Since I work at a health food store, I notice that many people (especially young people) are interested in “Detox” and looking for some effective tools. There are many detox products at the store and they work for different parts of the body (liver, kidneys, colon, skin, lungs, and lymphatic system) and are used for different purposes. Generally, toxins are eliminated through our skin (sweat) and digestive system (stool and urine).
Constipation is a common health issue among all ages. My mother-in-law, for example, is suffering from occasional constipation and has to depend on herbal supplements to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately, she relied on laxatives so long, now they don’t work as effectively as they used to.
My co-worker’s grandchildren don’t have regular bathroom routines and sometimes they don’t have bowl movements for four days. She is concern that undigested foods in their intestines could become toxic and cause harm in some ways.
General recommendations for constipation are:
- Drink plenty of water – hydration is very important for detoxification and elimination
- Regular exercise – physical activities stimulate bowel contractions
- Eat whole foods – high fiber foods improve and regulate bowel movements
Here are some Supplements recommendations:
1) Fiber supplements – products containing psyllium husks, oat bran, guar gum, glucomannan, and fenugreek are commonly used and very helpful. Acacia-based products are also effective. Be sure to drink lots of water with fiber supplements, otherwise it makes constipation worse. Always start slow and see how your body reacts to the product. A sudden increase of fiber could cause discomfort, such as gas, bloating, and even diarrhea. You should take it only occasionally.
2) Vitamin C – as you may know, a high dosage of vitamin C can cause diarrhea. Therefore, sufficient amounts of vitamin C can be used to ease a condition of constipation. Once you find the amount you can tolerate (by starting slow and working up), you can take it as a laxative and a stool softener.
3) Magnesium – a commonly deficient nutrient in many people. Magnesium aids peristalsis which is the natural wavelike movement of the large intestine by relaxing the musculature and nervous system of the bowel. Hydration also aids peristalsis and promotes regular bowel movements. High doses of magnesium can treat acute constipation. Again, start slow (200mg before bed) and work up.
Alternatively, you can choose to eat foods that correspond to the above recommendations. You can make a habit of including fiber-rich foods (flaxseed, psyllium, oat bran…) into your diet. Vitamin C containing foods (most fruits and vegetables) are also high in fiber. Examples of magnesium- rich foods are all kinds of seeds, tree nuts and butters (especially almond and Brazil nuts), cocoa powder, and dark chocolate.
All is well, and all the best!
An A – Z Women’s Guide to Vibrant Health by Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe, MS
Natural Solutions for Digestive Health by Dr. Jillian Sarno Teta and Jeannette Bessinger, CHHC
The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Sherry Torkos, BSc Phm