A Question about Constipation

Thanks for writing.

Constipation can have several etiologies, but here's what I'd consider the most helpful in restoring your health in full:

1) Thyroid function.  Thyroid health has an impact on all of the body's systems including elimination and detoxification.  Nutrition is a key factor in thyroid function, and many politically correct diet recommendations are adversely impacting the health of this critical organ.  Specifically
--PUFAs (Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids): vegetable oils are the prime culprits here.  They are pro-inflammatory, down regulate the thyroid, and actually inhibit immunity.
--most processed foods will use PUFAs as they are cheap alternatives to better quality ingredients.
--Cruciferous veggies when eaten raw (i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc).  They work as goitrogens and actually down regulate the thyroid.  Cook them well and eat them with a saturated fat (animal product or even coconut oil--the latter of which is pro-thryoid and has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties).
2) Nutrition
--anything which you may be intolerant of (gluten, for example) can cause inflammation and all the resulting dysfunctions
--many of the foods touted as being high in fiber (i.e. beans, grains, green leafy veggies) are not optimal for human digestion (we're omnivores and not ruminant herbivores--thus, we have a difficult time breaking down these foods and utilizing them effectively).  Anytime digestion is impaired, fueling suffers while inflammation is increased.
--Gums (locust bean, xanthum, etc) all are particularly bad and will literally gum up the intestines.
3) Hydration.  You need enough but not too much.  Good rule of thumb is 1/2 your body weight in lbs in oz of water each day (i.e. 150lbs = 75oz of water).  But this can easily dilute electrolyte status, which is really what hydration is predicated upon, so I recommend adding a bit of salt (sea or pickling with no anti-caking agents) to everything I drink.  Not only is this pro-thyroid, it also down regulates the production of aldosterone--a stress hormone.  And anytime you see stress, think inflammation/dysfunction on some level and extra demand on the body's resources.
4) Movement.  Should be full body.  Think of movements which move you into and out of the fetal position.  Squats would be a good example.  But swimming could work, too.  And running or even walking is great to get things moving.  At the very least, bouncing up and down (on a mini trampoline, for example) would help with lymphatic drainage and promote peristalsis.  A word of caution here: exercise (especially cardio as typically performed) in excess of your current training status can easily down regulate the thyroid, so I might cap duration at 45mins.

Additional strategies would include exposure to sun light or at least bright (250+w) incandescent lighting to stimulate the mitochondria, adequate protein intake (preferably from animal sources with liberal use of gelatin/bone broth which has minimal tryptophan and can be used to balance the amino acid profile such that it doesn't perpetuate inflammation/sluggish thyroid), enough dietary carbohydrate (fruit and below ground veggies being the best choices), minding natural circadian rhythms, proper breathing mechanics, and awareness of your thinking and how each though/idea/belief impacts your physiology secondary to activation of specific parts of the autonomic nervous system.  Lots of other possible ideas, but the above should be more than enough to get you moving in the right direction (pun intended).  More info can be found in my book (http://triumphtraining.com/pages/holistic-strength-training-for-triathlon).  And I'm working as quickly as my schedule will allow on my next book which will explore these subject in even greater detail. 

Good luck and know that health is your birthright. 
Go claim it.
Much Chi

1 comment

Chris Howard

I have suffered from thyroid issues all of my life, yet never once did any medical professional tell me that I needed to avoid cruciferous vegetables (or at least make sure that I cook them properly before consuming them). Truly, we have to be in charge of our own health, because we cannot trust anyone else (even experts) to take care of us. Thank you for posting this, I always learn something new on your blog.

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