Overcoming Constipation, A Common Effect With Detox/Ketosis
Let’s face it… there’s a good chance you have had to deal with some constipation at some point. Having good bowel habits may be one of the most important elements of your health, closely tied equal to having a free and clear spinal nerve system (the majority of your bowel nerves are direct extension of your cranial/ cervical Vagus nerve and the entire sympathetic system that lives in your lower back).
What exactly are “normal healthy bowel habits”
– 2-4 bowel movements per day, with an ideal rhythm of 1st thing in the morning and shortly after lunch and dinner meals.
– No “visible” food remnants from previous meals
– Shaped like a smooth sausage or snake, no cracks on the surface, bumps or clumps.
Healthy bowel habits have been shown to reduce bacterial load within your body, up-regulate your detoxification elevation pathways, reduce overall inflammation, reduce stress in the nerve system and the brain itself, enhance mental clarity, improve skin health and even reduce chronic pain.
This is the #1 reason many alternative health practitioners recommend paying attention to your bowel habits and perhaps encouraging natural release with a salt water flush or enema on a regular basis, sometimes weekly.
Top Causes of Constipation:
- Intestinal Dysbiosis / SIBO: Increased levels of opportunistic bacteria in the bowels can disrupt the natural flora of your intestines. The overgrown usually results in excessive enterotoxins, which can disrupt the movement of waste throughout the colon. The most common type of dysbiosis is SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), which results in decreased mucous production and dehydration of the small bowl.
- Dehydration: Perhaps the largest reason for constipation, water is essential not only in the lubrication of the bowels but also in maintaining electrolyte imbalance which is essential for normal bowel contractions. Most people notice significant improvement simply by drinking 100oz of Himalayan salted (2tsp per 100oz) lemon water on a daily basis.
- Food Sensitivities: In addition to the overstimulation of the immune system, food sensitivities lead to inflammation of the bowels, which slows their function much like inflamed sinuses get “clogged.” Gluten, Rice, Corn, Soy and dairy are the most common food sensitivities that should be eliminated when trying to solve constipation.
- Stress: During times of stress, the body reacts by decreasing non-essential functions for survival – digestion being one non-essential. Stress isn’t just physical but also perceived – i.e. your body reacts the same to being chased by a lion as it does an angry email from your boss. Cortisol and histamine both slow bowel function and when chronically stimulated it directly affects your bowel frequency and ease.
- Mineral Imbalance: Several studies point out that 1 in 3 adults are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. After testing thousands of individuals nutritionally, I would personally say it’s more like 2.5 out of 3 adults. Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium and Phosphorous are needed for proper bowel function, and these are the most common to be deficient which directly affects bowel frequency.
- Medication Use: It’s no secret that medications carry side effects, but the number one overlooked side effect of all medications is constipation. Pain killers (Aspirin, Advil and prescription pain pills) specifically due to the fact they slow down returning impulses from organs to the brain – i.e. they slow down the nerve system, dulling its effect. Note: Just because it’s an OTC doesn’t make it instantly safe or non-effective to your gut.
Top Techniques to Resolve Constipation
- Consume More Fat: In a similar fish to water, fats lubricate the intestine. One of the most famous “intestinal cleansing fats” is Coconut oil. In addition to its incredible antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties is its ability to get the bowel moving again. Consider trying a “Coconut oil Bowel Flush” which is simply consuming 1 TBSP coconut oil hourly until your bowels release. Most adults will have results within 4-6 hours. If it takes longer, it’s a sign your bowel habits need attention and you should also try some of the other techniques below
- Consume More Salt: Salt is an essential life-sustaining nutrient that too many Americans avoid due to false fears of negative cardiovascular effects. While there is truth about the damaging effects of white table salt (NACL), there are tremendous benefits to mineral based salts (Himalayan / Celtic). Consume 2-3.5 teaspoons per day to ensure you get the necessary salts to moisten the bowels and encourage electrolyte transfer for normal gut health. Consider a “salt water bowel flush” which is simply consuming 1 liter of hot water with 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice and 2 tsp of Himalayan salt with a 5 min window and resting for the next 30min at which point you should feel the urge to go!
- Consume More Water: Chances are, you know you are supposed to drink 1/2 of your body weight in ounces to stay hydrated. This is great advice if you are in normal hydration (55-60%). Given that 3/4 of Americans are chronically dehydrated (less than 45%) you will need to focus on more. While 1 gallon or more per day can be daunting, it is by far one of the most important things you can do for normal bowel health. PS. Water revitalizes every square inch of your body – from your hair down to your nails. Consider doing a “1-gallon challenge” – simply drinking 1 gallon of water daily for 30 days. Most people who complete this not only see visible changes but also feel the results internally as well!
- Use Digestive Enzymes/ACV: One cause of constipation is simply the additional time undigested food needs to complete the digestive process. Lack of HCL and digestive enzymes may be the underlying cause, which can easily be remedied via consuming a well-balanced digestive enzyme (one with enzymes towards fats, proteins and carbs along with hydrochloric acid. Simply take 1-2 with each meal. Note: Apple Cider Vinegar taken 15-30 min before eating has also been shown to offer a similar effect.
- Perform an Enema (Salt or Coffee): Enemas are an amazingly simple way to increase your bowel habits and solve constipation. Both salt water enemas add additional liquids needed to hydrate a dehydrated bowel along with the essential salts mentioned above. Coffee enemas have been shown to achieve a similar result but with also a gentle detoxification of the liver/gall system at the same time. Most people who perform an enema will notice a near immediate release of their constipation along with a reduction of reoccurrence. As an added bonus, coffee enemas can also help reduce inflammation and pain in other areas of the body.
- Positional Change on The Throne: Chances are you have seen the “Squatty Potty” commercial with the famous “pooping unicorn” (if not Google it!) There is a lot of truth behind these “toilet stools” simply because they create the necessary pelvic angle to fully open your puborectalis muscle. As simple as this may sound, sit with knees at an angle less than 90 degrees (achieved by putting your feet up on the toilet stool) can change drastically your bowel habits when added to the techniques above.