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Are Laxatives Wrecking Your Memory?

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No one gets through life without getting constipated. It’s one of the great equalizers among us humans. But new research shows that the many treatments available for constipation may deliver some unequal results… especially when it comes to your brain and your memory. According to one study, consistent use of this over-the-counter laxative can dampen your memory and dramatically increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. If you suffer from constipation, you’ve probably tried all the ways to be regular. Walking… more water intake… and increasing fiber intake. And when those don’t work, you have no choice but to head to the drugstore for a laxative. Unfortunately, when taking these over-the-counter drugs becomes a habit, your memory could be in grave danger.

Increases Dementia Risk 64 Percent!

In a shocking new study published in the journal Neurology, scientists analyzed laxative use and dementia outcomes of more than 500,000 participants. At the end, they found that regular use of osmotic laxatives – the type that draws water into your colon like glycerin or sorbitol – increased the participants’ risk of developing dementia by a whopping 64 percent. And there’s more bad news… Those using one or more types of laxatives – including bulk-forming, stool-softening, or stimulating laxatives – saw a 90 percent increased risk! This means no matter what type of laxative you select you could be putting your brain at risk. The data shows that laxatives are safe when used for irregular constipation. However, when used daily or weekly, they can impact your gut bacteria and scramble the nerve signals between your gut and brain.1 "Constipation and laxative use are common among middle-aged and older adults," said study investigator Feng Sha, PhD, a health statistician, and associate professor at the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. "However, regular laxative use may change the microbiome of the gut, possibly affecting nerve signaling from the gut to the brain or increasing the production of intestinal toxins that may affect the brain."2

What To Do Instead

The best way to stay regular – and fight dementia – is with a high-fiber diet. Studies have shown that eating a high-fiber diet can help lower your risk of developing dementia.3 High-fiber foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. And the researchers agree… “Finding ways to reduce a person’s risk of dementia by identifying risk factors that can be modified is crucial,” said Dr. Sha. “If our findings are confirmed, medical professionals could encourage people to treat constipation by making lifestyle changes such as drinking more water, increasing dietary fiber and adding more activity into their daily lives.”

My Takeaway

If you suffer from occasional constipation, some gentle, natural options exist. First, never doubt the power of prunes. These tiny fruits are jam-packed with fiber and other nutrients to help you “go.” And my other go-to for not going is papaya. This tasty tropical fruit contains special enzymes that can help relieve constipation and can be consumed in fruit or juice form. You can get both prunes and papayas at your local grocery store. It’s also a great idea to supplement with probiotics but choosing a quality formula can be a challenge. That’s why our sister company Green Valley Natural Solutions developed ComfortPro: Premium Probiotic Formula. Once available only in Japan, this unique strain of probiotic, BB-536, is the ONLY probiotic clinically proven in six human studies to alleviate the three biggest constipation problems at once: hard stools, constipation, and bad bacteria overgrowth. In fact, BB-536 is the only probiotic strain with over 110 health studies documenting its health benefits making it the most researched probiotic in the world and the #1 best-selling probiotic in Japan.
1 https://n.neurology.org/content/early/2023/02/22/WNL.0000000000207081 2 https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/988727#vp_1 3 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1028415X.2022.2027592  

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