Monday, 13 February 2012

Reduce Constipation! The Secret Weapons – Calcium and Magnesium

In an earlier post, I stated that in an ideal world, we would visit the toilet 1-3X daily to have a bowel movement (1 meal in = 1 meal out), otherwise we are constipated.  I received many emails asking me what to do to help promote better bowel health so I decided I would post a couple of tips to help.

First of all there are the 2 basics.  Drink enough water, 8-10 glasses daily, and consume enough fibre about 40grams.  Fibre is the bulking agent and water helps keep everything flowing.  Keep in mind that if you drink caffeinated beverages, your water intake needs to increase as caffeine is a diuretic.

If you are consuming enough water and fibre, you may be lacking in calcium and/or magnesium.  Though there are many other things that could be the cause, it would be best to consult a Holistic Practitioner to do a full assessment, and so, for the purposes of this quick post, I will keep it very simple.

Magnesium helps reduce constipation
Magnesium is a gentle laxative that helps relax your colon walls when you are under stress or anxious.  Unfortunately that is almost a constant concern in today’s society. Magnesium also attracts water so supplementing on magnesium or eating foods high in magnesium will help to get water into the colon, which is necessary to keep your stools softer.   

Calcium helps reduce constipation
Calcium combines with excess bile and decaying fat (in your colon) to form a harmless insoluble soap, which is excreted with your stool. That’s right Calcium acts like a bath for your intestines! 

Best Supplemental Forms and Dosages

Using calcium and magnesium in the right quantities can prevent or relieve constipation.
The dose for supplementation varies from person to person, so start with a lower dose, and increase as needed.  You will know when you reach your upper tolerance of Magnesium because your bowels will become very loose.  At that time, reduce the dose.  Unlike irritating laxatives, magnesium does not create laxative dependency.  There are many forms of magnesium supplements, but I recommend purchasing magnesium oxide or magnesium citrate.

The same is true for Calcium.  Look for calcium gluconate or aspartate, preferably gluconate as it closely resembles the calcium you get from milk and vegetables.  This form is easily absorbed by individuals with weak digestion.  Natural Vitality has a product called “Natural Calm with Calcium” that I enjoy before bed as it mixes with water and is a soothing and calming warm beverage.

The key to remember is that without magnesium, calcium can actually cause constipation.  As a result I would recommend taking 400-500mg of calcium 3X daily at the same time as 200-300mg of magnesium.  (Maximum daily intake should be 1500mg of calcium and 1000mg of magnesium)

Side Effects of Calcium and Magnesium

Every beneficial supplement may still pose a risk for certain populations.  If you are taking a thyroid hormone, beta-blockers, calcium-channel blockers, or antibiotics, calcium supplements can interfere with adsorption of these drugs. It is best to take calcium around 2 hours before or after taking these and other drugs.
If taking magnesium, do not take it within 2 hours of taking any kind of drug.
If you have severe kidney or heart disease, you need to avoid magnesium and consult with your Health Care Practitioner.
It is important to note that Calcium and Magensium are safe for pregnant women.

Increase Magnesium and Calcium with Whole Foods!!

Before considering supplements, remember that whole foods are best and quite often will do the trick.    

Calcium Rich Foods:
Goat milk, egg yolk, fish, lemons, rhubarb, cheese, skimmed milk, bone broth, seeds, dulse, kelp, greens, nuts, cauliflower, celery, cottage cheese

Magnesium Rich Foods:
Greens, berries, wheat germ, grains, nuts, cornmeal, apples, apricots, oats, pears, pecans, spinach, tofu, lentils, honey, fish, cabbage, avocados, cashews, peas, prunes, soy milk, chard

Summing it All Up!

Regardless of the method you choose, consuming a balanced diet with a few servings of Magnesium and Calcium rich foods daily along with lots of water and fiber and your bowels should be moving in no time.  Along with this will come many health benefits including a stronger immune system, less parasitic and candida infection risk, and better absorption of nutrients.  It’s a win-win situation!

All the Best in Health,

Coach DeanneJ

P.S:  If you are chronically constipated (less than 1 bowel movement daily) consider having a full assessment done by a qualified Holistic Nutritionist.  Call or email me for a free 15 minute consult @ 905-538-8611 or  

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