Good for the Mayo Clinic. Their researchers recently discovered a new drug that solves the uncomfortable and often painful problem of constipation. This drug could spell relief for some of the nearly 30 million people in our country alone who are constipated. It’s called A3309 now. But I expect this drug will get a real name when it becomes available.
In a clinical trial, A3309 relieved constipation in a natural way by limiting the amount of bile acids your body recycles in the small intestines. This allows more bile acids to make their way into the large intestines where they can soften the stools and move them through the colon more quickly.
A Phase II, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that A3309 relieved constipation. Yes, like other drugs, there were side effects. These included abdominal discomfort and pain. But it worked.
So if you’re one of the millions of bound-up Americans, you can wait for this drug – and its side effects – if you want. But there’s no need to wait. There’s a natural, inexpensive, over-the-counter solution you can take instead.
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In fact, the Mayo Clinic has numerous natural remedies posted on its website (www.mayoclinic.com). The website says: “In most cases, simple changes in your diet and lifestyle can help relieve symptoms and manage constipation. Less often, you may need medical treatment.” These changes have no side effects, either.
Their suggestions include a high fiber diet, plenty of liquids, and exercise. To these I would add relaxing your intestines with a gentle, circular tummy massage and taking magnesium to bowel tolerance.
Magnesium deficiency is often the culprit when it comes to constipation. And a magnesium deficiency can occur when you take too much calcium. Remember that calcium causes muscles to contract and magnesium causes them to relax. Your intestines are muscles. A diet high in dairy (high calcium) and low in whole grains, beans, and leafy vegetables (high magnesium) can lead to a magnesium deficiency — which is a common occurrence.
Magnesium is a simple, safe solution for constipation in many people. Begin by taking 200 mg/day and increase to bowel tolerance up to 1,000 mg/day. It does have one side effect you need to watch for. It’s diarrhea. But it goes away as soon as you reduce the dose. To avoid it, take only as much as your body needs to have normal bowel movements. And make a few lifestyle changes like those suggested on the Mayo Clinic’s website. You may find that by the time A3309 becomes available, your constipation is just a fading memory.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
ScienceDaily, May 10, 2011.