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how clean is your colon
In naturopathic medicine it is generally accepted that health, or lack of it, begins in the colon.
Fresh, natural food, combined with good water intake, stress that's easily dealt with and a lack of toxins ensures good colon/intestinal health. Achieving, and maintaining, this kind of lifestyle in tandem with fulltime work, family and social life is of course a little difficult...
By the time most of us are in our twenties our colons will be showing the strain. First, a build up of waste material (impacted faeces, dead cellular tissue and accumulated mucous) will begin to adhere to the intestinal walls. This poses two main problems, first is the sheer toxity of this material (generally known as colon plaque), it sticks to the intestinal walls leaking poisons into the bloodstream to be deposited in several internal organs such as the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, and in the lymphatic system.
Second, the build up of plaque impairs the colons ability to absorb nutrients and good bacteria and to reabsorb water. Unhealthy pathogens such as fungi, viral material and bad bacteria, as well as parasites and worms, will thrive in this environment, and as mentioned above, eventually leak out into the body.
Also this build of waste and slow transit of material through the intestines leads to sluggish digestion and chronic constipation or diarrhoea.
How can I tell if I have toxic material in my colon?
General signs are:
- Chronic constipation or diarrhoea
- Skin breakouts/skin conditions that don't clear
- Excessive wind
- Yeast/ fungal problems
- Bad breath/body odour not alleviated by good hygiene
- Chronic tiredness
- Cramps or pain after eating
As gut functioning worsens and other organs begin to suffer symptoms will worsen and long-term health problems will appear, some of the warning signs are as follows:
- Fluid retention
- Joint pain and swelling
- Mild depression and irritability
- Poor concentration
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Nausea and furry tongue
- Frequent infections
- Sensitivity to chemicals
- Increasing food sensitivities
- Feeling "hung over" all the time
- Blocked sinuses
- Chronic catarrh and runny nose
- Weight gain that won't shift
Of course it could be argued that many of these symptoms will have other reasons (some of them of course emotional stress) and that may well be true but the fact remains that without good colon health clearing the above symptoms will take longer - if indeed many of them do clear. For instance many sufferers of IBS end up avoiding certain foods and take medications, natural or otherwise and often treat IBS as if it's a life sentence when in fact it is a condition that's entirely curable.
Why does the colon seem more important than other organs of elimination?
It processes a lot of material every day and when this is impaired problems begin; throughout history it has been shown that cleansing the colon leads to greater health of the whole body. In fact if you are embarking on a detoxification programme that does not start with colon cleansing you will at best merely feel quite unwell. At worst many toxins released by other parts of the body will circulate round the bloodstream not being dealt with properly as the colon may be too impacted to eliminate the poisons.
It has also been found that over 50% of the body's immune system is housed in the colon. When the walls are impacted with sticky, hardening plaque this begins to break down. When we clear the colon our immunity receives a massive boost.
Another boost the colon receives is that the healthy, helpful bacteria in our guts can multiply again; two of the obvious benefits of this are that it prevents a candida (fungal) overgrowth and greatly enhances our digestion.
I will end this article with a few facts about digestive health in the UK today:
- 23% of UK cancer deaths are cancers of the digestive tract
- As a nation we now eat shockingly lower levels of fruit and vegetables than we did a few decades ago
- 12% (64,000) of deaths a year are officially linked to the digestive tract
- The recommended level of fibre intake in the UK is 18g per day; though this figure is actually quite low the average intake is only about 12g per day. Studies have shown that when we increase this to 40g a day our entire quality of life improves - not just our toilet habits!
- A third of our population at some point will have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- The healthy transit time for food through our digestive system is less than 24 hours. In the UK now it is now about 58 hours for men and 70 hours for women.
- The UK is the most constipated nation in the world
- Studies have shown that corrective diet and management could prevent 80% of bowel cancers