Vitamin C is a simple yet effective remedy for constipation. The purpose of this article is to present a simple protocol that may very well bring constipation relief to you.
As we will see further down, people are massively deficient in vitamin C today due to increasing levels of oxidative stress and malnutrition. So at a minimum, taking a daily maintenance dose of vitamin C makes sense.
Next, we will see that a higher dosage has a laxative effect. We will discuss toxicity issues too, because not all vitamins are created equal when it comes to safe dosage, and one always has to be careful. Based on what we know today, vitamin C has no known toxicity, which makes it a safe constipation remedy.
Finally, we will outline a simple protocol to bring relief to your current constipation crisis, which will allow you to take a step back and think of a longer term solution.
Vitamin C plays multiple critical roles in physiology, and I am not going to go through those. Other websites have done a great job of explaining that aspect already.
The one thing I will tell you is this: in my experience as a naturopath, people show clear vitamin C deficiencies.
Above all, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It protects our cells against the damages of oxidative stress. Modern life is bringing levels of oxidative stress to new heights. Pollution, chemicals we ingest or put on our skin, certain foods we ingest (sugars in particular) all lead to oxidative stress.
Vitamin C buffers this oxidative stress and helps us to counter its effects. This is why our need for vitamin C has increased tremendously. Needless to say, the sources of natural vitamin C from foods (fruits and vegetables for instance) has gone down due to industrial farming.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin C from government guidelines is ridiculously low. Sure, a total of 90 mg per day will prevent scurvy. But it will not lead to optimal health and longevity.
I personally like to take a supplement of 500 mg per day in the spring and summer, and 1000 mg per day in the winter in two divided doses when infections are more likely. When I have an infection to fight, I take 2000 mg per day in 4 divided doses.
How much you should take as a maintenance dose depends on your personal situation. I would say 500 mg to 1000 mg per day is pretty safe and useful for everyone.
There are no known cases of toxicity in humans, which makes vitamin C a safe remedy for constipation. The only data we have is toxicity in rats, which represents a dose of 1.2% of their body weight.
If you are an adult female and you weigh 130 lbs for instance, you would need to take 700 grams of vitamin C to reach that level, which is absolutely unheard of. Remember that the typical vitamin C supplement contains 0.5 grams (500 mg). So you would need to take 1400 of those pills!
There are some concerns for people with kidney diseases (lack of kidney function), as vitamin C adds an additional excretion burden on your kidneys. People with disorders of iron metabolism should also be careful, as vitamin C enhances iron absorption and could lead to iron overload.
For most of us though, the constipation protocol outlined below should not present any health concerns. Check with your doctor if you have any doubts.
The body does not store vitamin C above and beyond its daily needs. The excess remaining in your gut unabsorbed modifies the fluid exchanges taking place there. This translates into a laxative effect. This is what we are looking for.
The bowel-moving dose will of course depends upon your physiological needs. If you do not consume a good portion of your meals as fresh vegetables and fruits for instance (which in itself is a cause of constipation), your body will absorb a portion of the dose you take for its own functioning (and that portion will not participate in the laxative effect).
Overall, the bowel-moving dose should be in the 2000 mg to 4000 mg range for most people, staying below the 6000 mg if you can.
If you have a case of mild to moderate constipation :
If you have a severe case of constipation :
Of course, this is a temporary remedy for constipation, the long term one being making adjustments to your nutrition and lifestyle.
You may also want to check the list of other natural constipation remedies, and combine a lower dose of vitamin C with magnesium, olive oil, prune juice or yellow dock for instance. Also check the overall constipation remedy page for additional ideas.
Try them all and see what works best for you. With time, you will be able to build your own personalized constipation remedy toolkit.
And of course, stay tuned for the soon-to-come anti-constipation ebook!
Because the best remedy for constipation is eating the right foods in the right combination.