Constipation is characterised by fewer than three stools a week. The stool is hard and dry and often in the shape of small pellets pressed together and is difficult to eliminate. Constipation makes a person feel bloated and uncomfortable. Severe constipation is defined as less than one bowel movement per week.
Chronic constipation, on the other hand, is constipation that continues for an extended period of time.
Chronic constipation caused by medications may require long-term laxative therapy. In this case, patients may consider rotating their use of different kinds of laxatives to maintain regular bowel movements and minimize the risk of laxative dependency.
Some things that contribute to constipation are:
• Lack of physical activity
• Not drinking enough water
• Not eating dietary fibre
• Abuse of laxatives
• Resisting the urge to use the loo (toilet)
• Dairy products
• Stroke or other disease
• Intestinal function problems
• IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome)
• Problems with the rectum or colon
Additional causes of constipation could include medications, and specific diseases or medical conditions like pregnancy.
As the food you eat moves through your colon, the water and nutrients from the food are absorbed. Muscle contractions in the colon push the waste towards the rectum, and by the time the waste gets there, most of the water has been absorbed. If the colon absorbs too much water, or the muscle contractions are too slow, stools will become dry and hard and you will have constipation.
If you are taking in adequate quantities of fibre in your food and yet suffer from constipation, you probably need to look at nutritional laxatives like Natural Calm Mag365 for constipation relief. Research has found that deficiency of magnesium may contribute to constipation. A 2006 study on the association between dietary fiber, water and magnesium intake and functional constipation among young Japanese women undertaken by Murakami K, Sasaki S, Okubo H, Takahashi Y, Hosoi Y, Itabashi examined the intake of magnesium with constipation in 3835 participants. Published in Eur J Clin Nutr (2006 Dec 6) the study concluded that low magnesium intake was associated with constipation.
Taken in right quantities Magnesium can work as a gentle non-habit forming laxative. The laxative effect of magnesium appears to come through two different mechanisms. Magnesium relaxes the muscles in the intestines which helps to establish a smoother rhythm. Magnesium also attracts water; this increased amount of water in the colon serves to soften the stool, helping to make stools easier to pass and providing relief from constipation.
If you suffer from chronic constipation, increase your intake of a magnesium supplement like Natural Calm Mag365 to the point where your body has absorbed all it needs for its 300+ processes. The extra magnesium you take, from this point on, will be dumped into your colon and your colon will add water with the magnesium, making your stools softer and looser.
Jesse Lynn Hanley, M.D., in his book, ‘Tired of Being Tired’, proposes the following way to relieve your constipation: “Begin with 200 milligrams magnesium oxide or magnesium citrate—you may increase the dosage in 200-milligram increments until your bowels move regularly. The dose for magnesium is individual, so begin low and increase the dosage as needed. Reduce the dosage if you experience loose bowels. Unlike irritating laxatives, magnesium does not create laxative dependency.”
Most over the counter laxatives contain Magnesium oxide—a form of magnesium that cannot be used nutritionally and only has a laxative effect. Studies have shown that magnesium citrate (Mag365) is better absorbed. In fact, magnesium citrate supplements such as Mag365 are better than even the common constipation remedy ‘milk of magnesia’.
Even as you add a supplement like Natural Calm Mag365 to your diet, you can make a few changes to your diet and lifestyle. Limit foods that increase constipation (cheese, white bread, meat and processed food) and drink more water to keep you hydrated. Set aside time after breakfast or dinner for undisturbed visits to the toilet. Also do not ignore the urge to have a bowel movement—this can contribute to constipation.
The information in this article is meant for information purposes only and is not prescriptive. We recommended that you consult with your doctor before you introduce magnesium in your diet, especially if you have a severe kidney or heart disease or are taking hypoglycemic drugs. Laxitives should never be a substitute for a poor diet.