Medically Reviewed

Feeling Blocked? The What Vitamins Help With Constipation?

You don't have to suffer silently from the symptoms of constipation. Natural products and supplements can help ease your discomfort and move things along.

What Are the Best Vitamins and Supplements to Manage Constipation?

Here is a list of the most commonly supplements you may have heard of that can relieve occasional constipation:

  • Magnesium
  • Probiotics
  • Fiber
  • Aloe vera
  • Senna

Each of these supplements can potentially create a more functional digestive tract and thus ease occasional constipation.

What Causes Constipation?

Several factors play a part in a person developing constipation. Some factors are more controllable than others.

Here are some common factors that can make you more susceptible to occasional constipation:

  • Age: being an older adult
  • Hydration: dehydration can contribute to temporary constipation
  • Diet: a diet low in fiber can slow your stools
  • Lack of physical activity: getting little physical activity slows things down in your gut
  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Diet changes
  • Travel
  • Pregnancy

While you cannot change your age, you can manage a few of these factors. Simply hydrating yourself, getting regular movement, or eating enough foods with fiber in them may be enough to help you now that you know the potential risk factors for disrupting regular bowel movements.

What Are the Signs of Constipation?

Pressure in your lower abdomen could mean one of many things. However, there are some telltale signs that your discomfort may be from constipation. Here are the most common signs:

  • Hard or lumpy stools
  • Passing three or fewer stools in a week
  • Straining to pass bowel movements
  • Feeling like stools are incomplete

Each of these signs can point to constipation. It is always a good idea to talk to a healthcare provider to figure out any potential underlying issues especially if your constipation is relentless.

The Top 7 Supplements To Get Things Moving

1. Probiotics

Probiotic-rich foods, as well as probiotic supplements, can increase stool frequency. They also can help reduce intestinal transit time in adults which can promote healthy bowel movements. Foods rich in probiotics, such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, can also work well.

2. Magnesium

Magnesium oxide supplements can help bring water to the intestine and help move the bowels. On the downside, too much magnesium oxide can result in a loose or softer stool than normal. This research opens the door for additional studies to investigate the potential for magnesium to support healthy bowel movements. Always talk to your doctor before starting new supplements.

3. Vitamin C

While there are no studies on the use of vitamin C for constipation, this wonder vitamin might play a role in maintaining health bowel movements in general. This study found a correlation between low micronutrient levels (including vitamin C, folate, and magnesium) and children with underconsumption of fiber rich foods and temporary bowel challenges. Most sources of vitamin C in foods are naturally found in fruits and veggies which are also a major source of fiber. Overall, getting adequate vitamin C from the diet is crucial for optimal health.

4. Vitamin B-12

Studies have shown that a B12 deficiency can present itself as constipation. You can have your doctor measure your levels and figure out the best approach to support optimal health including regular bowel movements. Individuals who eat a solely plant-based diet are at risk for a B12 deficiency. Additionally, if you have digestive problems already, you may have difficulty absorbing the B12 from your food.

5. Fiber supplement

General fiber therapy can help with a stubborn bowel. Fiber can boost stool frequency and promote healthy bowel movements. However, to work most effectively, you must hydrate adequately, and thus drink plenty of water, when you take fiber or eat foods high in fiber.

6. Castor oil

Studies have shown that castor oil applied topically can decrease straining during bowel movements and leads to a feeling of complete evacuation after a bowel movement. Overall, it may help with occasional constipation symptoms. The way this works may be by relaxing smooth muscles within the stomach area allowing for bowels to move easily.

7. Psyllium husk

Pysllium husk is a soluble form of fiber. Other studies have shown that psyllium improves water retention in stools. Essentially, this supplement forms a gel that assists in eliminating stool and promoting healthy bowel movements.

What Gives Immediate Constipation Relief?

If you're suffering from the discomfort of constipation from time to time, you're probably not looking for a supplement that takes a long time to work. Here are some additional options for immediate support:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Limit eat processed foods
  • Use a footstool to squat when you go to the bathroom
  • Try exercises like walking, yoga, or jogging
  • Try a massage on your stomach

Additional options include laxatives or stool softeners however those can form dependency if used too often. And some people may use enemas but that process can increase the risk of damage to the colon, disrupt flora, and electrolytes. In regards to constipation or digestive issues please talk to your doctor to address underlying causes and create the best plan unique to your needs.

Can Any Supplements Worsen Constipation?

Even if you're trying to be healthy and address nutrient deficiencies, you can sometimes inadvertently experience occasional constipation or changes in bowel movements. Some supplements, such as iron, can contribute to brief changes in bowel movements such as constipation in some people from time to time. Not all forms of iron do this, though, so check out the ingredients on your supplement. You can read more about the different forms of iron here

Other Natural Ways to Manage Occasional Constipation

You can promote healthy bowel movements even more by natural means than you can with supplements. Your daily routine and behavior affect your colon health.

Food For Constipation

The food you eat, along with the amount of water you consume, can make for a happy and healthy colon. Here are common foods that make for a healthy functioning colon:

  • Oats
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Fiber-rich fruits like bananas and apples
  • Fiber-rich vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and leafy greens
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Whole-grain cereal
  • Brown rice
  • Split peas
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Nuts

Snack on these items and make them a regular part of your diet so you are more likely to maintain healthy bowel movements.

Exercise For Constipation

As you begin to incorporate these foods into your diet, implement an exercise regimen as well. A daily walk or jog will do wonders for your colon. The more you move, the more your colon can move, and the more likely you are to maintain healthy bowel movements.

Key Takeaways

Ultimately, your behavior, such as seeking nutrition for better health or exercising daily, will contribute to your bowel health. Avoid supplements and behaviors that can disrupt bowel movements and overall digestive health.

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