Over-the-counter medicines commonly used in the UK can raise dementia risk by more than 50%

By 2050, the number of cases of dementia worldwide is expected to triple to over 150 million. What is worrying is that what you put into your body can increase your chances of developing a brain disease. A new study suggests that regular use of a popular drug can raise the risk by more than 50 percent.

Whether you find solace in a boring, beige diet or forget to top up your water throughout the day, constipation can be caused by a variety of lifestyle habits.

In addition, medications and rarely even medical conditions can be to blame.

Once you find yourself unable to visit the toilet for a second visit, you may want to find a quick solution in the form of laxatives.

However, a new study published in the journal Neurology cautions against taking these popular drugs.

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The study shows that people who frequently use laxatives have a more than 50 percent higher risk of developing dementia.

The results also showed that people who used only osmotic laxatives, which draw water to the colon, were even more at risk.

To make matters worse, the latest figures show that around 13.9 million packs of laxatives were sold in the UK in 2016, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Study author Dr. Feng Sha said: “Constipation and the use of laxatives are common among middle-aged and older people.

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“However, regular laxative use can alter the gut microbiome, possibly by affecting the transmission of nerve signals from the gut to the brain or by increasing the production of gut toxins that can affect the brain.”

The study involved more than 502,000 people from the UK Biobanks database, with a median age of 57, who did not have dementia at the start of the study.

About 18,235 people in the study group reported regular use of over-the-counter laxatives.

Regular use was defined as taking a laxative most days of the week during the month prior to the study.

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After a 10-year follow-up, the researchers found that 218 of those who regularly took the medication developed dementia.

Of those who did not take laxatives regularly, around 1969 people developed a mind-stealing condition.

After adjusting the data for factors such as age, gender, other medical conditions, etc., the research team found that regular users of laxatives had a 51% higher risk of general dementia than people who did not take them regularly.

It is alarming that this risk also increased with more types of laxatives used.

People who took one type of drug had a 28% increased risk compared to a 90% increased risk in people who took two or more types.

However, only people taking osmotic laxatives had an increased risk among those using only one type.

Dr Sha added: “More research is needed to further explore the link found by our study between laxatives and dementia.

“If our findings are confirmed, healthcare professionals could encourage people to treat constipation by making lifestyle changes, such as drinking more water, increasing dietary fiber, and adding more activity to their daily lives.”

In addition, the research team emphasized that their study does not prove that laxatives cause dementia, but merely shows a link.

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