Q. Why do people become constipated? What is considered normal for the number of bowel movements per day?
A. There is no ‘normal’ number of bowel movements that applies to everyone. Some of the main reasons for widespread problems with constipation among people all over the world, especially in Western civilizations are:
- Poor food combinations of our modern diets (‘fast food’ high in carbs, sugar, fat, and salt) and the ready availability of these foods all over the world.
- A sedentary lifestyle – many people sit in front of a computer, at a desk or in front of a TV for many hours per day. Previously, people did a lot of physical labor. Physical exertion even if only walking to work, up and down stairs, etc is very important to keep the systems flowing properly.
- Limited intake of water due to the sedentary lifestyle. The lack of activity causes less perspiration, with less need for water to replace lost fluids.
Handy Healthy Hint revisited: Check our post, Almond Butter is Good for your Digestion, which includes a recipe for making your own almond butter in the comments section. Almond butter is a good protein supplement and the oils and fiber assist with regularity of elimination (bowel movements).
Constipation is defined as less than 3 bowel movements per week. It is usually associated with hard stools or difficulty passing stools. So many people are having difficulties due to this condition and if we don’t listen to our bodies, the condition may become chronic and cause additional health problems such as hemorrhoids, fissures, rectal prolapse and even impaction.
Following are some of the primary causes that constipation has reached epidemic proportions:
- Inadequate water intake – daily consumption should be ½ to 1 gallon of water daily to keep the bowel contents moving properly.
- Poor food combining – refined foods and poorly digested food due to improperly combined foods. For example – dairy foods and fruit should be eaten by themselves. Carbohydrates and proteins should not be combined in the same meal.
- Lack of relaxing times during our days causes a tension in the bowel and when constantly in public trying to avoid release of gas and avoiding bathroom breaks, this situation becomes more prevalent.
- Improper chewing of food – thorough chewing is the first step in digestion, to break food down into smaller bits.
- Many cases of constipation are due to allergies. We are forgetting that allergies do not just cause sinus symptoms but also others such as constipation, anxiety, trembling.
- Drinking too much water at mealtimes dilutes stomach acid and digestive enzymes, decreasing the digestion of food and causing constipation due to the undigested food in the colon.
- Imbalance of calcium and magnesium in the body.
- Lack of digestive enzyme production in the stomach.
Most constipation relief methods, including herbs and medications can become addictive. Many products found in health food stores contain 2 herbal ingredients that are cancer-causing. We are used to thinking that one bowel movement is adequate but at least 2 per day is preferred. Skipping one day of bowel movements constitutes a need to take action. Toxins get reabsorbed when they are not eliminated in a timely manner.
- Increase water intake. Many people don’t like the taste of plain water but in this case a few minutes in the morning can be spent preparing water so it is palatable Try sparkling water with 1-2 teaspoons with 1dropper of stevia added to taste in a small bottle of water. Mint can be also be added and is great combined with lemon juice – it can also be sweetened with stevia (purchase the type that does not contain alcohol). Carry these with you wherever you go so you can drink water throughout the day.
- Defaeton – a spagyric homeopathic product* that is extremely effective and has no known plant ingredients known to be cancer-causing or that create dependency. Dosage: 20 drops before bedtime and 15 drops 3 times per day at least one hour away from food. Avoid contact with metal utensils when dosing. Products may be ordered through our Spiritual Journeys office at 1-877-552-5646, toll-free in the US.
- Chelated magnesium supplements – not a calcium/magnesium supplement. Sometimes it may be necessary to take a double dosage to get the system balanced and the system should release any amount that is not needed. Chewable supplements may be used with meals; the dosage can be increased until it creates a soft and easy bowel movement.
- Allow lots of time for bathroom breaks as a starting point, until it becomes a habit. Awakening earlier in the morning may provide extra private time in the bathroom and time for relaxation on the toilet.
- Enemas, especially coffee enemas that stimulate liver release should be used for emergency measures when you see the bowel is not moving properly. Take supplies with you so they can be used as needed, just as you would carry your toothbrush when you travel. A wheat grass juice enema is also an extremely health-promoting procedure beyond the relief of constipation. Wheat grass nutrients are absorbed directly into the bowel wall.
Q. You have highly recommended magnesium to assist in loosening constipated bowels. Is there another reason why chelated magnesium* should be taken regularly? Are there indications as to when you are using too much?
A. When you use too much magnesium, the stool turns green. In addition to this sign, it will cause diarrhea. The majority of the populations, at least in Western civilizations, are deficient in magnesium because their lives are over-active, which tends to create a need for calcium (which the body will take out of the bones if it is not supplied in the diet). When everything is in proper balance, magnesium helps the body to absorb and metabolize calcium. The high-calcium/low-magnesium diet of most Americans can skew the ratio, increasing the risk of impaired bone health and heart disease. Many heart problems and shortness of breath are the result of magnesium shortages in the body. A subluxated vertebra at approximately mid-back (at about the height where a bra would be), may cause shortness of breath and is also a primary cause of diaphragmatic hernias – where the stomach bulges above the diaphragm, impeding breath.
*Note: Chelated supplements are more readily absorbed and digested by the body. Consult with your healthcare provider prior to taking any nutritional supplements, especially if being treated for medical conditions and/or taking prescription medications.