After I told my Listen To Your Colon readers about adding magnesium citrate to an Absorb Plus or whey protein shake to buffer it, I received a number of emails from readers who tried it and confirmed that it worked well for them to reduce the pain and spasming that magnesium citrate can cause. As one person wrote:

“Taking my magnesium at night in a smoothie like you suggested helped head off the extreme nausea & cramping I had been experiencing.”

So that’s great news and since then, I’ve been experimenting with two more substances to alleviate constipation: magnesium oxide powder and Triphala powder.


Triphala is an Ayurvedic herbal remedy derived from three different fruits (amalaki, bibhitaki and haritaki) that helps to correct constipation. It cleanses and tonifies the gastro-intestinal tract, promotes detoxification of the whole body and improves digestion and assimilation. Triphala also helps to reduce high blood pressure and hypertension and improves blood circulation.

The great thing about Triphala is it is not considered a laxative. It is viewed as more of a bowel cleanser and tonifier and hence it is safe for long-term or ongoing use. It tastes quite bitter, so whilst Absorb Plus masks it really well, just mixing it in juice makes it very hard to get down! Hence you may want to take it in capsules, if you can swallow pills.

I experimented with the powdered organic Triphala. 1 tsp added to my Absorb Plus shake was definitely noticeable, but still tolerable. At that dose, I felt some pain in my lower abdomen – but it felt more like a muscle pain than an intestinal pain. At 1/4 tsp, the Absorb Plus masks it quite well and the bitter taste is only mildly detectable. I still experienced a bowel clearing effect at the 1/4 tsp dose, but no pain or discomfort. A reader whose girlfriend has very slow bowels said she uses 2 tsp per day, whilst he could not tolerate more than 1 tsp per day.

So I suggest you start with 1/4 tsp  (1-2 capsules) and gradually increase from there to find your tolerance level. I REALLY like the idea of using Triphala for constipation as it is not just producing a bowel movement, but addressing the long-term dysfunction that often underlies constipation.

Magnesium Oxide

For those of you who prefer to use magnesium – or perhaps a mix of Triphala and magnesium works best for you – I have been testing pure magnesium oxide in powder form (available from NOW supplements). Although its absorption is very low, it is probably the easiest form of magnesium to use since it has virtually no taste! In the pure powder form from NOW, only 1/8 tsp = 200 mg. So you also need to use very little.

It works well just mixed in water – since it is so tasteless. And of course, you can mix it into juice or a smoothie and it’s undetectable. The easiest way for me to take it, since I was travelling, was to take a sip of water and hold it in my mouth. I tipped 1/8 tsp into the mouthful of water and swallowed. Then I would follow it with at least half – 1 glass of water.

In this form, the magnesium oxide causes NONE of the abdominal discomfort that the magnesium citrate does! So you can take it easily on an empty stomach, and with nothing other than water – you don’t need to buffer it. But then make sure you are taking your magnesium in nanoparticle form to ensure a good supply for your body’s use – since magnesium oxide is only about 5% absorbed.

QuikPlus Iron, a part of my QuikPlus Atom-Sized Ionic Minerals line, is in nanoparticle form and highly recommended. These atom-sized/angstrom/nano-sized minerals have the best absorption of any mineral form, because they do not require digestion. They can be absorbed simply by holding in your mouth (absorption through the mucosal tissue).

Hope that helps… And if you haven’t checked out my new book on constipation remedies yet, be sure and get the free downloads and watch the videos!