It’s almost hard to believe (and yet not) how many people, adults and children, are affected by constipation. In fact, I’ve already written about natural constipation remedies for toddlers, and Miralax just isn’t safe (even though it’s the “norm” for constipated little ones)! Find out from our MD guest why is the best natural remedy for constipation and what form to give children.
When my mom heard on TV that a good, healthy poop is a “brown banana” that’s about 18 inches to 2 feet long, one piece, her eyes were wide like saucers!
Now you can’t believe everything you hear on TV (or read on the Internet, ahem) but that IS a decent indication of good digestion. I’m sure there are other variations on healthy bowel movements, since we are unique human beings after all, but a nice, long brown banana would be good to see a few times a day.
I’m not a doctor nor medically trained, but I’m thrilled to host Dr. Wiggy Saunders, an MD who founded Raise Them Well with his wife Emily. They make natural products to help kids stay healthy and also do a lot of educating for parents. Of course this is not intended to be medical advice and you should check with your own doctor before treating your children.
Here’s what he has to say about constipation, Miralax, and magnesium:
MD Speaks on Problems and Causes of Child Constipation
Constipation causes all sorts of problems.
If your child is having a difficult time with regular bowel movements, you know how much this affects their quality of life. Constipation can cause abdominal pain, bloating, lack of appetite not to mention irritability, behavior changes and even bed-wetting. (RELATED: Successfully Curing an Older Child of Bed-Wetting)
If you’re curious just WHAT it means to be constipated, check these symptoms and compare to what you see in your child.
As an Integrative Medicine physician, my job is to look for the root cause of the problem and a lot of times problems start in the gut. Having a functioning digestive system is key when trying to improve an individual’s overall health. Because without a good gut, the rest of the body will suffer.
With the back up of waste from constipation, a plethora of problems can result. It is the breeding ground for bad bugs (dysbiosis), yeast overgrowth (candida), and recirculates toxins that need to be eliminated from the body. (RELATED: My experience healing a candida rash and How to determine candida symptoms)
One of the first things that we need to do to improve gut function is to get things moving.
Is Miralax a Safe Constipation Solution for Kids?
Unfortunately, what we are taught in medical school is to use Miralax first, and if that doesn’t work, to refer to a Gastroenterologist. The more I learn about Miralax, the less comfortable I am in giving it to my kids. As Dr. Mercola writes:
Miralax is advertised as natural. It’s described as a tool to pull water into your colon so your gut can eliminate naturally. But there’s nothing natural about Miralax, as its active ingredient polyethylene glycol is a petroleum derivative. In essence, it’s plastic.
What’s more, Miralax is not approved for use in children. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved it for adult usage and even then only for seven days at a time.
FDA Looking into Miralax More Starting in 2008
In 2008, the FDA tested eight batches of Miralax because “many of the reported adverse events were classic symptoms of ethylene glycol ingestion.” Ethylene glycol (EG) and diethylene glycol (DEG) are ingredients in antifreeze so, in other words, the government tested the laxative after receiving reports of children exhibiting symptoms of antifreeze poisoning following their use.
In September 2014 the FDA awarded a nearly $325,000 grant to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to study whether PEG 3350 is absorbed by the very young and whether it contributes to the development of psychiatric problems. Among the adverse events reported, many of them are neurological in nature. According to the FDA:
“Neuropsychiatric adverse events [in children using PEG products] may include seizures, tremors, tics, headache, anxiety, lethargy, sedation, aggression, rages, obsessive-compulsive behaviors including repetitive chewing and sucking, paranoia, and mood swings.”
Miralax Risks for Kids in the News
Katie popping in – there are plenty of others talking about the risks of Miralax for kids as well. In 2017 the story broke wide open; Mercola was ahead of the times in 2015.
- CBS News and ABC News shared the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s study showing Miralax may induce anger, rage, and paranoia
- POPsugar reported on neurological effects.
- Steve Hodges, MD, bedwetting expert and pediatric gastroenterologist, shares studies saying Miralax is perfectly safe, but he also says, “I wish I never had to prescribe it,” in this Parents.com article. He has recommended long-term use of Miralax for years.
- Cook Children’s Hospital confirms what Dr. Hodges says.
Most recommendations for treating constipation begin and end with drinking more fluid, eating more vegetables and whole grains, and possibly enemas and laxatives. (See here, here and here for what common culture says. Even this very helpful post on natural remedies for constipation mostly focuses on foods to avoid and getting more fiber.)
People just aren’t talking about Dr. Wiggy’s solution enough! Read on!
As you can see Miralax is a less than ideal solution. That’s why we made something better.
We are on a mission to improve the health of children and families through toxic free products. We couldn’t find a safe, natural alternative for bowel regularity. So, we did our research and found something that I believe can work even better.
I am always grateful for the community at Kitchen Stewardship – it’s like having the smartest natural moms in the world all living right next door. I’ve compiled the best natural remedies for 12 of the most commonly discussed ailments here at KS, and am making this resource available for free to all my readers!
Imagine this ebook as a virtual chat over the backyard fence with your own neighbor, a wise older mom who raised a bunch of kids with intention, trying to avoid unnecessary medication and being kind to the earth.
Does Magnesium Help With Constipation?
It all started when we came across a study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology that was evaluating the safety of Magnesium Oxide in kids with constipation. There were several things in this article that made me think that we were on to something:
How Magnesium can Help Constipation in Kids
Our goal was to develop a Magnesium powdered drink that is safe, effective, and great-tasting. The first two are relatively easy: we knew based on the study and additional research that using Magnesium Oxide as the active ingredient would be both safe and effective. The most challenging part was making it taste great so that kids would love drinking it.
I wouldn’t recommend taking or drinking Magnesium Oxide by itself as it tastes like a mix between chalk and baking powder. Needless to say, your kids aren’t going drink straight magnesium oxide powder, no matter how constipated they are.
We tested sample after sample to find the right combination of texture, flavor, and sweetness using only natural ingredients.
It took us close to a year in development, but we feel that the final product is going to be a game changer for kids’ digestion.
Natural Laxatives for Kids
- Magnesium Oxide in the studied dose (600mg)
- Vitamin C
- natural flavors (so that your kids will actually want to drink it)
Beta testers find that it works wonders!
“My little guy has had trouble with regular bowel movements and Mag-Go works! Not only is it effective, he loves drinking it as it tastes like berry Kool-Aid, but without the junk.”
Adapted with permission from Dr. Wiggy Saunders; originally published in its full form here. Images used with permission from Raise them Well.
Get Mag-Go for 15% Off!
Try it for yourself – get Mag-Go here with the coupon KSMAGGO for 15% off (one time use per family). The discount code is entered after you click “checkout” and go to the second page of the shopping cart.
For kids who have trouble with regular bowel movements, I know this product will be a God-send. Add it to a few other natural methods for constipation and you’ll have smooth sailing! 😉
And besides that, studies continue to show that most Americans are deficient in magnesium anyway, so this is a supplement that will have positive ramifications beyond just potty time!
Author bio: Wiggy Saunders, M.D., is an Integrative Medicine Physician in Winston-Salem, North Carolina who specializes in hypothyroidism and other complex medical conditions. He is board certified in Family Medicine and practices Integrative Medicine. He has helped thousands of patients regain health through an integrative, holistic approach. Dr. Wiggy has been featured on The Doctors, The Huffington Post, WXII News 12 and more. He’s the co-founder of Raise Them Well along with Robinhood Integrative Health, his clinic, serving over 14,000 patients. He is also on the advisory board for the National Fibromyalgia Association.