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How to Optimize Your Colon Health

Why Is the Health of the Colon So Important?

The large intestine is also known as the colon. The health and proper functioning of the colon is crucial to the excretion of waste. Bowel movements must happen daily. Any constipation allows time for the toxins in stagnant excrement to be reabsorbed into the body. Toxic waste includes pesticides, hormones, antibiotics in animal feed, and carcinogenic agents in the air we breathe.

Physical health and behavioral issues are both affected by toxic reabsorption. There are neurotransmitters, or brain messengers, that are affected by toxins in the bowel. These brain signaling chemicals include adrenaline, norepinephrine and serotonin. This can cause anxiety, moodiness, irritability, fatigue, the inability to concentrate, and much more. The large intestine also absorbs minerals necessary for our health. An improperly working colon causes nutrient deficiencies.

What To Do

Dehydration and a lack of fiber in the diet can slow down the process of elimination causing constipation. Plenty of pure water is crucial, as is fiber. When the digestive tract is healthy fiber is essential to keep things moving. If digestion is already not moving fiber can make it worse.

When constipation is an issue there are some healthy, safe supplement choices to assist such as:

Probiotics are a great choice. They naturally help regulate the bowels.

Aloe leaf

Magnesium pulls water into the bowel and relaxes the smooth muscle to assist excretion.

Enzymes

-Vitamin C

Some high fiber foods are flax, chia seeds, fruit, especially berries, prunes, apples with the skin on, green leafy vegetables, oat bran, and brown rice. Be sure to avoid binding foods such as gluten, cheese and red meat.

Authored by Karen Thomas, CEO and founder of Naturally Healing Autism. 

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What Does a Colitis Diagnosis Mean?

Large Intestine

While there are many intestinal diseases, viruses, and disorders, colitis is a little different. Simply put, colitis is an irritation that causes the colon to become inflamed. Colitis can be a result of Crohn’s Disease, but isn’t quite the same. Both Crohn’s and colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases, but the difference is that Crohn’s can impact any part of the entire gastrointestinal tract while colitis is limited to the colon, caecum, and rectum.

Treatment plans are tailored to what may be causing your colitis. It’s important to ask your doctor what your options are and be ready to do some trial and error work. Some of the best treatment plans include using medication and a regulated diet, but of course not all diets and medications work the same on every patient.

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Inflammation and Colon Health

Inflammation and Colon Health is very Important.

Dr. Ron Jahner

Dr. Ron Jahner

One of the key factors in colon health is the onset and perpetuation of inflammation in

the digestive tract. The body’s digestive system is a primary target organ for all types of stress. This is primarily because the moment the body perceives high stress levels, it shuts down digestion and healing processes to conserve resources for dealing with those stresses. This is the “Grizzly Bear” effect I speak about so often.

Additional insults to the digestive system occur with intake of excess dairy, simple carbohydrates and fatty foods. Most so-called “junk” foods are very stressful to the system and contribute little nutritionally. Even worse, one of the most significant problems with processed foods is the almost universal lack of natural fiber. Fiber is considered an “inert” ingredient in food and, because it adds a lot of weight (consider the difference in density of white bread and heavy-fiber traditional rye or oat bread!),   food is routinely stripped of fiber to make it easier to ship and process.

Lack of fiber, in turn, contributes to slow bowel motility. Foods stay in the gut far too long and begin to ferment and rot. This results in gas, indigestion and chronic constipation. Many physicians have never been trained in basic nutrition concepts and are unaware how dangerous to long-term health chronic constipation can be. In fact, it is not unusual to hear doctors tell their patients that “one or two bowel movements a week is probably just normal for you”! It’s not normal to have less than at least one or two bowel movements daily!!

This epidemic of chronic constipation leads to any number of health issues including, chronic inflammation of the digestive tract and multiple indigestion and nutrient absorption issues.

It is especially critical to have a bowel movement shortly after awakening in the morning. Healthier people have 2 or 3 daily, often after meals. If constipation is an issue for you, what can you do?

What to do for Constipation?

First of all, take a hard look at your hydration. Adequate intake of fluids, especially plain, pure water, is vital to digestive health. I recommend a quart or liter of water daily for each 50 pounds of body weight. And that is water, not coffee, tea or juices (other than fresh vegetable juice with apple or pineapple). Drink adequate amounts of water is the first line of defense in repairing and preventing inflammation and deterioration of the digestive tract due to constipation.

If your digestive tract is already inflamed, consider a “crock-pot” diet. Soft cooked foods and fresh vegetable juices for 3-6 weeks to allow your digestive tract to heal with a minimum of irritation. Be careful with salads and other rough, raw foods until you heal.

The same for any extra fiber or bowel supplements you take. There are many excellent ones available. I prefer ones that emphasize soluble fiber. Psyllium works really well for constipation and it is inexpensive but it can also be harsh, like the raw salad mentioned above. Oat fiber, okra, slippery elm bark are great fibers which are more soothing. In fact, adding a few large spoonfuls or half a cup of any of these in the soups above is an excellent way to increase fiber without irritation.

Magnesium is almost universally deficient in people with chronic illness. The best source is dark green veggies. Supplements can also be useful because they help relax the nervous system and function as a laxative as you go to higher doses. Take a dose at breakfast and a double dose in the evening to encourage that morning bowel movement.

A very useful clinical indicator of bowel toxicity is the Urinary Indican Test. In my experience, the Indican urine test is an excellent introductory or screening test for chronic bowel issues. It can also be useful to monitor ongoing bowel toxicity. Indican is produced by bowel byproducts, particularly toxins such as excess lectins from incomplete protein digestion, showing up in the kidneys. In other words, it means your bowel is toxic enough that the kidneys have to filter digestive tract toxins instead of the bowel excreting them. Also, note that tryptophan, your relaxation amino acid, is the key protein not being handled properly. Another reason excess stress is such a vital factor in digestive tract health.

And, always, always, always take appropriate probiotics. Even several times daily in severe or chronic cases of indigestion and constipation.

Unresolved inflammation and digestive tract symptoms are at the heart of many, if not most chronic health issues. Regular bowel habits and digestive tract supplementation goes a long way to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

In good health,
Ron Jahner

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