Bowel problems, especially constipation, are perhaps the most important health complaint in the modern world.  Pathologists report that the colon is usually the most diseased organ on routine autopsies of even healthy people who die of accidental causes.  Constipation is important not only because it is unpleasant, but more importantly because it sets the stage for more serious bowel diseases in the future, and for more disease everywhere in the body. Fortunately, even stubborn constipation is usually easy to correct using only natural methods.




At least half the large bowel (about 1 foot long) must empty every day. The colon is about two feet long or more, in most people.  The ascending colon may be liquid and its contents are not ready for evacuation, so that is why about half should be ready for evacuation daily.  It does not matter if this occurs in one, two or more bowel movements during the day.



Adults. The most important reasons for their constipation, in roughly descending order, include:

Drinking too little water and/or the wrong kinds of water. we recommend only spring water as one’s long-term drinking water.  Distilled is okay but only for several months. Carbon-filtered tap water is next best. Avoid all others. To read more about water for drinking, and which is best click here!


 Refined foods in the diet. hese include white sugar, white flour, white rice and a host of other poor quality, low-fiber, highly processed foods.

Chemicals added to most refined and prepared food items. These include thousands of food additives.  Among the worst, for some individuals are artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or Equal, Splenda and the others.  They can confuse the body into thinking the person has eaten a sweet meal when it is not true.

Lack of adequate fiber in some cases. Good foods for fiber are vegetables, grains and fruits.

Poor eating habits.  These include eating too fast, eating while standing up, eating on the run or in the car and not resting at least 30 minutes after all large meals.

Overeating may be the worst bad habit.  One would think this would “push everything through”.  The opposite happens.  The body must waste energy dealing with the extra food and with many toxins generated by overeating beyond the digestive capacity.  This actually slows bowel transit time significantly.

Drug use, especially antibiotics that damage the normal bowel flora. Others, however, act as diuretics such as some blood pressure pills.  These may remove too much water from the stool.

Others relax the bowel too much such as propranolol. Others paralyze the bowel a little, such as anti-depressants and narcotics.  Others affect the nervous innervation to the bowel.  Still others may deplete magnesium, causing constipation.

Improper bowel flora and chronic viral, fungal or other infections. These are common, though most people are unaware of them.  The intestinal tract is home to millions of yeasts and bacteria. The flora must be correct.


Not eating enough food. This mainly affects elderly people who have a poor appetite or trouble chewing, perhaps.




Copper and yeast infections. Copper toxicity or low zinc levels almost always lead to yeast infections in the colon and elsewhere.  This can be a cause of constipation and many other bowel symptoms. Copper is found in some foods, particularly grains and beans.  It also tends to increase in the body with the use of birth control pills, copper IUDs and if one becomes very stressed. Copper also rises before the menstrual period, causing problems for many young women.  To read more about copper, see Copper Toxicity Syndrome on this website.


Iron is extremely constipating. Iron from vitamin pills, white flour products enriched with iron, and even too much red meat, is constipating in the extreme.  This has to do with its oxidant qualities, perhaps. For more information on the problems with iron, read Chronic Iron Toxicity.


Magnesium deficiency contributes to constipation.  Magnesium can act as an osmotic laxative.  This means it can hold water in the intestines.

Magnesium is deficient in most people as it is not found in refined or processed foods in most cases.


Calcium is constipating. Calcium tends to be constipating in most instances, though not all.  Calcium should be balanced with magnesium in foods and in supplemental products as well.  One may have to vary the ratio between calcium and magnesium in order not to upset bowel action.


Commonly, people eat too much dairy that is rich in calcium but lacks magnesium to balance it.  Other common sources include calcium tablets, liquids and some multivitamins that are not balanced with magnesium.


Aluminum can be very constipating. Aluminum is a toxic metal.  However, it is widely used in antacid products such as Maalox, Mylanta, Ryopan, Gaviscon and perhaps 20 other antacids sold mostly without a prescription.  It is also found in some health food products such as Bentonite, Montmorillinite and Azomite.


A little aluminum (not enough to cause constipation) is also found in other products such as anti-perspirants, cosmetics and many others.  It is also added to most municipal drinking water supplies and it is often added to common table salt to prevent caking of the salt.  Use sea salt and drink spring or distilled water only to reduce your aluminum exposure from these common sources.


Manganese may also be constipating in some people. Common sources are gasoline fumes, some well water and occasionally occupational exposure. Some people take excessive manganese in mineral supplements.


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