Ask Larry:

Question: Do you have any suggestions on how to overcome constipation? So many people I know suffer from this. We have taken on board advice from doctors, consultants, etc. in this field to no avail. When their suggestions don’t work they just say “you have a lazy or a sluggish bowel”. Can you throw any light on this dreaded problem?

Larry’s Response: I must first ask you to look at the prescription drugs you may be taking. They are often associated with changes in bowel function. Ask your doctor – or pharmacist – if any drug or combination of them can be linked to constipation. That’s a place to start.

If all is well on that front, start looking at what you put into your body – or fail to put there, as the case may be. The diet is often associated with poor bowel function. Be sure to eat fruits and vegetables – and do your best to eliminate processed food and carbohydrates. Soda pop – with or without sugar – can upset the gut’s balance.

Start using a good probiotic, one that delivers around 20 billion colony forming units per dose. I strongly recommend Florajen 3. If you aren’t using them now, start by taking one dose twice daily on an empty stomach (20 to 30 minutes before a meal or an hour after). Use clean water.

Vegetables offer magnesium to the diet, but the amounts can sometimes not be enough. This is especially true when produce is imported from far away. Yes, they are technically fruits and vegetables, but they are often picked early, before the nutrients develop. They can also be grown in depleted soil. They look good and taste okay but don’t deliver what we expect.

Use a magnesium supplement twice daily, one that is a chelate, not magnesium oxide. We preferReacted Magnesium from Orthomolecular.

Again, a healthy diet delivers soluble and insoluble fiber. There are a few excellent fiber supplements on the market. My preferred fiber product is made by Orthomolecular.

One final suggestion is to drink water – not more coffee, tea, or soda pop – and not milk shakes. Drink water.

If the suggestions I’ve made don’t work, see a doctor – but be careful about what’s ordered. Be very cautious about using laxatives or prescription drugs to loosen things up. While they may work – often explosively – repeated use can leave you in a situation worse than you started with.