Bowel Irregularity - Freedom of Movement --- Original Article by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN
flax seed constipation, magnesium and bowel irregularity, essential fatty acids and constipation, yoghurt recipe, leaky gut syndrome, intestinal permeability, Dr. Leo Galland bowel health, vitamin lady writes about bowel health
Our bodies are not designed to keep that stuff inside. They are designed to eliminate "toxic waste" at regular intervals, and this for good reason: hanging on to it because of bowel irregularity can be the root cause of serious health problems.
Defeating bowel irregularity (Constipation) is a basic part of health . Slow transit through the intestine leads to the re-absorption of substances that the body needs to rid itself of, to include carcinogenic toxins, hormone metabolites, cholesterol and some fats. This means that constipation predisposes to lowered energy, hormonal imbalances, to include hormone related cancers, high cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as polyps, and colon cancer itself. As you can see, it is hard to exaggerate the importance of proper bowel function.
The problem starts in the stomach: if our digestive system is not operating efficiently at that level, the chyme that enters our colon is not properly broken down, and is not at the proper pH for optimal functioning of the colon. Two things follow: the colon is stressed and loses both form and function, bowel irregularity follows, and toxins are re-absorbed into our lymph and circulatory systems, leading to disease. Another risk is that waste matter will be retained and deposited along the wall of the colon leading to malabsorption and inflammation. This means it can be immaterial how nutritious a diet you are eating, or how many excellent vitamins you are taking: you will still feel fatigued and in a state of malaise, because you are unable to make use of the nutrients you are putting in your body.
CLEANSE CLEANSE CLEANSE - REBUILD REBUILD REBUILD.
It is not only terribly important to take care of this state of affairs, but very beneficial and not too difficult to do. The benefit looms over the inconvenience!
The first thing to do is to cleanse. I recommend doing this in conjunction with a gentle FAST*, using a combination of fiber and herbs to help you along. Don't be dismayed by the "fast" word, you'll be amazed at how easy it is, and how much better you will feel very quickly. Many people actually experience an increase of energy during the fasting period itself.
Next, reconfigure your diet. Remember, the important thing is to re-introduce fiber into your system on a regular (in both senses) basis. Flax meal is an excellent addition to many foods that will help you achieve your goal. Avoid too many acid foods, and consider adding a digestive enzyme. Pops and alcohol are acid producing: when you are thirsty, reach for water. Not only does it hydrate the bowel, which is highly important to overcoming irregularity, but it maintains pH balance. Aim for 8 glasses of water a day.
Realize, too, that just as a toxic bowel can be adversely affected by allergens in, or intolerances to, the food you eat, it can cause allergic reactions and lowered immunity if constant poor health there develops into a condition known as leaky gut syndrome. It would be wise to make sure you are not aggravating the situation by eating foods you react to. Consider the Coca Pulse Test as an inexpensive and often very effective way to identify these foods, and remove them from your diet.
It is interesting to note that Magnesium, a mineral deficient in most people's diets, and (in my experience) very low in many women's systems, is a hydrating mineral which encourages the eliminatory movement of the colon known as peristalsis. Make sure you are getting enough of this important mineral in your diet ( whole grains and vegetables are the best sources, and also contain the fiber you need), and consider either using a product by RenewLife called CleanseMore, which contains Magnesium and other gentle herbs to encourage your colon to return to proper functioning, or MagnaCalm, a powdered magnesium which is a pure and high potency source of magnesium citrate.
Add a source of digestive enzymes to make sure that your system is predisposed to normalcy. I recommend one which encourages your body to return to producing its own enzymes. In conjunction with this, aim at eating some raw foods each day, since they provide their own enzymes.
Finally, make sure you are getting the fatty acids your colon needs to maintain health, and to lubricate the passage of the stool. Not only has keeping the proper balance of Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids been a longtime problem in the American diet but with the advent of "low-fat" food, the balance has tipped even further in favor of either too few or all the wrong kind. There are many benefits associated with use of the correct balance of Essential Fatty Acids, but this one is frequently over-looked: the cells of the colon (some of the fastest reproducing in the body) need fatty acids to stay healthy. It also helps to make the passage of the stool gentler and more complete if the colon is properly "oiled"!
A wonderful Doctor from Chicago called Leo Galland, M.D. wrote a book called The Four Pillars of Healing, which I urge you to read. It is out of print at the moment, but used editions are available. See RESOURCES. He predicates an entire system of health betterment on the premise that most disease starts in the intestines. He points out that Dr. Metchnikoff, who won the Nobel prize for medicine in 1908, postulated that degenerative diseases and senility were both caused by toxins , which he called "ptomaines", being re- absorbed from the bowel. This was one of the first modern suggestions that yoghurt, by repopulating friendly bacteria in the colon, could contribute to health.( I may say here, that I personally make and consume about a quart of yoghurt a week!)
The thrust of Dr. Galland's theory is that many factors in our environment contribute to a condition which he calls "Intestinal Permeability", colloquially known as "leaky gut syndrome". He hypothesizes that either viral infections, use of NSAIDS and aspirin, allergic reactions to foods, parasitic infection (surprisingly common, and becoming more so) or a breakdown in the mechanism which controls detoxification of the bowel, may lead to gaps in the interstices between the cells that line the colon. This increase in permeability "generates a cascade of reactions that can shatter a person's health in many different ways". Clinical disorders listed by Dr. Galland that may be related to this problem include fatigue and malaise, joint and muscle pain, headache and skin eruptions, colitis and enteritis, chronic arthritis, acne, eczema, (recent studies how that restoring friendly bacteria to the colon with Lactobacillus cut the number of of eczema cases in young children in half! Lancet (357), 9262: 107909, 2001) psoriasis, migraine and deficient pancreatic function. .
While regular Detoxing of the system and repopulating of the friendly bacteria can help protect against this problem, there are other factors that can also help. Dr. Galland stresses the importance of fiber in human digestion, saying that although the importance of this factor in the diet has been increasingly stressed over the past 20 years, the amount of fiber in the SAD (Standard American Diet!) has not changed while sales of bulking laxatives have done nothing but rise. He also talks of the value of friendly flora, as in yogurt, kefir, and other fermented foods. However, the yogurt that is commercially available is limited both in the quantity of flora present, and the number of different strains. I add a capsule containing ALL the beneficial strains to my yogurt when I make it, (see Resources for recipe) to address this shortfall.
He recommends adding food to help the friendly bacteria implant, specifically mentioning FOS (short for FructoOligoSaccharides) which are available as a supplement, but are particularly high in garlic, onions and asparagus. Not only do FOS help bacteria implant, they also discourage the conversion of substances in the stool into carcinogens. He also encourages the use of specific spices, mentioning garlic and onion again, but also turmeric (in curry powder, and interestingly now being connected to protection against Alzheimer's Disease), ginger and oregano. He mentions oil of oregano as being an especially effective anti-viral, anti-parasitic and anti -fungal herb.
Touching on another of my favorite themes, he also stresses the importance of maintaining high levels of stomach acid, pointing out that suppression of stomach acid, as is so dangerously common these days, increases the risk of intestinal infections of all kinds. He calls the decision to make many antacids available over-the-counter "a terrible disservice to the American people", since heartburn is not normally caused by the presence of acid per se, but by the reflux of it into the esophagus caused by incompetence on the part of the valve that should normally prevent this. The valve can be weakened by faulty diet, e.g. high amounts of caffeine, alcohol, chocolate and high fat, also phosphorus containing soft drinks, which inhibit uptake of calcium. Calcium makes the valve close more tightly.
Dr. Galland stresses the cyclic nature of this problem, specifically how becoming ill leads to being treated with antibiotics, resultant gut permeability and lowered immune system function, a new disease episode and renewed antibiotic treatment, yeast infection and possibly in time, auto-immune involvement. Once again, we are reminded of the importance of taking care of our organs of digestion and elimination! Fortunately, his treatment methods hold out hope of improvement, since the cells of the colon are among the fasted reproducing in the body: he recommends building resistance, and reducing risk as the most effective approaches, but where the condition exists, concentrating on fiber and essential fatty acids together with a planned program of nutritional supplements, especially including the re-implantation of friendly bacteria through the proper use of probiotics, can help break the cycle.
* There are those for whom fasting is contra-indicated.
The statements on these pages have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug administration, and are not intended to cure or diagnose any disease.
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