Constipation, the #1 enemy of going #2, affects millions of people worldwide. While the subject might not be the most glamorous, it happens so regularly (too soon?) that it's important to talk about what’s happening in your gut when sh*t doesn't happen, and–more importantly–what you can do about it.
Constipation and your gut microbes
First, let’s focus on how your gut microbiome is connected to pooping…or not pooping. When your digestive system grinds to a halt, it disrupts the delicate harmony within your gut microbiome. This is because the bacteria in your gut rely on a steady supply of dietary fiber to perform their heroic deeds. Fiber acts as their fuel, helping them produce beneficial byproducts such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that keep your gut environment healthy and thriving.
In the absence of fiber, the bacteria in your microbiome are left hungry and their power wanes. This can lead to an imbalance in the gut microbiome, with potentially detrimental consequences. Without sufficient fiber to digest, the gut bacteria produce fewer SCFAs, disrupting the bowel movements and slowing down the transit time of waste through the intestines. In essence, the absence of fiber leads to constipation, impeding the smooth flow of waste.
You’re constipated…now what?
Now that you understand what’s going on in your gut during constipation, let’s talk about what you can do to get things moving again.
This is where beneficial bacteria come in handy. These gut good guys can help restore order to the microbiome and alleviate constipation.
This next generation probiotic strain produces butyric acid, a potent SCFA that nourishes the cells lining the colon and promotes healthy bowel movements. It helps bolster the population of beneficial bacteria, ensuring a balanced gut environment.
How do you get Clostridium butyricum in your gut? Easy–Butyricum.
Akkermansia is a next generation strain that breaks down the mucus lining of your intestines, improving nutrient absorption and reducing inflammation. Its presence is associated with a healthy gut and can contribute to relieving constipation.
How do you get Akkermansia muciniphila in your gut? Easy again–Akkermansia.
Known for its remarkable ability to produce acetate and butyrate, Clostridium beijerinckii is a true ally against constipation. These SCFAs help regulate the movement of waste through the intestines, promoting regularity and preventing stubborn stool.
The noble Anaerobutyricum hallii specializes in producing propionate, another vital SCFA. Propionate stimulates the muscles in the colon, enhancing peristalsis—the coordinated contractions that facilitate the smooth movement of fecal matter.
This probiotic species helps promote gut health by enhancing the balance of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. By breaking down complex carbohydrates, B. infantis aids in improving bowel movements and reducing discomfort associated with constipation. Its ability to produce lactic acid also creates an environment unfavorable to harmful bacteria, fostering a healthier digestive system.
Of course, as mentioned above, when you’re talking sh*t, it’s important to also talk about the f-word: fiber. Fiber is honestly the key to a healthy gut. Eating a fiber-rich diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes provides ample fuel for your gut microbiome, acting as a prebiotic to nourish the beneficial bacteria which helps you poop regularly. If constipation is your enemy, fiber is your friend.
Move it to get things moving
Hydration and exercise play a role in regularity, too. Insufficient water intake can lead to dry, hard stools that are difficult to pass. Hydration is key to maintaining proper bowel function. Regular exercise also promotes intestinal motility, aiding in relieving constipation.
The truth is, constipation happens to everyone at some point, and nobody likes feeling “stuck.” Luckily, constipation can be easy to remedy with a few fiber-filled meals, sufficient water, some exercise and the right probiotics. Just remember–it’s all about the strains. You need the right strains so you don’t strain.