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Sluggish Digestion Problems... & Why Do I Need So Much Magnesium?
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Like so many others with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, my digestion is chronically slow and sluggish. Over the years, have gotten used to taking Magnesium tablets, which seems to help. Used to take one 250 mg Magnesium in morning and one at night; then it became two in morning and two at night. Now am up to FIVE Magnesium tablets a day, on most days, two in the morning and three at night. Have always heard you'll know when you're taking too much Magnesium because it will cause diarrhea--haven't reached that point yet!

I don't understand why my body needs so much Magnesium, and it's a little worrisome because I quit drinking milk when I stopped eating gluten (the milk seemed to be causing diarrhea), and since Calcium supplements tend to clog up my intestines, I rarely take Calcium. Will taking this much Magnesium without a lot of Calcium result in eventual damage to my bones? I do seem to eat quite a bit of various cheeses and occasional yogurt (sources of Calcium) and seem to have no problem digesting them, unless I've been accidentally "glutened," in which case I tend to get loose stools again. (The kind of Magnesium is Walgreen's Magnesium Oxide and they include Calcium Carbonate in the listed ingredients but don't specify quantity. When I do take Calcium supplements, it's usually Calcium Citrate, which supposedly is easier to digest. I also take a Multivitamin every day which contains both Calcium and Magnesium.)

Why do people with Gluten intolerance/Celiac require so much Magnesium anyway?! (Recently had blood tests done and my Magnesium level was 2.1 with the range being 1.6 to 2.6. So even with all this Magnesium, my blood level is certainly not excessive.)

Thanks in advance for any insights on this!

P.S. Most nights, especially if I have an early appointment next day, I also take one-half or one Swiss Kriss (sometimes two, if I really need to get going fast!), in addition to the aforementioned Magnesium. Also eat a lot of fruits (plums, peaches, melon, banana) and sunflower seeds along with morning coffee to encourage things to flow. Wonder how long it will take on a gluten-free diet before my digestion ever normalizes--or will it ever?! Starting to feel like I'll be popping Magnesium and Swiss Kriss every day for the rest of my life. :-(

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go dairy free...sometimes casein is constipating.....mag ox is very poorly absorbed...which is one reason it can cause diarrhea.

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ewww- i can not give u any good advice on the magnesium... that & potassium are 2 things i just dont know the right dosage- and make me worry about the heart. ??

i DO know about intestinal issues tho for sure! yes, dairy can really slow things down... sufficiet Hydration, & mental relaxation, & regular exercise can all help normalize u-

AND- what really helps me is certain fruits. unfortunately i have Fructose Malabsorption- and cannot eat pears- but man when i used to- pears really helped a lot!!!

now i can do like 2/3 of a Mango with Lemon Juice on it. or 1/2 a mango w/1/2 banana... and it definitely helps !

good luck with your magnesium dillema

OOOHHHH- also- u may want to get some GHEE!!!! that stuff is FANTASTIC. it's clarified butter- and contains Butyrate which helps the small intestinal cells do their job-> man oh man- it DEFINITELY "smoothes" things out- you will love it

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How is your fiber intake? Nuts and flax seeds help me get moving. I eat tons of fruit and a fair amount of veggies, but without some nuts or flax, my whole system runs slower.

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I have the same problem. I usually take 2-3 a day plus Miralax. Still, I continue to have problems. I don't think there is need to worry about OD of Magnesium Oxide. I used to take one a day b/c it says one a day on the bottle, but my GI doc told me that she has people take way more than that up to 6-7 a day or so. She made it seem like it wouldn't hurt. ? I've been gluten-free since April and at first my system starting working much better but now I am back to having issues and having to take all that stuff.

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Have you had your thyroid levels checked? C could be a symptom of low thyroid also.

And get rid of the diary to see if it helps. But give it at least a month dairy free before you decide. Your body needs time to adjust.

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Not a treatment, but to help aid a faster digestive process, try drinking some green or peppermint tea. Green tea helps aid digestion and helps boost the immune system. Peppermint tea also aids digestion, helps with gas/bloating, and some other IBS-type symptoms.

Green Tea: http://www.ehow.com/about_5422774_green-teas-effect-digestion.html

Peppermint Tea: http://www.teabenefits.com/herbal-tea-benefits/peppermint-tea-benefits.html

There are many other links out there, so research if you like. I drink a cup when I can after meals, and tea has become a staple within my daily routine. We should all have a time dedicated to tea just like the Brits!

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Why do people with Gluten intolerance/Celiac require so much Magnesium anyway?! (Recently had blood tests done and my Magnesium level was 2.1 with the range being 1.6 to 2.6. So even with all this Magnesium, my blood level is certainly not excessive.)

Thanks in advance for any insights on this!

11 years ago I had a hemorrhoidectomy to remove hemorrhoids caused by years of chronic constipation. Nobody asked why a childless woman who didn't sit all day developed hemorrhoids. I had tried all the usual 'constipation cures' like fiber, fluids, magnesium and vitamin C, exercise, etc. However, I didn't know I had celiac disease (after years of the 'IBS' misdiagnosis). When I finally learned I had celiac disease, I hoped abstaining from gluten would end the constipation, but only had slight improvement. As I was diagnosed with and abstained from each of my other allergies (dairy, soy, etc.), I hoped that would eliminate my constipation and dependence on magnesium, fiber, etc.

Unfortunately I also developed a series of intestinal infections (5 bacterial, 2 parasitic and candida). Each of those infections also caused constipation, except c-diff, which caused chronic diarrhea, much to my relief. Treating each of those infections helped somewhat, but taking really high dose (50 billion live cells per capsule) probiotics to replenish my very depleted good bacteria helped even more to get me regular. Also taking HCl supplements (after being tested for and diagnosed with Hypochloridia) helped me actually absorb the magnesium tablets I took. So HCl supplements also helped improve regularity.

I haven't taken a laxative for over 10 years, but I still take some magnesium, abstain from my food allergies and eat high fiber fruits, vegies and grains. All of those things (food allergies, intestinal infections, low stomach acid and depleted good bacteria) contributed to my constipation problems. So I'd recommend that you consider what is slowing your intestinal motility (food allergies, bad bugs, depleted good bacteria, etc.) and treat that, rather than keep taking more and more laxatives.

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Constipation was one of my main symptoms and is definitely the hardest to fix now that i'm gluten-free. Nothing I tried helped. I went off dairy, I was eating flax, drinking healthy amounts of water, added magnesium supplements... nothing seemed to really work. It would be 3-4 days before I could force any sort of BM. Recently I started adding coconut oil to my gluten-free oatmeal in the morning, I even used it to fry my eggs in (yummy) and stir fry dishes. Then I started drinking coconut water, I mixed with cranberry juice and drank it every day also... It has helped me SO much! It took a couple days before it kicked it, but it has definitely helped get my system moving! You could always try adding that!

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Lots of good ideas here. Thanks, everybody! Will definitely try some of these suggestions, especially the peppermint & green tea and coconut water. Have been taking "Align" probiotics and stepping up yogurt with all those good little critters. And yes, the "motility" thing definitely seems to be the problem.

Maybe cutting out all dairy for a while would clarify things, as some suggested. (When I first realized there was a problem with gluten and did research, many sources referred to problems with dairy because of the flattened villi, and since I drank milk with every meal and was having loose stools, even after quitting gluten, I soon quit the milk habit. However, in recent times have resumed eating various cheeses, especially in gluten-free-pizza or other dishes that call for cheese, and didn't think I was having any problem with it. But it could be the cheeses are slowing things down, so will avoid dairy again (not that I'm overindulging in it) and see if things improve.)

Maybe we are also eating too LATE at night? (We tend to be night-owls.) Does anyone have thoughts on that and how that might affect digestion? Sleep/insomnia has been a chronic problem for decades, and I tend to go to bed later and later--which means getting up later and eating later. Maybe my body would rather a more typical "diurnal" pattern... but when I try to go to sleep earlier, I usually end up awake all night long! Guess it just takes time to establish new routines.

By the way, found an interesting web page that describes digestion and gastric motility at:

http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/stomach/motility.html

And here's a page on transit time:

http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/basics/transit.html

Fascinating stuff! Goes way beyond the old saw about "contemplating one's navel"! --LOL.

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HI there,

Just read your post and to be honest I don't know what I don't know about celiac, but I do know about digestion.

If you have a sluggish digestion, your absorption of nutrients is likely to be impaired, which may be why you are finding you need more magnesium supplements (to get the same effect). Magnesium Oxide is insoluble (as is Mg Chloride and Carbonate) so it is not very easily absorbed by the body, you will probably be flushing alot of it. When it comes to supplements it's worth getting the most absorbable forms. These are usually closest to food sources your body would find them in. They are usually more expensive (because they are not synthetic) but they are worth the extra if you can afford it and you would probably find you need less of it. Absorbable forms are chelated or soluble forms (such as Magnesium aspartate, malate, glycinate, citrate and succinate etc). A good health food store should be able to point you in the right direction.

With regard to calcium, broccoli is one of the best sources, along with green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds. Gorilla's have pretty strong bones but don't drink milk beyond babyhood and cows have strong bones as milk rich in calcium, without drinking milk beyond calf-hood). They get their calcium from greens. A good way to improve nutrient intake (if you can bear it - is to make a green smoothie or juice with will give you lots of micronutrients (including magnesium and calcium) in a super absorbable shot style. I don't find it too bad to drink, but for many it's a means to an end). Living Fuels green powder is an absorbable alternative, if you don't have time for the preparation. I find first thing in the morning is the best time.

You could also check your stomach acid (low stomach acid is very common) as sufficient stomach acid plays an important role in releasing nutrients from food. There are some simple anecdotal tests (such as the bicarbonate of soda/ HCL test which you can Google). Heart burn after food, usually is a symptom of low stomach acid. You get it then because your stomach is struggling to digest your food. It is probably very few people have high stomach acid (but you would feel it on an empty stomach). Antacids for indigestion may mask the symptoms but make the problem worse in the long run. Bad breath in the morning may also be a symptom of low stomach acid.

If your digestion is sluggish, your liver will be having to work harder to detoxify your body as your body's slow elimination (transit time) means you will be reabsorbing some of the things your liver has already processed and wanted removed. You can support your liver by consuming sour foods (sauerkraut, pickles, citrus fruits) and bitter foods (lemon, lime, grapefruit, romaine lettuce...). Drinking sufficient water (most people don't) is also very important for the liver and kidneys to eliminate toxins. (8 glasses a day is usually recommended but do what feels sensible to you). Fibrous foods (vegetables and fruit) help push things through but soluble fibre absorb water to increase bulk of stool and also absorb toxins from the blood stream.

Sourced from Wikipedia: * legumes (peas, soybeans, and other beans)* oats, rye, chia, and barley (subject to gluten intolerance). Some fruits and fruit juices (including prune juice, plums, berries, bananas, and the insides of apples and pear, certain vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and Jerusalem artichokes, root tubers and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and onions (skins of these are sources of insoluble fiber).

A tablespoon of whole flax seed soaked overnight in a large glass of water (has the consistency of porridge - a bit slimey - but this is important to help things slip through.) can help move things through the bowel and may clear some old debris, which may help future nutrient absorption. Flax seeds MUST be soaked to use in this fashion otherwise they could just cause more blockage. Ground flaxseeds provide useful essential fatty acids, but do not help move things through the colon particularly.

Exercise of course can help with bowel movement (the vibrations literally get things moving). Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (over the counter painkillers like Tylenol) can slow down peristolsis (the intestines natural wave like movement which moves things through your system).

Anyway, this is much broader than you asked for but I thought you might find it helpful.

Best Regards

Sarah

Like so many others with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, my digestion is chronically slow and sluggish. Over the years, have gotten used to taking Magnesium tablets, which seems to help. Used to take one 250 mg Magnesium in morning and one at night; then it became two in morning and two at night. Now am up to FIVE Magnesium tablets a day, on most days, two in the morning and three at night. Have always heard you'll know when you're taking too much Magnesium because it will cause diarrhea--haven't reached that point yet!

I don't understand why my body needs so much Magnesium, and it's a little worrisome because I quit drinking milk when I stopped eating gluten (the milk seemed to be causing diarrhea), and since Calcium supplements tend to clog up my intestines, I rarely take Calcium. Will taking this much Magnesium without a lot of Calcium result in eventual damage to my bones? I do seem to eat quite a bit of various cheeses and occasional yogurt (sources of Calcium) and seem to have no problem digesting them, unless I've been accidentally "glutened," in which case I tend to get loose stools again. (The kind of Magnesium is Walgreen's Magnesium Oxide and they include Calcium Carbonate in the listed ingredients but don't specify quantity. When I do take Calcium supplements, it's usually Calcium Citrate, which supposedly is easier to digest. I also take a Multivitamin every day which contains both Calcium and Magnesium.)

Why do people with Gluten intolerance/Celiac require so much Magnesium anyway?! (Recently had blood tests done and my Magnesium level was 2.1 with the range being 1.6 to 2.6. So even with all this Magnesium, my blood level is certainly not excessive.)

Thanks in advance for any insights on this!

P.S. Most nights, especially if I have an early appointment next day, I also take one-half or one Swiss Kriss (sometimes two, if I really need to get going fast!), in addition to the aforementioned Magnesium. Also eat a lot of fruits (plums, peaches, melon, banana) and sunflower seeds along with morning coffee to encourage things to flow. Wonder how long it will take on a gluten-free diet before my digestion ever normalizes--or will it ever?! Starting to feel like I'll be popping Magnesium and Swiss Kriss every day for the rest of my life. :-(

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