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Digestive Upset

The habitual use of laxatives can irritate the bowel, cause cramps and diarrhea, and even lead to laxative dependence. If irregularity is a concern, avoid using commercial remedies and try the following natural alternatives:

  1. Eat more fiber, in the form of fresh vegetables, wheat bran, whole-grain breads and cereals, and fruit.
  2. Drink plenty of water.
  3. Exercise on a daily basis.
  4. Do not use tobacco, caffeine or other stimulant drugs.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques.

If you can't get enough fiber from your diet, consider powdered psyllium. Available at health food stores, it is a quality source of supplemental fiber, but it must be used with adequate water to make it effective. Start with one rounded tablespoon of the powder stirred into a glass of water or diluted juice. Drink it down and follow it with another full glass of water.

Read more about digestive health.

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Reader Comments (5)

How do you feel about "Probiotics" ? And do you recommend a good one ? I hear they can also help with regularity amongst other things.

December 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

If you have any natural alternatives to commercial antacids and acid reducers, I could really use that info.

December 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

Great advice. I wanted to add that I like to recommend a blend of psyllium and flax seeds for fiber support. Flax seeds provide added nutritional benefits compared to psyllium; omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and protein.

December 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDr in the Kitchen

Hi Brian,

I know you asked Dr. Weil what he thought, but, well, I couldn't resist with my viewpoint....

MedlinePlus has a Web page (article) about probiotics (lactobacillus) at

According to Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database


there is no real strong scientific evidence that probiotics help with regularity, but possible evidence...

The article goes on to say probiotics are overall safe, but take careful steps if you are on antibiotics or immunosuppressants.

So, the bottom line seems to be that probiotics just might help, but be careful and informed.

Hoping this helps! If not, contact me...I'll dig up some more resources from reputable sources

Janice Flahiff

Health and Medical News (Wordpress blog)
10+ years experience as a medical librarian

December 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJanice Flahiff

A few weeks ago, Dr Weil stated that he takes a Magnesium (250 mg) tablet at breakfast and dinner.
Would that be classified as a laxative ?
I take one Magnesium (250mg) tablet per day and it acts like a laxative.

December 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVic Tullio
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