Keto diet constipation is a common complaint among those who choose to adopt this diet. Constipation is defined as having three or less bowel movements per week. If you are not having at least one bowel movement per day, you are storing toxic chemicals. You need to adopt habits to change that immediately. This article has great information that will help you fix your constipation issues while on the ketogenic diet.
In addition to not getting rid of toxic waste when you are constipated, infrequent bowel movements also leads to hard stool that can be difficult to pass. It can also lead to anal fissures, hemorrhoids, and abdominal pain. Nobody wants to deal with that!
Is constipation normal on the ketogenic diet?
Yes, constipation is normal when you first begin the keto diet. Your body is adapting to its new fuel, switching from using carbohydrates for energy to now utilizing fat. You are likely consuming significantly less fiber. Your gut bacteria is changing. Your body now has the task of figuring out how to digest all this fat you are introducing. Diarrhea is also a normal response to these changes, especially if you are switching to keto from the Standard American Diet.
How do I fix constipation on the keto diet?
If you are struggling with constipation since beginning the keto diet, have no fear. You will be happy to know that there are many things that you can do to get relief naturally. An important part of improving your health is avoiding chemicals as much as possible. Thankfully, constipation is an issue that can be fixed without the use of modern medicine majority of the time.
The following is a list of things you can do to improve your body’s elimination process. Many of these constipation remedies will solve your diarrhea problem as well.
Exercise, exercise, exercise.
Many people underestimate the role of physical activity in normalizing bowel movements. Stretching, yoga, Pilates, and jogging are all great ways to aid your body in the detoxification process. You do not have to do hardcore workouts. Your goal is to activate your lymphatic system and encourage your body to eliminate all the yucky stuff. A rebounder can help immensely with that as well.
Drink more liquids.
You probably already know this one. Sufficient liquid intake is crucial for avoiding and fixing constipation. When you do not drink enough liquids, your body is forced to use liquid from your stool (eww!). This causes your stool to harden up. This becomes a cycle that results in your discomfort.
For some people, drinking a healthy amount of water can seem impossible. Here are some simple tips for increasing liquid intake:
Squeeze fresh lemon juice in your water
Make herbal infusions
Make infused water
Have soup more often
Make your smoothies more liquid
Get fresh coconut water (or frozen without any additives or pasteurization, if possible)
Fresh squeezed lemon juice added to your water helps constipation by increasing stomach acid. Stomach acid is important for you to digest your meals. Apple cider vinegar (with mother, please!) provides the same effect.
Soup made with meat broth has a soothing effect on the gut. Meat broth also helps coat the gut lining, which is a powerful aid for digestion and elimination.
Avoid inferior fats.
Hopefully you’ve done your research and cut vegetable oils and the like out of your diet. Fats from pastured animals should be a staple in your diet, and they are easier on your digestive system than fats like canola, corn or vegetable oil.
Eat more vegetables.
Low carb veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage) will provide your body with much needed roughage for helping things get going. Drizzle with good quality salt and olive oil.
As stated earlier, when you begin the keto diet and move away from eating carbs, your body’s microbiota begins to change. Probiotics and fermented foods help to bridge the gap and make sure you have the proper yeasts and bacteria working away to make sure your food is fully digestible, the nutrients are highly bioavailable, and the elimination process is in top notch working order.
If you are already at your max net carbs, you’ll be delighted to know that you will get large amounts of probiotics just from the liquid in a ferment! Fermentation also breaks down vegetables, and you can choose to stick to low carb veggie ferments. Try this sauerkraut or spicy daikon recipe for a yummy addition that will help you to get your gut in order.
Up Your Vitamin C
Depending on what your daily diet looks like, you may need to include more Vitamin C in your diet. Smoothies or a Vitamin C supplement can help.
Get More Magnesium
Some of the symptoms of low magnesium include difficulty sleeping, brain fog, muscle cramps and constipation. Epsom salt baths, magnesium oil spray, and magnesium supplements can help with this. I personally prefer skin absorption for magnesium because it bypasses the gut and is easier for your body to utilize.
Pay attention to resistant starch
Take a tablespoon of Chia or Flax seeds
Consider detoxifying with Psyllium husk/Diatomaceous Earth
Kiss inferior quality dairy goodbye
Most adults can’t digest lactose and pasteurized dairy is stripped of the lactase enzyme naturally found in raw milk to help us digest lactose. Substitute pasteurized milk and cheese with raw dairy, milk kefir, and yogurt with live active cultures.
Chew your food well
It is such a simple thing, but one often overlooked by many. However, you have teeth for a reason. Chewing your food properly ensures that the digestive process occurs as it should. Enzymes in your saliva begin breaking down the food you are eating. The process of chewing also kick-starts a process that signals other parts of your body to gear up for proper digestion and elimination. There are several benefits to chewing your food properly, and helping avoid constipation is one of them.
Nettle infusions are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium. When included in your diet regularly, it supports immune function and regular bowel movements.
When should I see a doctor?
If you are experiencing severe abdominal pain, excessive blood in stool, or not seeing progress with these remedies within a week (some can take longer to have an effect due to the current backed up stool), then you may want to consider seeing a doctor.
There are many benefits to broth and it is something that everyone who wants to be well-nourished should incorporate in their lives on a regular basis. It is so simple to make and provides us with a whole host of nutrients including gelatin, which helps to strengthen our gut so we can absorb those nutrients effectively. It makes the most sense to get as much nutrition into our broth as possible, and adding kombu is one of those ways that we can add nutrients that are typically low in our diets.
What is Kombu, anyway?
Kombu is a type of seaweed that is widely used by the Japanese for making a variety of dishes including soup. Kombucha is actually the name of their kombu tea, although more recently it has been adopted for the fermented tea which is quickly gaining in popularity.
How would I use it?
It is very easy to use kombu to improve the nutrient content of meals. It is sold in a variety of ways including dried and powdered. The dried strips can easily be added to foods cooked in water like beans and stock–they actually help to tenderize beans! Kombu has a pleasing flavor and can enhance the taste of rice and other things cooked with it. It provides additional nutrients to broth including iodine, which many people are deficient in. All you do is add the strip of kombu, bring to a boil, reduce heat and leave the strip in for 15 minutes.
Why Would I Do That?
Many people underestimate–or are unaware of–the benefits of seaweed. Some just do not like the taste so have a hard time incorporating it into their diets. Others may actually be unable to digest seaweeds and suffer gastrointestinal issues from ingesting it. Extracting the nutrients into broth makes it easy to take advantage of the health boost sea vegetables have to offer. Liquid nutrition is easier for anyone to absorb and especially those with gut issues. It adds great flavor so it is also not something to shy away from if you don’t like fishy or green tastes!
What Are The Health Benefits Of Kombu?
This sea vegetable is a natural source of glutamic acid which can enhance flavors with an umami taste, as well as improve brain, muscle and prostate function. Kombu contains fucoidan which protects us from radiation. It is high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and iodine. It contains a compound called PLG that reduces the risk of blood clots. Studies have shown it has an ability to decrease LDL cholesterol levels, possibly because of its anti-inflammatory properties–it is a great source of a variety of antioxidants including vitamin C and E. It even has anti-viral properties!
Kombu’s Claim To Fame–Iodine
Iodine is one of the most beneficial properties of seafood and sea vegetables, and kombu has one of the greatest concentrations. Iodine deficiency is increasing despite the use of iodized salt, which isn’t healthy anyway. This mineral also helps to prevent cancer and goiter. It has antibacterial properties and is helpful in the fight against chronic diarrhea and bacterial overgrowth such as H. pylori. It aids in detox by ridding the body of heavy metals and chemicals such as chlorine, bromide and fluoride. Some of the signs of iodine deficiency include hormonal imbalances, dry skin, hair loss, constipation, and even fertility issues. Getting our iodine from natural sources ensures that we get the co-factors needed for our bodies to use it properly.
Kombu is obviously one of the Japan’s best kept secrets. Generations of Japanese have added kombu to their foods for improved flavor and nutrition. Adding kombu to your broth can help to improve your health and decrease your chances of cancer, diabetes, thyroid problems, anemia, and mineral deficiencies.
It was fermented cod liver oil that brought me to the real food world. Several years ago, my son began facing some health issues. Bronchiolitis, asthma, allergies, tooth decay. Vain or not, it was the tooth decay that kept me wide awake in the wee hours of the night searching for answers. I found Dr. Ellie’s system and tried that because it seemed simple enough. It helped for a little while, but then his teeth began yellowing. She tried to help but I found her difficult to follow at that point. I stumbled on the Mothering forums, and had a crash course in how diet affects us. I learned about WAPF, and from the WAPF website I learned about GAPS, which I realized could help all of his issues.
I ordered fermented cod liver oil, and I began giving him double or triple the dose for a couple weeks, with immediate, amazing results for his teeth and skin. We took it a step further and went on a “mostly-GAPS” diet where we had many positive results, including healing my own tooth decay without the use of the FCLO, as I could only afford enough for him at the time. He was allergic to dairy and I didn’t want to risk trying it at such an expensive price tag, so he never had the butter oil until we bought the coconut-oil infused blend a couple years ago. Instead, I gave him his cod liver oil with egg yolks, coconut oil, tallow, etc. which would provide him with a good amount of fat-soluble vitamins.
His health improved so much and so quickly that I couldn’t help recommending FCLO, WAPF, GAPS, and Paleo to almost anyone with a health issue. I’ve personally witnessed many friends and their children improve overall health by switching to real food diet, and experience positive benefits from taking the fermented cod liver oil. While I never had an issue with the smell or taste of the FCLO, perhaps because I’m a big fan of red herring, some of them complained about the taste or the smell. Not everyone is a fan of every food, though, so it didn’t seem strange to me. I personally can’t stand the smell of eggs.
FCLO is not a health product… wait, what???
With the release of the free e-book by Dr. Kaayla Daniel on August 22, 2015, I am forced to rethink recommending Green Pasture’s products. Are the products safe or is she slanderous? It may take some time to conclusively determine whether or not Green Pasture products are safe. There are some deeply concerning allegations being made, and while I am in no position to say who is right or who is wrong, I have read over the report and can offer you a summary so your family can make an informed decision whether or not you want to continue taking what product you’ve already purchased.
Here are the most troublesome allegations:
It is not possible to ferment fish livers
FCLO may be a rancid, putrefied oil
FCLO may not be cod liver oil after all, rather Alaskan Pollock or something else
The fish, whatever it may be, used for FCLO is from Alaska, not a special source
FCLO may be cut with low quality, inflammation-causing, trans-fatty vegetable oil
Butter oil may be rancid
Butter oil may be from Argentina, NOT the Northern Great Plains
Does the report support these allegations?
In order to determine whether or not the report’s initial findings are credible, we will take a look at a few points.
Is it possible to ferment fish?
Dr. Daniel’s report “Hook, Line and Stinker!: The Truth About Fermented Cod Liver Oil” states that FCLO cannot be a fermented product because the pH ranges from 5.8-6.2, which is not acidic enough to preserve the oil. It states the pH needs to be 4.6 or lower for a true ferment. She also states that carbohydrate is necessary for fermentation, and that the amount of glycogen, which can be a carbohydrate source for lactic acid bacteria (LABs), found in cod livers is minimal (Daniel, 2015, pg. 14).
Cultures for Health recommends a pH of 4.6-5.0 for fermenting meat and fish. They do corroborate that sugar and starter cultures may be necessary to feed the bacteria while the meat or fish cultures.
In the paper “Fermented Meat Products: Production and Consumption” by Ockerman and Basu of Ohio State University, the process of fermenting meat is explained. The paper expresses that “…whale, fish, rabbit, by-products and other tissue from a variety of species can be used to make fermented meat products.” It tells us how:
Lactic acid which accounts for the antimicrobial properties of fermented meats, originates from the natural conversion of glycogen reserves in the carcass tissues and from the added sugar during product fermentation… Glycogen in meat can also act as a carbohydrate source and contributes slightly to acidity.
In the same paper, we learn that a pH of 5.3 or less is optimal. 5.0 or lower is considered shelf-stable in the United States, while a pH above that requires refrigeration. In the section titled “Fermented products made from unusual animal parts,” we see that sun-drying is sometimes used as a method and “[t]he flavour is usually challenging.” We also see that
…pH for beef ranges from 5.5 to 5.7, for pork pH 5.7 to 5.9 [dark firm and dry pork (DFD) usually has a pH greater than 6.0-6.2 and pale, soft and exudative pork (PSE) usually has a pH 5.3-5.5)], and poultry pH ranges from 5.8 to 6.0. Beef, lamb, and pork have more saturated fat and less moisture… and therefore… are less susceptible to rancidity and off flavours… (Source)
While the paper does not address the livers taken from cod specifically, we see that there is a wide variety of pH ranges for fermented meat products and that rancidity cannot be determined from the pH alone, rather the composition of meat product(s) and processes used plays a role.
Kayla Grossman also researched fermented cod liver oil and found that it was a traditional process, get more information here.
Is FCLO rancid?
This greatly depends on who you ask. If the train of thought that cod livers can be safely fermented proves correct, then it may follow that the oil extracted is also safe for use.
Green Pasture has lab data showing that the oil is not rancid. However, Dr. Daniel states in her report that the measures used are not the correct measures for a fermented product. She says her new data suggests “…Green Pasture did not achieve non-rancid results by fraudulently submitting cleaner-than-usual samples or cod liver oil from his competitors” but rather “[they use] the wrong kind of testing for a long-term “fermented” product.” (Daniel, 2015, pg. 18-19)
The markers used for Green Pasture’s testing are Peroxide Value and p-Anisidine Value. Neither is very reliable. These are the same measures the report uses to label Butter Oil as rancid. The Total Oxidation value is found by multiplying the peroxide value by two and then adding the p-Anisidine value, and therefore is also considered unreliable when the results are within range for FCLO. Thiobarbituric acid tests are also considered unreliable, even though 1/3 labs found results that suggest rancidity (p. 21).
The markers Dr. Daniel suggests using are fatty acid levels and acid value. The fatty acid levels were found to be quite high: 16.2%-40.1%. The acid value (which is the fatty acid level multiplied by 1.99) were in turn found to be high, with a range of 32.3 mg/KOH/g – 79.8 mg/KOH/g. A normal fatty acid value is 3 mg KOH/g or less (p. 24).
What kind of oil is FCLO after all? And is it cut with inflammatory veggie oils?
The only lab that received a sample of Green Pasture’s cow lick to test concluded “[t]he liver is “100 percent Alaskan pollock” (p. 49). The cow lick is the fermented livers sans oil left over from FCLO production, so would most accurately tell us what kind of fish is actually used. Without receiving a cow lick sample, other parties could only analyse the data provided to determine what kind of fish FCLO may come from, as “DNA procedures do not work well with oils” (p. 48). Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy testing could only conclude that the fish used as “similar to cod, wild…” (p. 48). The EPA to DHA ratio leads to the conclusion that Arctic Cod is not the real fish, rather something else like Peruvian Cod or Alaskan Pollock, but more than likely the Alaskan Pollock (p. 46-47).
One of the most worrisome concerns is whether or not there is indeed inferior, inflammatory vegetable oils added to the product. Apparently, this can be done for antioxidant protection (p. 51). These are questions only further testing, or transparency from Mr. Wetzel, can answer once and for all.
What about high-vitamin butter oil (HVBO)? Is it rancid? From Argentina?
According to Daniel’s report, HVBO contained the highest vitamin K2 levels of the products tested, with a range of 393.84 ng/g – 431.11 ng/g. Next up was a high-quality, grass-fed ghee with a range of 324.36 ng/g – 335.70 ng/g. A competing brand of butter oil had levels of 250.65 ng/g – 259.89 ng/g. Other butter oils ranged from 196.37 ng/g – 263.70 ng/g. Other ghee samples ranged from 268.37 ng/g – 367.45 ng/g. All of the ghee samples contained around double the amount of K2 found in regular butter, or the equivalent of 1 egg yolk. In increasing order, soft cheeses, hard cheeses, goose liver pate, and natto all had significantly higher levels of K2 than Green Pasture’s butter oil (Daniel, 2015, pg. 66).
Dr. Daniel supposes that the activator, or “X factor,” that Dr. Price highly touted is not Vitamin K2. She says this because grass-fed butters also tested high in vitamin K2, and Dr. Price was specific that butter oil contained the activator and not plain butter. Her reasoning leads her to believe further testing is necessary to find out what’s different about butter oil that makes it work alongside cod liver oil so well (p. 68).
But is it rancid? From cross-referencing results of butter oil in the report (3.6 mEq/kg) with what Wikipedia says about rancidity levels, lab-wise it appears that it could be OK. “Peroxide values of fresh oils are less than 10 milliequivalents/kg; when the peroxide value is between 30* and 40 milliequivalents/kg, a rancid taste is noticeable.” (Source) Further research on the acceptable values for butter oil and similar milk products allow peroxide values ranging from 0.1-1.0, which means HVBO would be considered rancid for several different countries. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)
The p-Anisidine level for Butter Oil according to the report is 4.1. This source says that’s OK “[f]or fish oils the p-Anisidine value must be lower than 30, in other sectors less than 10 AV is required.” (Source)
Is it from cows grazing on pasture in Argentina? Dr. Daniel supposedly has conclusive evidence that the butter is imported from Argentina.
What About the Vitamin Content?
It appears that there has actually been major inflation of the content of Vitamin A and D in the fermented cod liver oil. The lab providing the high results uses a unique method known as High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) that utilizes ultra-violet light detection and does not produce results that can be replicated. The lab’s method of testing and analysis may be quack science (Daniel, 2015, pg. 35-36).
What about fermented foods in general?
I found it interesting reading the following quote:
It’s also a myth that Dr. Price found healthy people in primitive cultures eating lots of fermented foods. The truth is he mentioned fermentation only twice in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration… Dr. Price rarely mentioned fermentation in his other writings either. (Daniel, 2015, pg. 57)
Is there an anti-fermentation movement going on? An anti-WAPF movement? Certainly ferments in general are not under attack as well? Whether Dr. Price mentioned ferments or not does not take away the incredible health benefits they confer.
Who Can We Trust?
We are all waiting to hear what Dave Wetzel from Green Pasture and Sally Fallon and the rest of the Weston A. Price Foundation have to say. It will take them some time to pour through the research. Additional testing and a fair amount of transparency from Mr. Wetzel may be warranted. I know many of us want this to be a bad dream. We want to wake up tomorrow and know with certainty that this product we may have been taking and giving to our loved ones for years is nothing short of a miracle food. There aren’t many guarantees in life, but when we make a choice for the betterment of our health based on plenty of seemingly credible research and positive anecdotes, we very much want it to be true.
Will Dave and the WAPF gang give us unbiased, credible information? Can Dr. Daniel’s findings be trusted? Dr. Ron was quick to pull Green Pasture’s products, but at the end of Dr. Daniel’s report we find that he, along with other WAPF members, helped fund her research. She does say she advised she would publish her report regardless of her findings, but other sources say she seemed dead-set on finding Green Pasture’s products unworthy.
Are there any positives?
The report is preliminary, and further investigation is necessary. The report found that the product is not contaminated by unwanted bacteria, perhaps because it is an oil with low moisture content (p. 9). This would, of course, also explain why counts of beneficial bacteria are low in the product, even if they were in the ferment prior to extracting the oil. There does not seem to be antibiotic contamination or added vitamin E, either (p. 43).
If the fish is Alaskan Pollock, it is a relatively clean and sustainable fish unlike “most true cod liver oils requir[ing] extensive processing to reduce toxicity” (p. 51).
There are still thousands of people who have had positive results from taking the fermented cod liver oil. While this does not mean one should continue taking an inferior product if these allegations are found to be true, it does mean there is little need to worry about what is already done. It still can’t possibly be as bad as cooking with inferior oils.
Majority of the testing found the levels of biogenic amines extremely low, including histamine. One lab’s results “showed extremely high levels of tyramine, tryptamine, putrescine, phenyletylamine and cadaverine” and Dr. Daniel says it is a mystery but Green Pasture may be using better processes now as only an older sample showed worrisome levels (pg. 31-32).
There also wasn’t any trace of antibiotics or GMOs found in the butter oil, so regardless of origin it likely is really from healthy cows on pasture (p. 68).
What Should We Do Now?
Many of us are deeply disturbed by Dr. Kaayla Daniel’s findings on fermented cod liver oil. I want to remind you that it is a supplement, not an essential. If you have concerns, stop taking it and instead opt for wild-caught fish, pastured liver, egg yolks, tallow, lard, ghee etc. If you can do dairy, raw milk kefir is an excellent option (so are other fermented foods such as hard cheeses, sauerkraut and natto!). I am closely following this topic, and will update on the Facebook page as soon as more information becomes available.
Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts, I’d love to hear how this news has affected you and your family.