Constipation is mostly relieved by taking dietary fibers or over-the-counter prescriptions by most people. But some choose supplements to relieve constipation.
What Causes Constipation?
Constipation is a common medical problem and is found to affect 2.5 million people in the United States every year.(1)
Apart from over-the-counter medication, there are certain foods such as vegetables, whole grains, bran, and fruits that can help in providing relief from constipation.
There are also some vitamins and minerals that can help relieve constipation.
6 Supplements to Relieve Constipation
It was found that these children had a low intake of dietary fiber, fruits, and plant foods. Lack of fiber in the diet also leads to constipation. Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber as well as vitamin C.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the upper limit of vitamin C for most adults is 2000mg. The upper limit for children is 1800mg depending on their age.(3)
It is never recommended to increase the intake of vitamin C to pass stool. But can be taken in the required amount daily to prevent constipation.
There is a strong association between chronic constipation and vitamin D deficiency.(4)
The research was done on people with intestinal disorders that can cause constipation found that the participants had low vitamin D levels. But this does not suggest vitamin D deficiency causes constipation or increasing vitamin D intake would relieve it.
Vitamin B5 is also known as pantothenic acid. Old research found a derivative of vitamin B5 i.e. dexpanthenol may help ease constipation.(5) It stimulates the muscle contraction of the digestive system and helps the stool move through the bowel with ease.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B5 for most adults is 5mg per day. Pregnant females can increase it to 6mg while a breastfeeding female should get 7 mg daily.(6)
For children below 18 years, vitamin B5 intake should be 1.7mg to 5mg per day.
Folic acid is also commonly known as folate or vitamin B9. It eases constipation by stimulating the formation of digestive acids.
An increase in digestive acids speeds up digestion and movement of stool through the colon.
Foods rich in folate include:
- Black-eyes peas
- Fortified cereals
- Fortified rice
Mostly folic acid can be obtained from the diet, but sometimes you need to supplement it as well.
The upper limit of this vitamin for adults is 400 mg per day.(7)
Children between 1 to 18 years can take up to 150-400mcg daily depending on their age.
Vitamin b12 deficiency can lead to constipation and by increasing its intake you can overcome it.
Eating vitamin B12 rich food such as beef liver, salmon, tuna fish, and trout can help overcome the deficiency.
2.4 mcg is the recommended intake of vitamin B12 for adults. For children up to the age of 18 years, it is between 0.4 to 2.4 mcg.
Vitamin B1 or thiamine improves digestion. If its levels are low, digestion slows down and can lead to constipation.
Women should consume 1.1 mg of thiamine daily and men should consume 1.2 mg daily.(8)
Children between 1-18 years should get 0.5 and 1 mg of vitamin B1 daily depending on their age.
Vitamins to Avoid in Case of Constipation
Vitamins and minerals help people with constipation but there are a few of them that might make it worse.
Calcium helps in maintaining strong bones and carrying out the functions of the heart, brain, and other body systems.
It can be found in dairy products, broccoli, kale, fortified cereals, and fish with soft bones.
Excess of calcium can lead to constipation and this excess can never be from food alone. People can consume excess calcium in the form of supplements.
Iron is a mineral that can lead to digestive troubles.
To reduce constipation, people can take it in small doses and later increase the dose gradually.
Constipation can happen to anyone and can also get cleared up in a few days. It is important to consult a doctor to get suggestions on whether the supplement intake would correct it. Chronic constipation can lead to complications that include a tear in rectal tissue and hemorrhoids.
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