When it comes to mineral deficiency, low potassium can cause constipation. There is a constant outflow of potassium from the intestinal muscle cell to the outside of the cell. When blood potassium is low, more potassium leaves the cell. As more potassium flows out of the cell, it makes the cell more resistant to the transmission of current across its membrane and therefore, less likely to contract and move stool efficiently.
Low magnesium is also associated with low potassium and therefore, may cause constipation. Low calcium can be accompanied by low magnesium, but is not a cause of constipation – high calcium leads to constipation.
My book, Listen To Your Colon, walks you through each of the constipation causes below, with step-by-step instructions on how to deal with them. But for now, let’s just try to determine which type of constipation you have…
I have identified two different kinds of constipation, and the treatment varies depending on which type you have (some people have both):
1. Peristaltic Constipation
You rarely (or never) feel the urge to have a bowel movement. You can have stool building up in your colon, but have no urge to poo. If you’ve been constipated for a long time, this build up of stool may not even be uncomfortable anymore. When you do have a bowel movement, your stool is large (over ½ inch wide).
Colonic massage can really help get your bowels moving and assist your body’s peristaltic mechanism (wave-like muscular contractions).
2. Stenosis Constipation
With stenosis constipation you often feel the urge to defecate, but when you try, it is difficult or impossible to have a bowel movement. If you’ve had this type of constipation for a long time, then your urge to have a bowel movement may have greatly lessened, if not disappeared.
Your anus/rectum can spasm and be very tight (anal stenosis). When you do manage to pass stool, the stool is very narrow, rarely larger than 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch in diameter.
Once you’ve determined which type of constipation you’re dealing with, for long-term constipation treatment, you have to look at all the factors that contribute to constipation, and then make the necessary changes in each area:
- Stress and emotional factors
- Gut microflora
- Drug use
- Nutrient deficiency
- Mineral deficiency
Each of these factors is covered in-depth in my book, along with home remedies for each; including flushing enemas, probiotic retention enemas, herbal cleanses, diet modifications to loosen stool, etc. For a quick and easy remedy for constipation relief, here’s something that works well for most people:
Helpful Constipation Remedy
Magnesium citrate is a common remedy for constipation. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant, but is also an irritant to the bowel, so the bowel wants to expel it. These two things combine to make it an excellent laxative with no side effects, even when taken long-term (at lower dosages – if you take 1000 to 2000 mg per day you may have a problem eventually).
However, because it is an irritant, magnesium can also cause pain and burning in the bowel. This is the main reason people stop using it – even though 40% of the American population are deficient in magnesium!
The solution is to put your magnesium citrate (start at 250 mg and increase to a maximum of 1,000 mg), along with 2 tablespoons of Udo’s Choice Oil into an Absorb Plus shake for supper, or as a snack before bed. Get the magnesium citrate in capsule form, open the capsule and pour the contents into the shake before blending. This usually produces an easy bowel movement by morning.
Absorb Plus is an alkaline food, so it buffers the magnesium – so you don’t feel the pain or burning that magnesium supplementation can cause. Adding the Udo’s oil also serves to treat constipation (since many constipation sufferers are deficient in good fats – which are also needed for bowel motility).
While you’re at it, you can also throw in these other supplements and antioxidants that work synergistically to maintain whole body health, if you wish: 50 mg pycnogenol, 60 mg CoQ10, and 1 capsule bioflavonoids (quercetin, rutin, and hesperidin). Get the supplements in capsule form, and open and pour the contents of capsules into shake before blending.
*Note: I recommend magnesium citrate rather than oxide or other forms to treat constipation, since it is the most highly absorbed.
Jini’s Constipation Shake
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2 tbsp Udo’s Oil
- 3 scoops Absorb Plus (use 4 scoops if you need the extra calories)
- 250 mg magnesium citrate (can increase to 1,000 mg if needed)
- Any other supplements you wish to add (I suggest CoQ10, pycnogenol and bioflavonoids).