This bulletin addresses two related topics. The first is nutritional causes for constipation and diarrhea. The second is how to handle these symptoms when they arise as part of a nutritional balancing program.
Constipation affects millions of Americans. Some health authorities suggest that one should have a bowel movement after every meal. Anything less is constipation.
In contrast, conventional doctors often do not use the term constipation unless a person is uncomfortable from not having a bowel movement for days!
An important biochemical cause for constipation is a slow oxidation rate. Slow oxidation is associated with reduced bowel tone, reduced secretion of bile and other digestive juices and reduced peristaltic activity. Enhancing the oxidation rate often reduces constipation.
Other causes for constipation include inadequate roughage or fiber in the diet, imbalanced intestinal flora, intestinal parasites, bacterial or yeast overgrowth in the intestine, acid-alkaline imbalance, nervous tension, lack of exercise and magnesium deficiency. Rarely a tumor, polyp or some other cause is involved.
In some cases, psychological factors are very important. For example, many people become constipated when they travel, eat unusual foods, or disrupt their normal daily routine.
Even long-standing constipation usually improves by enhancing a slow oxidation rate and adding dietary fiber, supplementary magnesium, acidophilus and enzymes such as GB-3 (bile acids).
Traditional remedies such as prune juice, cascara sagrada and senna leaves also are helpful. However, herbs may eventually stop working. They are not as physiological as fiber, acidophilus, magnesium and GB-3 which actually supply missing nutritional factors.
Other methods that may help include exercise, colonic irrigation, castor oil packs, deep breathing, yoga and other natural therapies to restore total body functioning.
It is usually not necessary to stop taking supplements due to constipation. Instead, add magnesium, SBF Formula, Acidophilus or GB-3. Usually this will take care of the problem rapidly.
Diarrhea is also a very common symptom. It is often defined as unformed stools or liquid stools. They may occur frequently or just once a day.
In terms of oxidation types, true fast oxidizers are more prone to diarrhea. True fast oxidizers may have several bowel movements per day, often after every meal.
Temporary fast oxidizers (including those with high calcium and magnesium levels) and fast oxidizers with a low sodium/potassium ratio may have loose stools, but are often constipated.
Besides oxidation type, other causes for diarrhea include anything that irritates the intestines causing increased evacuations. In many cases the body is attempting to wash something out of the intestines. Bacterial and viral infections, food poisoning, irritating foods and spices, parasites, yeast overgrowth, improper flora and food or supplement sensitivities are a few of the more common causes.
Psychological factors also play a role in diarrhea. Anything that upsets digestion can cause the body to expel a meal.
Acute diarrhea is often an effort to expel poisons. It is best to allow it until the bowel is empty. If diarrhea persists or becomes chronic, a simple diet of well-cooked rice or well-cooked oatmeal and no irritating or raw food may help.
Other remedies include charcoal tablets, garlic, bentonite clay, or grapefruit seed extract. Intestinal flora may have to be altered and candida or parasitic infection treated with herbs or conventional drugs. Consider a stool examination or other medical exam for anyone with persistent diarrhea.
Diarrhea is self-limiting. If it persists on the supplement program, reduce the dosage of magnesium, SBF Formula or GB-3. Reduce another supplement if it seems to be the causative factor. Check with Doug Eck at the lab if this means restructuring the supplement program. Usually the cause can be isolated.
Charcoal tablets, bentonite clay or grapefruit seed extract may also be tried. If diarrhea persists, other tests should be considered.