Colon and Intestinal Cleansing

The Intestinal System and Your Health

To understand the importance of your colon and intestines for good health one first needs to understand how the digestive system works. Digestion is not simply the processing of food, but rather starts in the mouth before food even enters it, and ends with the expulsion of fecal matter. If any part of the digestive process is impaired or slowed down, this can lead to a variety of health problems and discomforts. Many people suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis, fatigue, weight problems, bloating, flatulence, and skin problems, not realizing that it is their intestine and colon that are to blame. In fact digestive/bowel problems can cause nutritional deficiency, constipation, build up of toxic waste and even colon cancer if not addressed.

Read on below to find out how your digestive system works and how to achieve better colon health and a subsequently happier, healthier you as well.

The Digestive Process

Digestion begins with the thought of food. Your mouth begins to salivate, perhaps even doubling the amount of saliva production, with the simple idea of food ingestion. The increased saliva helps you to chew and swallow. Thoroughly chewing your food is one of the easiest and most basic ways of improving the digestive process. In chewing, the food breaks down into smaller particles facilitating the enzymes’ (chemical food processors) ability to penetrate the food, and access the otherwise hidden nutrients.

Once swallowed, food passes through the esophogus and enters into the stomach. The stomach mixes the food with its own gastric acids, further breaking it down to pass into the small intestine. For comfortable digestion to occur the stomach lining should be secreting a certain amount of acid at precisely the right time. A change in the acid levels (either secreting too much or too little) can cause indigestion, heartburn, or reflux, to name a few.

In the small intestine most digested food, as well as water and minerals, are absorbed. Specialized cells allow the nutrients to be absorbed through the walls of the small intestine and into the blood, where they are transported through the bloodstream for storage and use throughout the body.

The remaining undigested parts of the food and older cells that have been shed from the mucosa (stomach tissue lining) are then pushed into the colon, where they remain until the feces are expelled by a bowel movement.

Colon Functions

While little digestion occurs in the colon, it does not lessen its importance in the digestive process. In fact the well known phrase “your body is only as healthy as your colon,” is very accurate. The colon has several very important functions, all of which can affect the overall health of the body.

The most important function of the colon is to regulate water balance throughout the body. Once food has been stripped of its nutrients and finds its way into the colon, the colon absorbs all of the excess water. On the other hand if the food is lacking the sufficient amount of water to be released from the colon, the colon then supplies the fecal matter with water to prevent constipation.

A healthy colon also exhibits a large amount of friendly bacteria, known in the nutritional world as flora. This group of bacteria is largely comprised of lactobacillus acidophilus, which manufacture vitamins (B12, biotin and vitamin K), degrade toxins, prevent colonization by pathogens, crowd out other less beneficial species, stimulate the immune system and produce short chain fatty acids from fiber, which are the primary energy source for the cells lining the colon.

The Effect of Dysfunctional Intestines and Colon on Your Health

If the transport of food through the large intestine is too sluggish, toxins and bacteria in food which were purposely avoided in the small intestine will likely be absorbed through the large intestine wall, wreaking havoc on your system. This dysfunctional process is known as the “leaky gut syndrome.”

Leaky gut syndrome, as the name suggests, means that molecules of partially digested food pass into the bloodstream. Normally these food molecules would be blocked by the small intestines’ selective absorption processes, but because the intestines have been slowed down there is too much waste in its tract and the intestinal wall loses its ability to distinguish the small, good molecules from the larger, bad ones.

What does this mean exactly? Well, your intestine is allowing potentially harmful or toxic matter to cross over the intestinal wall, enter into the blood stream, and essentially disrupt healthy systems throughout your body. These disruptions include nutritional deficiencies, increased absorption of toxins, and impairment of the gut’s immune function and liver function.

If left to continue long term many experts believe these affects can result in debilitating diseases among which are:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Lupus
  • Thyroiditis

Those of you suffering from leaky gut syndrome are likely suffering from one or many of the following symptoms: bloating, flatulence and/or abdominal discomfort.

Maintaining a Healthy Colon and Intestines

The first and foremost secret to maintaining an active bowel is a diet high in fiber, which can come from fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fiber is passed through the digestion tract untouched until it reaches the colon and is put to work. Here it is stripped down to provide the bulk that keeps the bowels moving regularly. A healthy bowel moves from one to three times a day.
Another not-so-secret tip is to increase your water intake. Water makes up over three quarters of your body’s system and is to your body like oil is to your car: essential. Water is a naturally hydrating and cleansing liquid, and by increasing your daily water consumption the body can more effectively flush fecal matter, deadly toxins, hydrate the cells and maintain your immune system in top order.

Ways of Detoxing your Colon and Intestines

While the human body has a natural predisposition to be self-healing and balanced, once left to become dysfunctional through eating and lifestyle habits the body is often unable to correct itself on its own. Individuals suffering from degenerative diseases, chronic illness, and a general feeling of illness are quite likely victims of a sick bowel.

Many advocates of alternative health therapies suggest colon detoxing as a way of overcoming these illnesses by combating them at the root cause- the colon and intestines- in a more natural approach.

Detoxing your colon and intestines can be done in a variety of different ways:

Colon Cleansing – This detoxing method most commonly involves the changing of your diet coupled with the use of detoxing supplements that help to cleanse the intestine and colon area. This regime usually takes a minimum commitment of 2 weeks and for great colon health is recommended to be done 3-4 times a year (not exceeding 4). This procedure will undoubtedly see an increase in bowel movements as the body releases fecal matter that has built up over time.

Colon Hydrotherapy – This procedure gently fills the colon with warm sterile filtered water through a small tube inserted in the rectum. When the water is flushed out, it carries with it any material that has built up in the intestine (colon), waste matter, toxins and trapped gases.

Enemas – Similar to a laxative the enema is used as a bowel stimulant and is used to relieve constipation or to cleanse the lower bowel. Most enemas can be done in the privacy of your own home and are pre-packaged sodium phosphate solutions.

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