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Flax Seed, Constipation, Diarrhea & IBS

Persons suffering from constipation, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) by adding flax seed 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! Nature’s Gem flax seed from North American Nutrition is a natural food that contains fiber, lignan and omega-3 essential fatty acids.

The unique combination of flax seed fiber and omega-3 EFA’s soften the stool and promote bowel movements for relief of constipation.

Ease Constipation with Flax Seed Fiber in Your Diet

Unlike some laxatives, flax seed from North American Nutrition is a natural fiber food that is gentle and non-habit forming, and also supplies the body with healthy nutrients.

People suffering from diarrhea or IBS find consuming flax seed daily adds substance to their stool after a short period of time.

North American Nutrition customers have expressed to us that flaxseed works better for them 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 and hair, 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
An excerpt from her book FLAX Your Way to Better Health



"When I called you in September 2002, I had no idea what a change my health and quality of life were about to take. I had read somewhere that flaxseed helped with digestive problems. I am a 53 year old man in good health. I have suffered from Crohn's disease, specifically ileitis, for some 25 years. For all these years, I had rarely had a day where I felt "normal." Each day, no matter how I watched my diet, I suffered from gas, bloating, 3-4 bowel movements and a general feeling of nausea. If you remember, I asked you if you thought adding your golden flax to my diet might help. You were very encouraging and suggested I try the product. I did and what a difference it has made. Little by little, I have increased my consumption to a little more than 2 scoops per day. It took a short period for my body to adjust to the additional fiber. But now, Greg, I feel so much better. I would say that on 8 out of 10 days I actually feel GOOD. No more bloating, regular bowel movements which are not spastic like they used to be and a general feeling of being able to go somewhere and not worry about where the nearest bathroom is. Your flax has also eliminated the diarrhea.
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

Inadequate fiber in diet is a principal cause of constipation, which is generally diagnosed if bowel movements occur less frequently than three times per week. While accompanied by discomfort, constipation is not a disease. A product such as North American Nutrition’s Nature’s Gem flax seed may help those afflicted. The natural dietary fiber in flax seed is not digested in the stomach, passing instead to the large intestine (colon), where it acts like a sponge drawing water to the stool and increasing the number of bacteria in the colon. Both contribute to a larger, softer and easier-to-pass stool. Experts also recommend plenty of water, regular exercise, and avoidance of long-term use of over-the-counter laxatives.
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, such as adding fiber rich foods to the daily diet.

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.

The importance of diet

The most common cause of constipation is a diet too low in fiber (found in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains) and too high in fats (in cheese, eggs, and meats). People who eat plenty of fiber rich foods are less likely to become constipated.

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 can be difficult to pass.

An easy solution: Flax seed added to diet

The gelatinous liquid created via the process is termed mucilage. The hard shell that makes up 12 percent of the seed absorbs moisture quickly and expands into a gel as soon as it comes into contact with liquid.
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 person’s body to digest flax seeds and benefit for their many nutritional qualities, including the oils, the shell or hull must be broken.

Inadequate and incorrect elements in diets

Unfortunately, Americans on the average ingest only about 5 to 20 grams of fiber daily, short of the 20 to 35 grams recommended by the American Dietetic Association.

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

Water and juice are essential liquids, adding fluid to the colon and bulk to stools, making bowel movements softer and easier to pass. People who have problems with constipation should drink enough of these liquids every day, about eight 8-ounce glasses. Other liquids, like coffee and soft drinks, which contain caffeine seem to have a dehydrating effect.

Lack of Exercise

Lack of exercise can lead to constipation, although doctors do not know precisely why. For example, constipation often occurs after an accident or during an illness when one must stay in bed and cannot exercise.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a problem that affects mainly the bowel, which is also called the large intestine. The bowel is the part of the digestive system that makes and stores stool. The word syndrome means a group of symptoms. IBS is a syndrome because it can cause several symptoms. For example, IBS causes cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.

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.
The cause of IBS is not known, and as of yet there is no cure.

How and why does flax seed work so well?

Flaxseed works in an excellent manner for individuals suffering from common constipation or diarrhea because it moves thorough the digestive tract quickly and results in softer stools. Doctors and Nutritionists say it is important to drink water directly after consuming flax seed since it absorbs 10 to 14 times its weight in liquid. Flax seed aids in cleansing the colon and continued usage may help avoid colon cancer.
Constipation, diarrhea and IBS information in this article are from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Statements regarding this dietary supplement have not been evaluated by the FDA. Content on this site is for reference purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for advice given by a physician, pharmacist, or healthcare professional.