Chronic constipation [CC] affects about 12% of the population globally, with females and older adults the most likely to be impacted.
It is one of the top five most common outpatient diagnoses by gastroenterologists, as per data out of the American Journal Of Gastroenterology.
The diagnostic criteria for CC are very specific, I’ve provided them below for reference.
But what can be done to fight back against chronic constipation and restore ease and regularity to one’s bowel habits?
There are a few places to look.
General diet and lifestyle guidance revolves around 4 areas:
- Adequate fibre consumption from whole grains, veggies, fruit and legumes
- Keeping fluid intake at a minimum of 1.5-2 L, assuming it is safe to do so and potentially more depending on individual requirements.
- Pursuing as active of a lifestyle as possible
- Acting promptly on any stimulus to use the bathroom
Obviously if you are looking for help on the dietary optimization side of things, I’m an email away.
Supplementation may also have a role to play though, which brings me to the focal point of today’s discussion which is presented in collaboration with Canadian supplement company Pascoe.
Pascoe makes a product I’ve grown quite fascinated by, which is an inulin fibre-enrich chamomile tea known as Markofruct.
In previous posts I’ve discussed how this product can contribute to enhancing populations of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract and also contribute a modest A1C and blood sugar lowering effect in people living with pred and type 2 diabetes.
Levels of healthy bacteria in the GI tract tend to decrease with age, and human evidence exists to suggest that common diabetes drug metformin may have a modest negative influence the gut microbiome as well, which may be neutralized by the use of inulin supplementation.
It is also true that inulin supplementation has been demonstrated to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels, which tend to be an overlapping concern for many people.
Given that Markofruct is a unique form of inulin available as an enjoyable tea product, and that chronic constipation , elevated blood sugar & cholesterol levels are more likely in older adults – there is potential crossover value here for its use as a complimentary supplement for the right person.
Let’s take a closer look at the evidence.
Inulin For Chronic Constipation – Human Evidence
A 2014 meta-analysis published out of Spain reviewed the results of five human experimental trials and found that inulin supplementation improved a number of relevant concerns in chronic constipation.
- Increased stool frequency
- Improved stool consistency
- Improved transit time (the time it takes for food to move through your system)
Since the publishing of that meta-analysis, multiple studies looking at inulin use for people living with chronic constipation have been published observing similar positive results improving constipation.
A 2017 paper out of the International Journal Of Food Sciences And Nutrition which used a dosage of 4 grams of inulin three times per day (12 grams total).
A 2020 study out of Food & Function which added 12 grams of inulin to an apple juice product and found the positive effects on constipation were retained even when inulin is consumed in beverage form.
It is also true that the European Food Safety Authority supports the notion that ~12 grams of inulin per day contributes to normal bowel behaviours by increasing stool frequency.
How Markofruct Can Help
Each sachet of Markofruct contains just under 6 grams of inulin (5.6 g) per serving as a drinkable chamomille.
The beneficial effects of inulin are generally observed at an intake of around ~12 grams per day, which means two servings of this caffeine-free tea product daily.
For people with overlapping concerns in the realms of elevated blood sugar, cholesterol and chronic constipation it appears to me that the use of this product has a positive, complimentary role to play in improving outcomes – which of course should be further supported by diet and lifestyle changes.
If today’s post has piqued your interest, I’ve been provided a voucher code for my readers – ANDY10 – which will offer you 10% off your purchases from Pascoe.
Until next time
Andy De Santis RD MPH