Have a question about your low-carbohydrate lifestyle for our experts? Ask it here.
Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

Your question:
Since I started my low-carb diet, I've been constipated. Is this normal? What can I do?

The expert answers:
Decreasing fiber in your diet can lead to constipation, as can weight gain due to a low thyroid function. Both are easy to handle.

For starters, I would add 200 mg a day of magnesium glycinate (available in supplements such as The Energy Revitalization System by Enzymatic Therapy). This usually will prevent constipation. And although a low-carb diet can be very healthy, it (like most American diets) is still likely to have multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

For example, magnesium deficiency is common in the US. Magnesium increases energy and decreases pain and anxiety.

Increasing your water intake also will help prevent constipation. Don't count glasses of water; just check in with your mouth and lips occasionally -- if they're dry, drink more water!

If you're constipated and have cold intolerance, low body temperature and/or achiness, you may have an underactive thyroid.

Unfortunately, thyroid blood testing is notoriously unreliable, missing most cases of hypothyroidism. An estimated 20 million Americans, mostly women, have undiagnosed or inadequately treated hypothyroidism. This can lead to fatigue, weight gain, infertility, miscarriages and heart attacks.

If you have these symptoms, ask your physician to consider a trial of a natural thyroid hormone (Armour thyroid), even if blood tests are normal. You'll find a physician referral list at www.vitality101.com. PregnancyAndBaby.com

Tags: constipation fiber

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