Question About Transitioning Away From Fiber Supplement
Although this is my first post, I've been reading the forum voraciously over the past few months. I've read a ton of posts covering bowel movements, fiber, and digestion from BestBetter, quelsen, Paleobird, and many others. I also have Mark's PBP book and have been reading through his definitive guides on everything from fat to fitness.
I'm hoping you'll give me some advice regarding making the transition from fiber. Here's the scoop...
I currently take 30 grams of psyllium husk each day to avoid constipation the following day. I realize doing so is stupid and want to stop taking it altogether. My question is, how would you make the transition? Cold turkey or a gradual reduction (25 grams the first week, 20 grams the second week, and so on)?
I have purchased the Now brand of Vitamin C powder (ascorbic acid) and magnesium citrate powder, though I have yet to use either product (change is scary). I'm also slowly introducing more animal fats and fats from ghee, coconut oil, grass-fed butter (KerryGold), and olive oil into my diet.
If you were in my shoes, what approach would you take? And if you've been through a similar process, would you give me some advice from your experience? I'd be in your debt.
Last edited by Anarchist; 09-05-2013 at 10:26 AM.
Reason: for clarity
Either way, your gut is going to need help acclimating. Start incorporating the helpful supplements and such ASAP, even if you go gradual with the fiber reduction. You have a full week to sort out each change (or as long as you need) before moving on to another reduction.
According to gutsense.org, Vitamin C powder should be buffered so as not to flush all your electrolytes. I don't know how the NOW vitamin C powder would work, I have only used this one. I used it for several months, but am now using magnesium citrate (200-400 mg depending on my needs). The Vit C powder seemed to stop working at some point. To start with, try 1/4 teaspoon. Every 4 hrs, while awake, take another dose. Next day, increase to 1/2 teaspoon at each dose. The goal is to keep bowel movements comfortable & easy to pass. You can increase the dose up over 10 g per day total if you need to. If you take too much, you'll have loose stools, so just back off a little on the total amount of the day until you find a good amount. That may mean making one dose smaller than the others.
With magnesium citrate, it was advised to me to take 200 mg at every meal, and increase if needed. You could do the same thing with magnesium instead of the Vitamin C powder, but I'm not sure how the doses would differ. I know you can take many grams of Vitamin C in a day and it's not dangerous in the least, but I have no idea about magnesium.
What's your diet like? I would recommend making bone broth & chicken soup to have some easily digestible nutrition foods on hand while your gut recovers. Keep in mind this is going to take a while.
I'd say just stop cold turkey--guts change rapidly in response to food. If you have 'issues' add some back in, but slowly going off is probably overkill.
@namelesswonder - Thanks very much for your advice. I've read through gutsense.org, but definitely missed the fact that Vitamin C should be "buffered." That's good to know.
Regarding my diet, I'm eating the following on a near-daily basis: cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes, ribeye (in a medium-sized salad), and ice cream. (The ice cream is like a drug. I'm trying to kick it.) I've been reading about bone broth. I still need to learn how to get the bones and make the broth. I considered buying it from U.S. Wellness (link), but they're expensive for an ongoing source.
I also bought the Align probiotic from Amazon (link), but have not started taking it yet. I suspect the 30 grams of psyllium husk is giving me gas and causing bloating, so I don't want to overwhelm my gut flora until the fiber is out of my diet. I've also bought kimchi and sauerkraut, but am holding off on both for the same reasons.
Introducing magnesium citrate is scarier to me than Vitamin C, largely because of quelsen's description of the effects (explosive comes to mind). I know I need to identify my bowel tolerance to avoid an "unfortunate event."
Incidentally, you're one of the folks I've read tons of posts from. I could picture your avatar in my mind, but could not recall your screen name. Thanks again!
Last edited by Anarchist; 09-05-2013 at 11:08 AM.
Bone broth is easy, don't worry about the source right now. You can get bones at the super market or a butcher for pretty cheap, or just make chicken. Here's a basic idea: Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth | Award-Winning Paleo Recipes | Nom Nom Paleo
The SCD Intro Diet Chicken Soup: How to Make it Right and Why You Should Eat It!
This is the chicken soup recipe I'd recommend. You can make it on the stove top in a pot, or a slow cooker. Either way, it takes 4 hrs. The collagen in the chicken skin would be very good for you gut. You can also supplement gelatin (mix it in a flavored hot beverage to mask the smell/taste) for the same effect.
Vitamin C and mag citrate can both have explosive effects. They act as laxatives in the same way. With both, you'll need to take it easy to increase the dose and find one that works for you. I got the tips on both from quelsen . It might be wise to start on a weekend or day off to find your optimal dose. Just don't start very high and you are unlikely to have any accidents if you increase slowly. Do expect not to poop every day while you sort this out, but your gut will catch up when it's ready. I used epsom salts in case of emergency (5 days or longer without BM). It tastes nasty, but is fairly hide-able in apple cider!
With sauerkraut, start by just drinking the juice from it (might want to look into making your own). I would say start this as soon as you stop taking the fiber. Cabbage can make people gassy anyway, but the juice has plenty of good bugs in it. I'm not familiar with the probiotic you mentioned. I'm still working on getting a good dietary source of probiotics in for myself. I never resorted to fiber, but I've been dealing with chronic constipation for the past year+.
Cutting the ice cream habit (just tell yourself it's for a month to start with) is probably a good idea while you're healing. You can assess later if dairy is a problem for you.