Saturday, January 12, 2019

Constipation on the Ketogenic Diet

How Can We Prevent Constipation on the Ketogenic Diet?

By creating a hospitable environment in the gut for your host microbiota by eliminating toxicity. Microbiota toxins are antibiotics, alcohol, anti-inflammatory drugs, excess sugar, and artificial sweeteners. To prevent Keto Constipation you must also introduce the correct ratio of vitamins, minerals, water, prebiotics, probiotics, and fiber. 

Improving digestion is dependent on healthy intestinal microbiota.

I get this question quite often and I have even experienced the constipation problem myself when I started on the Ketogenic Diet. The first thing we have to understand is that our bodies are different now, we fuel it differently and we don't put as much junk into it. So we just aren't creating as much waste as before and probably won't have as frequent of bowel movements as what we are used to.

There are some things that you can eat that will get things moving in your colon a little faster, however. Basically, there are three external things we can consume to make our entire digestive system more efficient. Soluble and insoluble fiber, prebiotic fiber and probiotic bacteria. Fiber helps to provide bulk and the probiotic beneficial bacteria feed on the prebiotic fiber which together helps digest the food we eat. When you sit down and come up with your Keto Diet Grocery list make sure to include plenty of green leafy vegetables and asparagus.


It's a lot more complicated than that and scientist are still discovering new ways the stomach, through its gut bacteria, signal the body and mind. Healthy gut bacteria has positively been linked to a strong immune system. When an infant is born he/she does not have a built up immune system and hasn't developed the proper gut bacteria. That's one of the reason breastfeeding is so beneficial, the mother passes beneficial bacteria to the infant through her breast milk, which strengthens the infants' immune system. Beneficial bacteria can even inhibit harmful bacteria.

How To Prevent Keto Constipation (Video)

So how does all that keep us from being constipated? 

We have to work to keep our gut bacteria healthy and strong. Antibiotics kill all our gut bacteria, so after a round of antibiotics, we have to jump-start our gut bacteria again. Kind of like a starter culture when we ferment kimchi or sauerkraut.

The best way to jump-start and maintain our beneficial gut bacteria is through the consumption of milk kefir. I drink it on an almost daily basis and it's one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. I recommend using organic, grass-fed, whole milk to grow the culture. They call the culture "grains" and you can get them from a friend or buy them off Amazon. I am going to write a complete article on making Kefir soon so check back.

The (culture) grains consume most of the lactose and make it Keto friendly. After about 24 hours of fermentation, the milk turns into a tart, creamy delicious drink, kind of like liquid yogurt. Each batch varies, but Kefir has about 6-8 grams of carbohydrates, 6-8 grams of protein and 12-15 grams of fat. Calcium, Vitamin D, K2, B complex vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, bioactive compounds, digestive enzymes, organic acids, and peptides. The organic acids are similar to what makes apple cider vinegar so healthy.

How to Make Milk Kefir (Video)

But the star of the show is the symbiotic culture of bacteria or better known as probiotics. Kefir has 61 different strains of bacteria, far more than any other fermented dairy product. As a comparison yogurt has between 4 and 6 different strains of bacteria. It also contains a probiotic called Lactobacillus kefir, which is only found in kefir. This unique probiotic has been shown to inhibit bacteria including salmonella, Helicobacter and E. coli. Kefir is regarded as one of the most healthy foods on the planet.

The cure for constipation on the Ketogenic Diet is Prebiotics: Inulin and oligofructose to the rescue!

Inulin is an oligosaccharide and a noncaloric carbohydrate that is found in a variety of other carbohydrates called fructans. The beneficial bacteria need some food to eat while it's in your stomach. That's where prebiotics like inulin comes in. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that feed the microbiota of the large intestine. Both inulin and oligofructose have been shown to be the most powerful prebiotics. Oligofructose and inulin, from chicory root, have been shown to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria. Not only will inulin help keep you regular by ensuring your stomach bacteria remain healthy, but this study shows that inulin/oligofructose and the subsequent fermentation process reduces the risks for colon cancer.

Here is another amazing study that shows that inulin reduces inflammatory markers and improves insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics.

Here is another promising study that shows inulin improves lipid metabolismcan reduce triglycerides and lower very low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol).

Here is an example of supplemental inulin you can get on Amazon.

Inulin and oligofructose

The best foods with Inulin and oligofructose are asparagus, chicory root, garlic, onions, leeks, Jerusalem artichoke, and dandelion greens.  Most green leafy vegetables have some combination of Inulin and Oligofructose (prebiotics) in them.

Here is a list of some Keto approved foods and their percent of inulin* and oligofructose** content:

1. Chicory root: 41.6* and 22.9**
2. Jerusalem artichoke: 18* and 13.5**
3. Garlic (raw): 12.5* and 5*
4. Asparagus (cooked): 2.5* and 2.5**
5. Dandelion greens (cooked): 9.1* and 7.3**
6. Onions (raw): 4.3* and 4.3**
7. Leeks (raw): 6.5* and 5.2**

*Source: Presence of Inulin and Oligofructose in the Diets of Americans.

Taking citrus pectin will also help prevent keto constipation. 

Apple and orange pectin (oligosaccharides) are derived from the peels of apples and oranges. Their fiber cannot be absorbed by the body, therefore, are calorie free.  Also, pectin seems to protect probiotics from gastric acids and pancreatic juices.

Additionally, prebiotic pectins protect and feed your intestinal microbiota and have antioxidant and anticancer abilities. How ironic, the most healthy part of the fruit is in the skin.

Add probiotics to your diet to heal the gut and improve Keto Digestion

fermented kimchi
Fermented Probiotic Kimchi

The best source for probiotics is kefir (milk, coconut, water), greek yogurt, cheese (blue, gouda and brie) and sour cream. Fermented foods are also a great source of probiotics. You can ferment almost any vegetable. Kimchi, sauerkraut, cucumbers (pickles) are the most popular, but Beet Kvass is my favorite.

If you have never tried beet Kvass you are really missing out. It's easy to make yourself at home. Here are instructions on how to make beet Kvass. If you let the beets ferment long enough the culture eats most of the sugar, similar to milk Kefir and the lactose consumption. Kombucha also has probiotics, but it's usually too high in sugar to be Keto approved.

How to make Beet Kvass (video)

And then there is fiber:

Bring on the bulk. You will get most of your bulk-forming fiber by simply eating vegetables, but I have found a few tricks that work to increase the fiber and help with bowel regularity. I mix about a tablespoon of chia seeds and a tablespoon of ground flaxseed in a cup of unsweetened, plain, flax or macadamia nut milk. Stir it up, let it sit, stir it up again, wait for it. You get the idea, the chia seeds will eventually absorb the liquid and thicken up into a gel. You can even mix a bunch up with coconut milk and coconut oil and let it sit and it will almost turn into a pudding that you have to eat with a spoon.  Another supplement you can take is psyllium husk powder capsules. It's the same thing as Metamucil, but Metamucil has to much sugar in it, so look for the plain capsules. Walmart has a generic brand that's very inexpensive.

Magnesium Citrate helps with Keto Constipation.

Another helpful tool is the electrolyte magnesium citrate. The recommended minimum daily intake of magnesium is only 327 mg a day. The latest government study shows that 68% of Americans are not getting enough magnesium. Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions, it plays a role in proper nerve and muscle function and blood sugar regulation. A recent study shows that adults that don't consume the recommended amount of magnesium are 1.48 and 1.75 times more likely to have elevated inflammation markers as defined by the C-reactive protein test. Inflammation in the arteries is far more responsible for cardiovascular disease than elevated cholesterol. Magnesium citrate works to ease constipation by pulling water into the intestines. This water combines with the dry feces and makes it smoother to pass. Nutrients and medications that work in that way are called osmotic laxatives.

Magnesium citrate is very effective against constipation because it's the most bioavailable form of magnesium. This study found on PubMed, compared the bioavailability of three common magnesium preparations (amino-acid chelate, citrate, and oxide). After 60 days the citrate group showed the greatest (P = 0.027) mean salivary magnesium concentration.

Not to give all the publicity to magnesium citrate, but electrolytes in general help with regularity. Sodium (salt), potassium and chloride also play a role. So don't be afraid of adding extra salt to your food and eat vegetables for your electrolytes. Supplementing your diet with magnesium citrate might be helpful.

So there you have it, be patient and eventually, you'll get used to your new bowel movement routine, but feeding your gut properly with fiber, prebiotics and probiotics will give you multiple benefits even more important than regularity.

See also how to improve keto digestion.

Ever heard of the Keto Flu? Here are 5 ways to prevent the Keto Flu>>

Robert N. Bryant

No comments:

Post a Comment

How to Get Into Ketosis in 24 Hours

How to Get Into Ketosis (quickly) In order to get into ketosis, you have to immediately start a therapeutic fast. Stop eating or drinki...