Some supplements can cause constipation and digestive concerns like bloating, stomach cramps, and gas. However, other vitamins and minerals are associated with healthy digestion and increased regularity.
Vitamins and minerals play a major role in oodles of bodily functions. Psst, that includes digestion. While some dietary supplements can benefit digestive health, others can cause constipation or make it worse.
Here’s which vitamins might be behind your behind problems, plus which supplements can help you get your poop back on track.
Different types of iron can have different effects on your tummy. According to one review, ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, and ferrous gluconate are associated with higher rates of gastrointestinal (GI) issues compared to other forms of iron.
In addition to constipation, iron supplements may also cause:
According to a 2019 study, calcium carbonate can cause constipation and bloating. Taking too many calcium supplements may also trigger gas and bloating. However, we def need more research to show the full effects.
PSA: Try to get the bulk of your calcium from your diet. This might reduce your risk of constipation compared to taking calcium supplements.
Berberine is a yellow, bitter-tasting chemical that comes from certain plants like tree turmeric, goldthread, and goldenseal. Some peeps take it as a supplement for things like high blood sugar and high blood lipid levels.
While berberine is generally safe to take in low amounts, higher doses have been linked to:
- abdominal bloating
FYI: The typical recommended dose of berberine is 250 to 500 milligrams 2 or 3 times a day, according the NIH. Just remember to talk with a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your supplement regime.
Surprise! Fiber is often touted as a constipation cure-all. But alas, too much fiber or increasing your fiber intake too quickly can cause:
- upset stomach
- stomach cramps
- feeling too full or loss of appetite
Keep in mind, the type of fiber you eat can also count for a lot. Certain types of fiber (i.e., finely ground wheat bran or wheat dextrin) might dry out your poop and make it harder to pass a poo.
Now that you know what stuff might cause constipation, here are some options that might help you get relief.
- Magnesium. Studies show that supplementing with certain types of magnesium — like magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide — may help improve constipation.
- Probiotics. Some studies show that certain strains of probiotics may be effective for improving constipation symptoms. Just keep in mind that we need more research to show which strains work best.
- Fiber supplements. Certain fiber supplements may be helpful for improving symptoms of constipation. Psyllium supplements may help increase the water content of your poop. This can make your trips to the porcelain throne more relaxed.
Some studies show certain medications and other supplements can also help improve constipation symptoms. This includes:
Reminder: You should talk with your healthcare professional before taking any supplement for constipation.
Here are some other top-notch tips to keep your poo schedule on fleek.
- Follow a healthy diet. A high fiber diet can help keep your stool soft and can reduce your risk of constipation. Some great food choices include leafy greens, grains, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to constipation. So, make sure you drink plenty of water daily.
- Increase activity levels. Staying active can help reduce your risk of a number of health conditions including chronic constipation. Studies show that peeps who lead sedentary lifestyles are more likely to experience chronic constipation.
- Address underlying medical conditions. Some constipation causes are out of your control. For example, conditions that affect the colon or rectum can cause constipation. If you think an underlying condition is to blame, talk with a healthcare professional. They can help you get to the bottom of things.
- Enjoy a healthy lifestyle. You can help reduce your risk of constipation if you maintain a healthy body weight, don’t smoke, and avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
Occasional constipation is common and (generally) isn’t a big deal. However, chronic constipation can be a cause for concern. Although things like diet and lifestyle could contribute to constipation, constipation can also be a symptom of an underlying condition.
Talk with a healthcare pro if you’re constipated on the reg. They can rule out potential underlying causes of your constipation and can give you tips on how to manage it.
Certain supplements — like certain forms of iron, fiber, calcium, or berberine — can cause constipation or make it worse. Other supplements can have the opposite effect and help keep your poop schedule regular.
If you’re not sure what’s causing your constipation, talk with your doctor or a healthcare professional so you can undergo appropriate testing and get the right care.