Steel Magnesiums

To put it politely, I’m still have trouble clearing the expressway of traffic.
[Warning: Candid talk about pooping follows – you’ve been warned.]
Chronic constipation has alway plagued me for my entire life. Since moving to a LCHF type of diet, things have greatly improved but haven’t improved to the point of my liking. I would like to get pass this and move on (pun?) but last week I had reached my limit on the things I have tried to do right. I had increased my fiber – one of the big list items doctors tell you to do right off the bat. I get an excellent amount of soluble and insoluble fiber from the vegetables and fruit I eat throughout the day. I eat a large salad almost every night, too. I’ve reduced my cheese intake, even though I’m skeptical about this claim either way. I’ve heard both arguments and both sound reasonable but I cut back anyway and the situation has improved. A few months ago, I read that increasing my salt intake would help, especially since I’ve cut out most processed foods. I wasn’t getting enough sodium, so I’ve put salt back on my diet through my servings of salted nuts and sprinkles on my eggs and cooked vegetables. That also improved the situation. Finally, exercise. Sit-ups for the abdominal muscles and regular movement seemed to make it better. Yet, I’m still not as regular as I want to be.
That left me with a conundrum. What else could I do? I really didn’t want to turn to “alternative” medicine or as I like to call it “Voodoo”. I wanted to stay away from new age cures and folksy remedies. I needed science to help out.
I came across a few articles about magnesium citrate. For those of you who haven’t tried the drink before a surgery, it is 100% effective in clearing out everything in your gut. It does this safely by drawing water back into the intestines, resulting into a strong flush.
Two months ago I was really bound up while on vacation. I decided to try the drink. It is usually available at drug stores in the laxative aisle. It looks like a small generic soda bottle. Sometimes it comes in flavors, like cherry or grape, but I choose the lemon-lime flavor. I picked a day that we weren’t doing anything – my wife was had a lung infection and was out of commission anyway. That was a good thing. I drank the entire bottle, as instructed on the directions, and followed it with water. Unfortunately, I excavated the blockage before the magnesium citrate took effect. Four hours later, I was on the crapper for the rest of the night – an unstoppable force, and a large embarrassment for my grandparents-in-laws’ bathroom. Thank goodness the toilet actually flushed. Have you seen the movie “Dumb and Dumber”?
So it does work – with ruthless efficiency. Then I read an article about taking Magnesium citrate as a supplement. If you’ve been following this blog, you might already know my feelings about supplements. To say I loathe them is an understatement. But, I was desperate – and isn’t how most people turn to film flam cures?
Magnesium citrate comes in gel-caps. The brand I bought – Nature Made, is approximately 125mg per cap, with the suggested dose at 250mg at two caps. The NIH reports recommends a safe upper limit dose under 420mg for my age group. I’ve been taking two caps before bed for the last week, and things – once again – have improved, but not improved enough. Since excess magnesium is dumped through the urine, and a maximum dose will simply give anyone “loose stools” (accidental overdosing is almost impossible) the trick is for me to up the dose until I get a good result without being “too loose”.
Tonight I will take an additional cap to raise the dose to 375mg. I hope it doesn’t go higher than that – the bottle was about twelve bucks for a thirty day supply (60 caps). Three caps a night will reduce that supply to twenty days, and four a night will give me fifteen days – a high price to pay for pooping right. (Another supplement, magnesium oxide, is far cheaper, but from what I read, has horrible absorption. Although, I’m unclear on whether or not the absorption in the intestine hinders or promotes the supplement as a laxative.)
And if the situation does improve, what then? Am I doomed to take these pills for the rest of my life?
Again, I’m sorry for being frank, but I grew up in an environment and era where talking openly about bowel movements was taboo. I’m putting this up here in case someone shares a similar dilemma. Because, like my LCHF diet, I wish someone would have told me these things when I was younger. I hated prune juice.

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About Travis Estrella

Polymedia Artist, Life Student, Humanist, Science Advocate, Whackjob Magnet, and Malarkey Detective.

3 responses to “Steel Magnesiums”

  1. WRRJourney says :

    Perhaps you need more healthy bacteria in your life (or digestive track). Do you eat yogurt?

    • Travis Estrella says :

      I have a hard time finding natural unflavored yogurt with no sugar added. Everything in the yogurt aisle at my grocery store is flavored candy. The time and money spent finding the good stuff isn’t worth my focus.
      As for more bacteria in my gut and probiotics in general, my views on that are pretty clear. I’m not convinced that I need it based on the fact that I produce a healthy amount of gas throughout the day (bacteria byproduct), I am not on any antibiotic thereby not at risk of artificially depleting my bacterial supply, and I’m not convinced that adding a small amount of a certain type of bacteria could significantly change the community of a few million types of other good bacteria. And since there hasn’t been any long term studies on using these supplements, I just don’t feel safe using them.

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