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Question:
Which supplements can help treat constipation?

Answer:
A number of supplements may be helpful in treating or preventing constipation. Fiber supplements, such as psyllium and glucomannan (a water-soluble fiber) may help to relieve constipation (Note: there is a safety concern when using glucomannan). Ground flaxseed, another source of fiber, may also be helpful. (See ConsumerLab.com's Fiber Supplements Webinar for more information about these supplements for constipation as well as for other uses.)

A specific probiotic product was found to significantly increase the number of bowel movements per week in people with chronic constipation. (Other strains have been found to be helpful for constipation associated with IBS).

 Magnesium and aloe vera juice (with latex) can help to relieve constipation due to their laxative effects (Note: There are safety concerns with aloe latex -- see the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Aloe Vera Review before using).

See the Encyclopedia article about Constipation for information about other proposed treatments.

Be aware that constipation may be a side-effect of certain supplements, especially iron, and to a lesser degree, calcium (see the "ConsumerTips" sections of the respective ConsumerLab.com Reviews for more about forms of these minerals which may be less likely to have this effect). Other supplements reported to cause constipation, although less frequently, include nattokinase, chlorella, NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) and beta-sitosterol.

Excessive intake of vitamin D as a supplement can cause hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood) with symptoms including constipation.

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This CL Answer initially posted on 7/20/2016. Last updated 7/26/2017.

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