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Comparing Occasional Constipation Remedies

Compare constipation remedies and you will find a wide, and confusing, range of options. Constipation remedies can be stimulants, bulk forming agents, stool softeners, osmotics or hyperosmotics. Each is generally effective for overnight constipation relief. There are differences in how they work, recommended length of time of use and side effects. Most are not recommended for daily intake.

Food naturally moves through the digestive system at a regular pace until it is eliminated from the body as waste. Most people void waste multiple times each week, but sometimes this process gets interrupted due to changes in lifestyle, diet or use of certain medications. Most constipation remedies are effective for this occasional irregularity.

Comparing the mechanisms behind each class of constipation remedy shows the variety of options available. Stimulants, such as Natural Moves®, target the nerves and muscles associated with the large intestine, inducing them to void the contents of the colon. If taken for a long time, stimulant laxatives may cause dependency. Bulk forming agents are less harsh than stimulants. Metamucil® and Fiber Choice® use fiber as a bulk forming agent. When bulk forming agents reach the colon, they contribute to the size of the waste there. The colon responds to this increased volume by contracting to eliminate the waste. Care must be taken to drink plenty of water with any bulk forming agent. If they are taken with insufficient water, bulk forming agents can actually make constipation worse.

Stool softeners, like castor oil, make the stool moister. This extra fluid makes the waste in the colon softer. The softer stool passes out of the colon more easily. Magnesium or Magnesia products are osmotics. Osmotics draw water into the stool from the surrounding tissues through osmosis. The additional water makes the stool suppler so that it can readily move out of the body.

New Technology: Hyperosmotics

Hyperosmotics are very effective in bringing water to the waste through osmosis. Unlike regular osmotics, hyperosmotics such as H2Go can bind sufficient quantities of water molecules to the stool  using a  lower concentration of the solute. The geometry of H2Go particles maximizes the surface  area of magnesium that is available to hold onto water molecules. Because each magnesium atom can bind with more water molecules, it possible for H2Go to work with a much lower intake of magnesium compared to other constipation remedies. H2Go can also be used to maintain regularity without the high dependency risk of traditional laxatives. Recommended intake is 2 tablets daily.*

For occasional constipation, most any laxative can provide the necessary benefit. Some are gentler on the system than others. One can be used at low intake daily to maintain regularity. These are all  important factors as you compare constipation remedies.


Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch and James F. Balch

The Mayo Clinic

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