Flax Seed, Constipation, Diarrhea & IBS: A Diet Incorporating Flax Seed Proves Beneficial
Persons suffering from constipation, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can alleviate those conditions by adding golden flax seed benefits to their diets. Dietary issues can be embarrassing and greatly impact your quality of life. Many times the doctor's answer involves lifelong prescriptions with risk of side effects, but there are other options! Flax seed from North American Nutrition is a natural food high in fiber, lignan and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
The unique combination of flax seed fiber and omega-3 EFAs soften the stool and promote bowel movements for relief of constipation. Flax seed cleanses the colon, and continued use may help prevent colon cancer.
Ease Constipation with Flax Seed Fiber in Your Diet
Unlike some laxatives, golden flax seed from North American Nutrition is a natural food that is gentle and non-habit forming, and supplies the body with healthy nutrients.
People suffering from diarrhea or IBS will find consuming flax seed daily will add substance to their stool after a short period of time.
North American Nutrition customers have documented that Golden flax works better than any other products they have tried. Many have also noticed other flax seed benefits such as relief from indigestion, lower cholesterol levels, faster-growing and stronger nails, relief of PMS and menopause symptoms, fewer colds, better control of blood sugars, more energy, and simply feeling better overall.
Of course, you want to phase in any increased intake in fiber, so that your body has a chance to get used to your new dietary regimen. Otherwise, you may find yourself running to the bathroom a little too frequently! And any increase in dietary fiber should always be accompanied with an increase in water consumption. You want to get six or more glasses of water a day to help the fiber pass through the intestines. Believe it or not, without enough liquids, fiber can actually cause constipation.
-Jane Reinhardt-Martin RD, LD
In addition, I'm getting valuable fiber which I couldn't tolerate previously. I use the flax on my cereal in the morning and I have no trouble placing some in a small glass of water and consuming it that way. It is also good on a salad and in so many other dishes. I now have my wife taking it along with my in laws. I heard a local nutritionist on the radio the one day and she said that flax has elements in it which make red blood cells "unstickable" thus lowering your heart attack risk. Even my gastroenterologist to whom I showed a small quantity of the flax on my last visit said that he is amazed at "How doggone good you are doing."
Anyway, I'm giving this testimonial to you as a gift to use on your website in return for the "gift" you have given me: actually feeling good after so many years of frustration. I hope others who read this will try the product and stick with it awhile.........I'm sure it will help others like it has helped me. Again Greg, thank you so much for your kind advice and recommendation in September of 2002."
Very truly.........Gerald Dimitri
Constipation: How fiber helps
Who and why
At one time or another almost everyone gets constipated. In most cases, it lasts for a short time and is not serious. When you understand what causes constipation, you can take steps to prevent it.
According to the 1991 National Health Interview Survey, about 4 1/2 million people in the United States say they are constipated most or all of the time. Those reporting constipation most often are women, children, and adults age 65 and over. Pregnant women also complain of constipation, and it is a common problem following childbirth or surgery.
Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint in the United States, resulting in about 2 million annual visits to the doctor. However, most people treat themselves without seeking medical help, as is evident from the $725 million Americans spend on laxatives each year.
What Causes Constipation?
The hard and dry stools of constipation occur when the colon absorbs too much water. This happens because the colon's muscle contractions are slow or sluggish, causing the stool to move through the colon too slowly.
Common Causes of Constipation
The importance of diet
Fiber--soluble and insoluble--is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest. Soluble fiber dissolves easily in water and takes on a soft, gel-like texture in the intestines. Insoluble fiber passes almost unchanged through the intestines. The bulk and soft texture of fiber help prevent hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.
An easy solution: Flax seed added to diet
Two tablespoons of flax seed stirred into a glass of boiling water will thicken up quickly and have the consistency of a pudding. To use flax as a laxative, drink the mixture before it thickens the thickening will occur in the stomach. The unbroken flax seed, protected by the shell, will pass through the digestive system without breaking down.
For a persons body to digest flax seeds and benefit for their many nutritional qualities, including the oils, the shell or hull must be broken.
The mucilage formed by flax can serve another important purpose: the repair of damage caused by taking massive doses of antibiotics. The friendly bacteria in a persons intestines are destroyed in large quantities if he or she takes antibiotics, birth control pills, or other drugs, especially for a prolonged period. Chronic constipation may develop. Flax mucilage assists intestinal flora in re-establishing itself.
Inadequate and incorrect elements in diets
Scientists have found that both the soluble and insoluble types of fiber in flax seed are beneficial. Two-thirds of the fiber in flax is insoluble, consisting of cellulose and lignin. This fiber cleans out the intestines, reducing bowel transit time, therefore helping a person to avoid constipation. The other one-third (soluble) plays an important role in reducing serum cholesterol levels and helps to regulate blood glucose levels. This is especially good news for persons afflicted with diabetes.
Both children and adults eat too many refined and processed foods in which the natural fiber is removed.
A low-fiber diet also plays a key role in constipation among older adults. They often lack interest in eating and may choose fast foods low in fiber. In addition, loss of teeth may force older people to eat soft foods that are processed and low in fiber.
Not Enough Liquids
Lack of Exercise
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Some people with IBS have constipation; others have diarrhea; and some people experience both. Sometimes the person with IBS experiences cramps and has an urge to move the bowels but cannot do so.
Through the years, IBS has been called by many names--colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, spastic bowel, and functional bowel disease. Most of these terms are inaccurate. Colitis, for instance, means inflammation of the large intestine (colon). IBS, however, does not cause inflammation and should not be confused with another disorder, ulcerative colitis.
The cause of IBS is not known, and as yet there is no cure. Doctors call it a functional disorder because there is no sign of disease when the colon is examined. IBS causes a great deal of discomfort and distress, but it does not cause permanent harm to the intestines and does not lead to intestinal bleeding of the bowel or to a serious disease such as cancer. Often IBS is just a mild annoyance, but for some people it can be disabling.
High-fiber diets keep the colon mildly distended, which may help to prevent spasms from developing.
With IBS, the nerves and muscles in the bowel are extra-sensitive. For example, the muscles may contract too much when you eat. These contractions can cause cramping and diarrhea during or shortly after a meal. Or the nerves can be overly sensitive to the stretching of the bowel (because of gas, for example).
Some people with IBS, also known as spastic colon, have spasms in the colon that affect bowel movements. Although IBS can produce lifelong symptoms, it is not a life-threatening condition.
IBS can be painful and it can worsen with stress, but doctors emphasize that it does not damage the bowel or cause any other diseases.
Diarrhea: What is it?
Diarrhea--loose, watery stools occurring more than three times in one day--is a common problem that usually lasts a day or two and goes away on its own without any special treatment. However, prolonged diarrhea can be a sign of other problems.
Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which means the body lacks enough fluid to function properly. Dehydration is particularly dangerous in children and the elderly, and it must be treated promptly to avoid serious health problems. Dehydration is discussed below.
People of all ages can get diarrhea. The average adult has a bout of diarrhea about four times a year.
What Causes Diarrhea?
Some people develop diarrhea after stomach surgery or removal of the gall bladder. The reason may be a change in how quickly food moves through the digestive system after stomach surgery or an increase in bile in the colon that can occur after gallbladder surgery. In many cases, the cause of diarrhea cannot be found. As long as diarrhea goes away on its own, an extensive search for the cause is not usually necessary.
People who visit foreign countries are at risk for traveler's diarrhea, which is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or, sometimes, parasites. Traveler's diarrhea is a particular problem for people visiting developing countries. Visitors to the United States, Canada, most European countries, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand do not face much risk for traveler's diarrhea.
What Are the Symptoms?
Diarrhea can be either acute or chronic. The acute form, which lasts less than 3 weeks, is usually related to a bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection. Chronic diarrhea lasts more than 3 weeks and is usually related to functional disorders like irritable bowel syndrome or diseases like celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease.
How and why does flax seed work so well?
For persons with chronic diarrhea or IBS, flax seed will add substance to their stool.
Articles on constipation, diarrhea and IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis
|NOTE: Information presented here does not replace seeking advice from your physician.