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Vitamins & Constipation

Q: Do all vitamins cause constipation?† I eat prunes every day, and take an herbal laxative and psyllium husk pills, but I'm still constipated. What should I do?

Dr. Donnica:
Some vitamins and supplements do cause or worsen constipation.† The most common culprits are iron (contained in most multi-vitamin preparations "for women") and calcium.†† If you are eating prunes daily, you probably don't need an iron supplement, so I recommend trying a multivitamin without iron unless your doctor has specifically told you to take iron.† There is also some data to suggest that calcium citrate is less constipating than calcium carbonate; this switch might help.† Most of the time, constipation can also be relieved by drinking an adequate amount of water per day (8 to 10 full glasses) and getting aerobic exercise.† Exercise is so important to "regularity" that a brisk morning walk became known as "the morning constitutional."† Adequate dietary fiber (from fruits and vegetables) is also important.

Created: 3/8/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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