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Last Updated on May 14, 2021

8 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Constipation

8 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Constipation

Being constipated is no fun! And yet it’s a surprisingly common affliction. Around one in five people are thought to suffer from it, with up to 8 million people visiting their doctor each year for a constipation cure.

However, medication isn’t necessarily the answer. Treating the cause is the only way to prevent the problem. In most cases, it’s a simple matter of figuring out what foods might be causing your digestion to malfunction, or whether your lifestyle is to blame. Medication or certain medical conditions can also contribute. It’s usually a combination of different things: constipation is rarely caused by a single factor.

Most doctors will define constipation as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. But because everyone’s bowel movements are different, this can vary from person to person. There may be other nasty symptoms, such as pain and straining when going to the bathroom, gas, bloating, and difficulty passing stools. Stools may be dry, hard and dark.

Luckily, there are plenty of natural constipation cures that can be carried out in the comfort of your own home. Most of these ones are even backed by science!

1. Take a Top-Quality Probiotic Supplement

When you have an imbalance of healthy bacteria in your gut, your digestion can become sluggish and inefficient. This is because the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria or yeast in your gut can trigger a response from the immune system, leading to inflammation of the GI tract and the subsequent inflammation in other parts of the body.

Imbalances in the gut like Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) or Candida overgrowth often lead to not only constipation but also inflammation, intestinal permeability and other symptoms.[1]

High-quality probiotic supplements are effective for both preventing and treating constipation. They deliver a quantity of live bacteria directly to your intestines, which is where your body breaks down food in a special process called fermentation. Here’re some recommendations: 7 Best Probiotic Supplements (Recommendation & Reviews)

Probiotics are ‘friendly’ bacteria which work with your digestive enzymes in your intestines, helping your body to break down the food matter and absorb the nutrients within it. When your body lacks the right type of bacterial strains, your digestion can be slowed or impaired. This can mean the food you eat sits in your intestines for longer, ultimately leading to constipation.[2]

Two of the most effective probiotic strains for relieving constipation are Bifidobacterium infantis[3] and Lactobacillus plantarum.[4] Look for a probiotic that contains these strains, as well as a high CFU count and lots of other probiotic strains.

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Fermented foods can also be an excellent source of probiotics, but keep in mind that they can cause temporary constipation after you start eating them. This should pass fairly quickly.[5]

2. Drink More Water

One of the most obvious causes of constipation is also the last most people think of: hydration!

When you don’t drink enough water, your body quickly becomes dehydrated. This means any waste in your intestines will become hard and sluggish, simply because your body can’t add enough moisture to your stools. If this is the case, your stools will be small, hard, dry and difficult to pass.

Try to drink at least 2 liters of clean, filtered water daily. The easiest way to do this is by carrying a drink bottle with you everywhere, so you can sip it regularly. This will help to move food and waste through your body and keep everything flowing naturally.

Water can increase your metabolism and help you to lose weight too![6]

3. Eat More Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber is the type that can be dissolved (i.e., it is “soluble”) in water. When soluble fiber comes into contact with liquid, it absorbs the liquid and forms a gel-like substance. It acts like a sponge, absorbing fluid and making your stools softer. This allows your body to move them out of your digestive tract more easily.

Good sources of soluble fiber include oats and oatmeal, legumes (peas, beans, lentils), barley, fruits and vegetables (especially oranges, apples and carrots). Psyllium husk is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. It’s a good remedy for constipation due to the way it stimulates bowel movements. Inulin is another good type of soluble fiber that you can buy from your health food store.

A study involving IBS patients found when they were given supplements containing soluble fiber (mainly psyllium husk), their symptoms improved significantly.[7]

Insoluble fiber may also help to ease constipation by increasing bulk in the stool and improving motility, but it can be too taxing on a sensitive gut.

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Non-fermentable soluble fiber is much easier to tolerate because it increases the water-holding capacity of the stool, softening it and making its movement through the intestines easier.

3. Get Active

Studies have shown that being sedentary is a common lifestyle factor in those with sluggish bowels.

An investigation into the link between constipation and sedentary behavior in adolescents found that constipation was often due to low physical activity and long periods of sedentary behavior. In most cases, when the adolescents were made to be more active, their constipation was far less frequent.[8]

Your colon responds to physical activity. The abdominal wall muscles and the diaphragm all play an important role in the process of moving waste out of the body. Good muscle tone helps to keep your bowel movements regular.

Any form of physical activity that moves your lower body can help. This includes running, walking, swimming and even trampolining!

4. Drink Caffeinated Beverages

Many people swear by coffee for making them need to go to the bathroom. As a stimulant, coffee triggers muscles in your digestive system, encouraging peristalsis (the wave-like movements in your intestines that push waste through to your colon).

One study showed that coffee has much the same effect on your gut as a meal and is 60% more effective than just drinking water. It’s also 23% more effective than decaffeinated coffee.[9]

However, because coffee is also a diuretic, it can cause dehydration – which will only make your constipation worse! Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day as well.

Non-caffeinated drinks like these herbal teas can also help to reduce digestive discomfort and alleviate constipation.

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5. Eat More Green Kiwi

Also known as kiwifruit and Chinese gooseberry, the kiwi is a very helpful constipation cure.

One medium-sized kiwi contains around 2.5 grams of fiber, along with a variety of nutrients. But the most important thing about kiwi is that it contains a protease enzyme called actinidine. Actinidine has been found to stimulate motility in the upper gastrointestinal tract, which helps to push waste along the intestines.

Another valuable nutrient in green kiwi is a peptide called kissiper. Kissiper has been found to work with specific ions to aid good digestion and improve peristalsis. One study showed that when adults with constipation ate just two kiwis a day, their bowel movements increased.

Kiwi is also a rich source of natural phytochemicals that can support the health of the gut. Because it’s technically a berry, you can even eat the hairy outer peel for extra roughage!

6. Try Senna

The herbal laxative Senna is commonly used to relieve constipation. It is available over-the-counter or online, and can be taken as pills or capsules, or drunk as a tea.

Senna contains a variety of plant compounds called glycosides, which stimulate the nerves in your gut and encourage faster bowel movements.[10]

It’s important to drink plenty of fluids or electrolyte replacement solutions while taking senna, as it can cause a rapid emptying of the bowels. Extra hydration will help to prevent you from losing too much fluid or electrolytes.

Although safe to use every now and then, prolonged use is not recommended. Talk to your doctor or a natural health practitioner if your constipation continues. Senna is not recommended for those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have inflammatory bowel conditions.

7. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are tiny black and white seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

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The great thing about chia seeds is that they’re rich in soluble fiber, so they form a lubricating gel-like consistency when they absorb water. This gel can help to improve the formation of your stools, making them moist and easier to pass. The omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for their anti-inflammatory properties, which can help an irritated gut.

The soluble fiber in chia seeds is much gentler on the gut and should be a part of your daily diet. It’s easy to add chia seeds to cereals, baked goods, smoothies and yogurt for a fiber-rich snack or meal.

8. Prune Juice

Prunes have long been known for their ability to keep you regular. They’re absolutely packed with fiber and they are extremely effective in moving waste through your gut.

The other great thing about prunes is that they contain a type of sugar called sorbitol. Because sorbitol can’t be broken down by your body, it passes through your colon undigested and draws water into your gut. This helps to bulk up your stool and stimulate a bowel movement.

Studies show that sorbitol is a safe and effective remedy for constipation,[11] and it’s often a favorite with older adults. Prunes can increase the frequency of your bowel movements and improve consistency. If you really have no idea of what to eat when constipated, a handful of prunes could be the easiest remedy in the book.

Take care not to overdo the dried prunes though – they CAN cause some gas and bloating!

The Bottom Line

Chronic constipation can seriously impact your life. It can also take a toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. Feeling uncomfortable is only the part of the problem; your body will also suffer due to poor nutrition and sluggish digestion.

With the above natural constipation cures, you will feel better and can even prevent constipation.

Featured photo credit: Michael Jasmund via unsplash.com

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Reference

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Lisa Richards

Nutritionist, Creator of The Candida Diet, Owner of TheCandidaDiet.com

7 Best Probiotic Supplements (Recommendation and Reviews) 3 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Gut Inflammation What Helps Yeast Infections: Foods To Eat And Avoid What to Eat When Constipated? 10 Foods to Improve Your Gut Health 7 Super Fast and Effective Ways to Reduce Gas in Stomach

Trending in Probiotic

1 7 Best Probiotic Supplements (Recommendation and Reviews) 2 3 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Gut Inflammation 3 What Helps Yeast Infections: Foods To Eat And Avoid 4 What to Eat When Constipated? 10 Foods to Improve Your Gut Health 5 7 Super Fast and Effective Ways to Reduce Gas in Stomach

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Last Updated on June 11, 2021

7 Best Probiotic Supplements (Recommendation and Reviews)

7 Best Probiotic Supplements (Recommendation and Reviews)

You’ve probably heard that probiotics are a great way to boost your gut health. And indeed, they are! But how do you find the right probiotic for you? Where do you look? Which products are good and which are not?

Here’s an outline of what you need to look for when choosing the best probiotic supplement for you.

First of all, you should check off these five questions.

1. Will the Bacteria in the Probiotic Reach Your Gut?

A good probiotic should be designed in a way that allows the bacteria to survive the harsh acidic environment of your stomach. This means that the bacteria have a better chance of arriving at your intestines, ready to establish themselves and do their work.

That’s why you should look for a probiotic supplement that uses some form of time-release technology, such as BIO-tract or delayed-release capsules that protects the probiotic bacteria and prevents them from being broken down in your stomach.[1]

2. How Many Billion CFUS of Bacteria Do I Need?

CFU stands for “colony-forming unit.” This is the amount of live and active bacteria contained in each dose. Generally speaking, the higher the CFU count, the more effective the probiotic. However, not all products will state how many CFUs they contain, which can be a sign that the actual count is very low.

A good probiotic supplement should contain at least 10 billion CFUs for it to be effective or at least 5 billion CFUs for children.

3. Which Strains of Bacteria Does It Contain?

There are hundreds of different strains of bacteria, and all of them have unique properties. Some probiotics have been shown to help with specific health conditions. Most of the probiotics in commercial formulations are naturally found in a healthy gut.

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Some of the best bacterial strains to look for in a probiotic are L. Plantarum (for protecting the membrane that surrounds your gut), L. paracasei (for its antibacterial properties that can ward off pathogens like E. coli and Candida albicans), and L. acidophilus (to regulate acidity in your gut and boost your immune system).

4. How Many Different Strains of Bacteria Are Included?

There are more than 1,000 different species of bacteria in a healthy gut. So, it’s best to choose a probiotic supplement that contains a variety of strains. All these strains work together, each supporting one another with their different properties. The more strains, the more work that gets done!

5. Are There Any Other Ingredients That Might Damage Your Gut Health?

Many supplement manufacturers include fillers and unnecessary ingredients to lengthen shelf life, sweeten their product, or make the contents easier to pour into capsules. Be sure to read the ingredients label carefully as some of these “extras” can be harmful to gut health.

Look out for common allergens, such as gluten, nuts, dairy products, or animal products, especially if you’re intolerant or allergic to them. Also, be aware that some gums (like those found in ‘gummy’ kids’ probiotics) can increase inflammation in your gut.

What Is a Good Probiotic?

Several factors go into making a good probiotic. First of all, try to look past the big numbers that are used in marketing. You’ll see adverts for probiotics that have 50 billion, 100 billion, even 200 billion CFUs! The harsh reality is that these numbers are usually irrelevant. Probiotics with high CFU counts often deliver only a few of those bacteria past your stomach acid. Time-release tablets, for example using patented technologies like BIO-tract, can deliver 15 times more bacteria to the gut than an equivalent probiotic in a vegetable capsule.[2]

For example, my preferred Balance ONE Probiotic contains 15 billion CFUs of bacteria. It uses time-release tablets, and each one of those tablets delivers the same amount of bacteria to your gut as a 225 billion CFU probiotic in a vegetable capsule.

Second, look for the strains that the probiotic contains. A good probiotic for digestive health and immune support should contain at least 5 strains, and preferably 10. All of those strains have different benefits and characteristics. The more you take, the more benefits you’ll enjoy.

Lastly, watch out for unnecessary sweeteners or flavors. No one needs their probiotics to taste like candy! Many probiotics, and especially probiotic gummies, contain a range of sweeteners and other ingredients that can actually impair your gut health.

With all the criteria in mind, here are the 7 best probiotic supplements available in the market, together with my reviews to help you choose the best one for you.

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1. Balance ONE Probiotic

    This is one probiotic supplement that ticks all the right boxes. It contains 12 strains of probiotics with 15 billion CFUs per tablet. These include the most-researched strains, such as Lactobacillus Plantarum, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and more.

    The Balance ONE Probiotic is also free from unnecessary fillers and allergens, such as nuts, dairy, gluten. It’s non-GMO and vegan, and it doesn’t require refrigeration, so it’s perfect for travel or keeping on your desk at work. It only contains strains that are already present in the human gut without any Soil Based Organisms (SBOs) or active yeasts.

    The most important feature of the Balance ONE probiotic is its patented delivery system known as BIO-tract. This special patented process involves compressing the probiotic bacteria into tablets. This means that Balance ONE probiotics can survive passage through the acidic conditions of the stomach without being destroyed. Studies have shown that this delivery method gets 15 times as many bacteria past stomach acid compared to regular vegetable capsules.[3]

    If you’re looking for a quality probiotic with high efficacy, Balance One is my number one choice.

    Check out Balance One Probiotic here.

    2. Renew Life Ultimate Flora Extra Care Probiotic

      This is a good probiotic that contains a wide variety of strains and a powerful dose. There are a guaranteed 30 billion live probiotic cultures, including 12 probiotic strains, which makes it a good choice for anyone seeking a starter probiotic.

      It uses delayed-release vegetable capsules which, while not as effective as the BIO-tract system, are still an effective way to deliver bacteria to the gut. The rest of the specs check out too. It has multiple strains for effective support and is free from gluten, dairy, and soy.

      Check out Renew Life Ultimate Flora Extra Care Probiotic here.

      3. Vitamin Bounty – Pro 25 Probiotic and Prebiotic

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        With 25 Billion organisms per dose, Vitamin Bounty is a good choice for a maintenance probiotic. It also has an impressive 13 probiotic strains to help support overall digestive health.

        It’s also made with a delayed-release capsule that protects the live bacteria contained within each capsule from the stomach’s harsh environment. This helps in the delivery of the bacteria to the intestines and improves efficacy. There is also a huge range of strains plus a nice bonus of Fermented Greens, which help as a prebiotic.

        Check out Vitamin Bounty – Pro 25 Probiotic and Prebiotic here.

        4. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Advanced Strength

          Again, this formula is made with the BIO-tract patented delivery method. The probiotic contents are released over an eight to then hour period, which means they’re more likely to bypass the acidic environment of the stomach and move into the intestinal tract alive. It has the added benefit of New Zealand Kiwifruit powder, which functions as a prebiotic that helps the healthy bacteria colonize and supports digestion and regularity.

          Like Balance One, Hyberbiotics Pro-15 has a guaranteed shelf life that doesn’t require refrigeration. It contains only strains that are already present in the human gut without any Soil Based Organisms (SBOs) or active yeasts.

          Check out Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Advanced Strength here.

          5. Smart Belly Adult Daily

            This formula contains a selection of 7 well-researched lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains, as well as a prebiotic. The CFU is 7 billion, which is less than ideal, but it does use the patented Bio-tract delivery system so that the majority of those probiotic bacteria will survive stomach acid. It’s allergy-free and requires no refrigeration.

            Check out Smart Belly Adult Daily here.

            6. Garden of Life Colon Daily Care 40 Billion CFU

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              This well-known brand of probiotic boasts 40 Billion CFU per capsule with 16 strains of probiotic bacteria. This includes B. lactis HN019, a strain proven to help promote bowel regularity and help relieve bloating. It also has the nice feature of a desiccant-lined bottle technology to support the shelf life of the probiotics, and it’s allergen-free.

              The only concern with this probiotic is that it does not use an effective method to deliver its bacteria past stomach acid, so it’s hard to say whether those 40 billion probiotic bacteria are guaranteed to reach the intestines.

              Check out Garden of Life Colon Daily Care 40 Billion CFU here.

              7. Align Probiotics Digestive Probiotic

                Last but not least, Align is designed to support digestive health. Its main feature is its inclusion of Bifidobacterium longum 35624, which the manufacturers claim will deliver 24/7 support to the gut.

                This particular strain isn’t often seen in other products. If you’re suffering from IBS, this could be a good choice.

                Check out Align Probiotics Digestive Probiotic here.

                The Bottom Line

                There are so many probiotic supplements on the market that it can be difficult to make an informed choice. The health supplement industry is largely unregulated and many of the cheaper products tend to be of poor quality.

                You can use the questions at the top of this article to determine if your probiotic is worth the money. If you need some further guidance, the probiotics listed in this article are all good choices.

                More About Probiotics

                Featured photo credit: Paweł Czerwiński via unsplash.com

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