All Systems Go: Constipation Relief

By Romy Block M.D. and Arielle Levitan M.D.

Feeimagestomach:byRobertMcDonald/abdominal bloating/constipationling backed up, bloated and constipated?

Guess what? You are not alone. This is not just your grandmother’s problem. Constipation is something many people suffer from – young and old. In fact, just recently we saw a college student who complained that she was only moving her bowels once per week. Yes, you read that right – once per week. Not surprisingly, in the days in between, she felt bloated, uncomfortable and sluggish. She had on occasion used over the counter stimulant laxatives for constipation relief, but felt they were “hard on her system” and worked unpredictably (not so convenient when you are sitting in class!).

If you experience these symptoms, you should of course check with your own doctor to rule out underlying problems.

Warning signs of a more serious problem can include a sudden change in your bowel habits, blood in your stool, unexplained weight loss and persistent abdominal pain. Once we have ruled out underlying medical conditions, we can start to treat the symptoms of chronic constipation or what can be a form of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The college student with these symptoms needed help in several areas.

First, we had to improve her hydration status. She was not consuming enough fluids every day. We added a regimen of drinking 8oz of water four times daily to her usual routine to aid in her constipation relief.

She also was not exercising in any meaningful way. Believe it or not, getting your whole body moving also helps get your GI tract moving. Luckily it’s usually not at the same time!

What other measures can be taken for long term constipation prevention and relief?

Once these simple modifications were in place our patient felt better, but still was troubled by some mild symptoms. At that point, we introduced a high fiber diet for additional constipation relief. She started eating oat bran daily for breakfast and when unable to take in 25 grams of fiber per day, she supplemented with a fiber powder (we recommend Benefiber® or Citrucel® powders, not capsules, with lots of water!). For maintenance, a constipation relief regimen can also include crushed Flax Seed (not whole) such as Bob’s Red Mill®, two tablespoons twice daily, sprinkled in food (delicious in yogurt or a salad, unnoticeable in baked goods).

Is it true that some vitamins can contribute to constipation?

Yes, some vitamins cause constipation! Elemental vitamins such as Iron and Calcium can be binding and contribute to slowing down the GI tract. However, the proper forms of these nutrients, such as Iron in the form Carbonyl and Calcium carbonate are much less likely to cause GI distress. If the proper nutrients are balanced appropriately in the right combination, constipation is much less likely a problem. A custom vitamin is a great way to get exact nutrients you need based on your symptoms, including vitamins for constipation and GI health.

What vitamins can help with constipation?

It turns out there are vitamins to take for constipation. In addition to the diet and exercise suggestions, adding some vitamins and minerals also may be helpful in constipation relief. Magnesium is a natural form of a laxative. It helps stimulate your GI tract to operate smoothly. Magnesium channels are essential in making cells cause muscle contractions and the GI tract is a muscle too! (Click here to read more about magnesium and its benefits). Many of us can benefit from a little more magnesium in our diet (Click here to take our vitamin survey and get a personalized vitamin to meet your needs).

After adjusting her diet and adding magnesium, our patient made great progress. She’s like a new women. Sticking to this regimen she feels better, more energized–and in turn this has motivated her to exercise more. She even lost a few pounds! So, if you’re feeling constipated and out of sorts, take our vitamin survey to Find Your Vous® and get a custom vitamin suited to your needs. See if a little magnesium as a part of your all in one vitamin can help ease the way to constipation relief.


Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three active adolescent boys. Arielle Levitan is a Doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health.  She is a mother of three teen agers. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that people often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each person is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients.  After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take,  Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide people everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs. They are authors of the award winning The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health (She Writes Press, 2015). Take your vitamin survey now to get exactly the right vitamins for your needs.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice. The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment. You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.

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