion," due to the shape of the leaf.
Dosage - Take 3 capsules three times daily, preferably with food.
|NATURE'S WAY - MILK THISTLE VEG CAPSMilk Thistle extract is standardized to 80% silymarin. Silymarin is the key constituent that exerts a protective effect against substances potentially harmful to the liver.*
Nature's Way Standardized Milk Thistle extract is a technically advanced herbal product. Standardization assures specific measurable levels of important compounds that provide beneficial activity in the body.
|NATURE'S WAY - THISILYNThe silymarin in Thisilyn’s proprietary extract dissolves quicker and easier in the digestive tract than other brands, yielding 2X more of the active. Standardized to 80% Silymarin.
Clinical studies using Standardized Milk Thistle extract show that it supports and promotes normal liver function.* The active bioflavonoid complex, silymarin, is a powerful antioxidant that exerts a protective effect against substances harmful to the liver.*
|SEDONA LABS - iFLORA MULTI-PROBIOTICMake iFlora® Multi-Probiotic® part of your daily health routine today. Inspired by natural health and digestive well-being – beneficial health solutions for life!
|UAS LABS - PROBIOPLUSDDS� - Plus is the source of a special strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus (DDS�-1 strain), Bifidobacterium longum, and Fructooligosaccharides. DDS� - Plus is free of dairy products, corn, soy, and preservatives.