Apparently 63 million people in the US suffer from constipation. That’s about 1 in 4 people. At one time or another I bet we all suffer from this. We are told to add more fibre, but in the long term we do this and this does not help. In extremes, we take laxatives. But over time, we become dependent on these too and we lose the ability to have a natural poo.
So what to do? For the medical system has no answers other than the ones we have learned do not work.
Kris Cleary is a pioneer in the non medicine approach to constipation. Here is our online interview. You will see why fibre and laxatives don’t work and you will see the pathway to being well – Having Healthy Gut Flora
The intro goes to the fold and the full interview follows. Read and get well!
So what did you learn from these people who had cured their own constipation?
There were dozens of key lessons I learnt.
However, some of the most important things I’ve learnt in curing constipation are:
- The essential importance of overall gut health, especially gut flora
- Reducing stress (especially the stress one is not even aware they have)
- Eliminating toxins and eating real food for proper nutrition
- Eating normal amounts of fiber rather than the ‘high fiber’ diet that is widely preached in our modern world
- Including plenty of natural fats which is a core part of true health
All that I learnt from these people started me on the path of self-discovery in relation to my bowel health and my health overall.
I started to experiment with the various ideas and approaches I received from them and I was able to finally start joining the dots. The more I experimented, the better I was able to figure out what was actually triggering my symptoms and, on the flip side, what was allowing my bowels to work how they should naturally. It was a really exciting time to be honest. I was making so much progress quickly that I started to feel I was cracking the constipation code, so to speak.
I started to look into health and nutrition from an evolutionary view-point which was another game-changer for me. The more I researched and experimented, the more crucial information I was able to obtain. ‘Seek and you shall find’, I guess. I started to get in touch with research by guys like Loren Cordain and Staffan Lindeberg that really opened my eyes and had me jumping down the rabbit hole so-to-speak.
The Conventional wisdom about constipation is that we all need more “fiber” why does this not work?
If all we needed to cure constipation for the rest of our lives was eat ‘more fiber’ then what an easy digestive world we all who suffer from constipation would be in!
I really wish it was as easy as that.
Unfortunately fiber can appear to work when it is actually causing more havoc. For example, it’s just like a woman who is suffering from bad anxiety who finds that smoking cigarettes really helps her relax. And the cigarettes do help her relax, no doubt about. She smokes a cigarette or two and it eases her nerves. However, the smoking is causing 100x more problems caused by harmful toxins and destroying her lung health just because she wants to reduce her anxiety in this way. There are ways she could get rid of her anxiety that don’t destroy her lungs.
And it gets worse; she also becomes DEPENDENT on the cigarettes to relieve her anxiousness. She becomes a slave to the cigarettes and she can’t function normally without them. Plus cigarettes aren’t free you know! In New York you’re paying around $11.00 for a packet of cigarettes. If you honestly looked at the reality of that situation it is this: she is trading temporary relief of her anxiety for long term lung problems (possibly cancer), stained teeth, smelling like a dumpster… and she, smoking a packet a day, is paying upwards of $15,000 over the next 4 years for the right to make her life worse. Then when other health problems arise because of the smoking she is paying for that as well!
The very same goes for fiber treatment in constipation.
Fiber is a great bulking agent. For example, every gram of wheat bran intake, which is a grain packed with fiber and used by many, stool weight increases to around 5.7 grams.
For an intestinal system which is already out of whack, the intestinal walls, mainly of the large intestine, have lost their firmness and ability to grip on to stools to pass them along. Increasing the size of stools by bulking them up with fiber FORCES the stool on to the intestinal walls which can unconventionally activate the peristalsis function of the colon which moves the stool along to be eliminated.
However, the problem is that this unnatural intake of fiber increases stools to an unnatural size which then stretches the colon in an unnatural way.
Forcing is never a good idea when it comes to delicate parts of the body.
This leads to delicate nerves in the colonic walls that can be irreversibly damaged leading to the complete shutdown of the colonic peristalsis (stool movement and elimination).
Another reason why more fiber doesn’t work is because it feeds pathogens and nasty gut microbes that are ALREADY strongly contributing to the constipation in the first place.
When you have an imbalance of good and bad bacteria, more fiber in the diet will help the ‘bad’ bacteria and pathogens multiply, flourish, and ‘run the show’. Not only that, many foods that people are eating to increase fiber intake, such as cereals grains, expose their digestive tract to further toxins such as gluten, opioid peptides, and wheat germ agglutinin, as well as other ‘roughage’ that scrape and injure the soft intestinal lining.
The ‘eat more fiber’ message is a dangerous one!
Are some people more susceptible to constipation than other people?
Yes. There’s no doubt there are.
If a person have ever taken antibiotics, the pill, eaten a diet full of sugar, grains, carbohydrates, and vegetable oils, and experienced constant stress in their life then they certainly are more susceptible to constipation.
The fact that processed foods feature highly in many people’s diet is a very good indicator that their diet is leaving them more susceptible to experiencing constipation as a lot of food toxins are naturally just part and parcel of processed foods.
Beyond diet-related susceptibility, there is the fact that you may have just inherited a poor state of gut flora at birth. As babies, our first exposure and inheritance of gut flora comes from our mothers gut flora and bacteria in the birth canal as we pass through on the way to being born.
This is crucial for the proper formation of a strong digestive system. Babies that are born unnaturally, such as by c-section, naturally have a compromised gut flora make-up and studies have proven that babies who are born this was are much more likely to suffer from digestive issues like celiac disease and even auto-immune disease later on in life.
Another main culprit that leaves people more susceptible to constipation is chronic stress. Life in today’s world is much more stressful than it was even fifteen years ago, let alone one hundred years ago.
Everything around us is changing faster than ever before, there are more choices for us to make on a daily basis and more ways we have ourselves switched ‘on’ without much ‘off’ time to relax and reflect. On top of this are relationship stresses, environmental stresses, and, of course, health stresses too. Not to mention chronic stress and fear responses we have been wired up with even since childhood that are triggered many times on a daily basis and cause a sort of low level chronic stress state.
The problem with this kind of low level chronic stress is that it’s hard to recognise. It’s just like a fish that doesn’t know it’s wet. The fish doesn’t know it’s wet because it lives in water. When someone has lived in low level chronic stress for a long time they don’t know any different and therefore can’t recognize their own debilitating stress inside of them.
Do you recommend laxative use? Are there any dangers to using laxatives?
I don’t recommend taking laxatives at all.
The irreversible nerve damage that can set off by laxatives is absolutely horrible. If the nerves are damaged far enough it can totally shut down the peristalsis of the colon completely.
I’ve heard multiple stories of people who were taking laxatives, everything seemed to be working fine, and then one day they just stopped working. It wasn’t that the laxatives stopped working; it was that the colon stopped responding to the laxatives. The colon changed its own nature.
Why would this happen?
Well let’s look at a few studies.
One study from America showed that 45 patients who were using stimulant laxatives formed unexplainable abnormalities of the delicate cells and ghastly degeneration of autonomic nerve fibers in the colon.
Another study from Scandinavia showed definite presence of chronic nerve damage and severe reduction of mobility in the colonic walls in people who were treated with oral laxatives for their constipation.
Other studies have also shown that Phenolphthalein, an ingredient in many modern day laxative products, has produced alarming carcinogenic (cancer causing) effects in mice.
That’s how harmful laxatives can be on a person’s body.
What I say to people who are using constipation remedies that are not natural is: you are just trading one problem for another, but you’ll end up with both problems in the end!
Meaning, someone who is using laxatives is trading constipation for colonic nerve damage. Their constipation is gone, great! But now they’ve got nerve damaging simmering away under the surface. One day not so far away they’re going to wake up with intense nerve damage and, as a consequence, constipation back in their life.
So what do you recommend for people suffering from constipation?
I recommend primarily that they restore their gut health to promote natural bowel movements.
This is truly the only real long-lasting remedy and cure.
Healing the gut is at the core of any successful constipation cure; ‘all roads lead to Rome’.
A quick overview of the diet I recommend to do this, which I called the ‘Cure Your Constipation Diet’, is one that primarily eliminates grains (though sometimes white rice is tolerated), refined sugar, and man-made hydrogenated oils. The diet also promotes eating real natural foods such as: meat, vegetables, fruits, eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, fermented foods, and some selected dairy.
Certain food need to be tested by each person to see if they are able to tolerate them.
I highly recommend consuming some home-made bone broth (which is simple as anything to make) at each meal, and also getting probiotics into the diet as well either through fermented foods or probiotic supplements.
One thing I used to hate about ‘diets’ is that I thought they would just all involve eating bland, boring foods. I am a lover of food and I see yummy food as truly one of the joys of life. So I always tell people that eating this way is not bland at all.
I mean, how does ‘Italian omelettes infused with sage’, ‘melt-in-your-mouth gravy beef casserole’, ‘apple pie with custard’, ‘the best meatball soup’, and ‘soft blueberry muffins’ all sound? Trust me, this diet is nothing close to bland.
Another thing I recommend is that people come to terms with the stress in their life and finding ways to both eliminate it, an augment it. Most stress in our lives is just useless, chronic, and mostly invisible. It’s the kind that drags our energy away and keeps us always on edge that must be eliminated.
But not all stress it bad.
If we are going to grow as people, learn new things and get involved in new activities we need to get out of our comfort zone which always will entail feeling some level of stress. This kind of stress is short-term stress. This is stress that we can use for our own good. The other type I mentioned just earlier is long-term, or chronic, stress. This is type of stress that we don’t use, it uses us.
I have found that people with constipation problems have some level of chronic stress and tension in their life that they haven’t resolved. In fact, constipation itself only adds to this chronic stress syndrome that holds constipation in its place. It is self-reinforcing in a certain respect. Overcoming this stress in my own life was a key part of allowing my body to unwind and ‘do its thing’.
Here is his Bio
Kristopher Cleary, originally from Australia and with a background in teaching and creative arts, decided to take responsibility for his own digestive health after suffering from ‘pain in the ass’ chronic constipation for many years. He is the founder of the Real Constipation Remedies blog dedicated to offering the best information to help others cure their own constipation. Kristopher believes that constipation is just a symptom of modern diet and lifestyle alterations and with the appropriate changes anyone can reclaim their true health and overcome their constipation permanently. He can be contacted at kriscleary@realconstipationrem