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  • Writer's pictureDr. Norm Dawson

Laxatives and Dementia: An Unseen Connection?

Welcome to the world of brain health where we uncover the most unexpected links to dementia. Today's trivia? Your daily dose of laxatives might just be fogging up your brain! Let's put it more bluntly - are you pooping your way to dementia? Strange, isn't it? But stick around as we delve into this peculiar connection.

Recent research published in the esteemed journal Neurology has unveiled a curious correlation between the regular use of over-the-counter laxatives and an increased risk of dementia. According to this study, people who used laxatives most days for a minimum of a month were facing a 51% higher risk of dementia compared to those who didn't partake in regular laxative consumption. And here's the kicker, if you're juggling two or more types of laxatives, your risk escalates by a staggering 90%.

The study's extensive reach, including over 18,000 participants, unearthed that the risk escalated with the usage of osmotic laxatives, which function by luring water into the colon to soften the stool, facilitating its passage. However, the same didn't hold for other laxative types.

Now, don't flush down your laxatives just yet. The study, while shedding light on a previously unseen association, didn't establish a cause-effect relationship. The results might have been influenced by missing information such as dosage details of the laxatives used.

Heather Snyder, PhD, vice president of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer's Association, remarked on the findings as 'interesting', illuminating a potential connection between our gut and brain health. However, she was quick to point out the study's limitations, highlighting the necessity for further research to substantiate these findings.

Snyder stressed the importance of discussing laxative usage with a healthcare provider, balancing the potential risks and benefits while exploring alternative constipation relief methods like increasing dietary fiber and hydration levels.

The authors of the study indicated that these findings hold significant public health implications. Considering the frequent use of laxatives to manage the widespread issue of constipation among seniors, more research is needed to comprehend the potential risks and benefits of laxative use, and to uncover alternative strategies for constipation management.

In a nutshell, this study is a stark reminder of the intricate interconnectedness of our body's systems and how what we consume can have extensive impacts on our overall health and wellbeing. While we're still far from a definitive answer, the study reinforces the need to pay attention to gut health and adopt measures to support it, be it through dietary alterations, lifestyle modifications, or other interventions.

For more information on gut-brain health and dementia prevention, drop a direct message to For a FREE 2-page PDF detailing 12 modifiable risk factors for dementia, click on this link.


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