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Volume 38, No. 2

Intestinal Health

Constipation is the "greatest present day internal danger to health"

"Since being well or being sick—aside from genetic influences, attack by dangerous pathogenic organisms or other drastic factors—is mainly rooted in the way we eat and live, basic good health cannot be purchased passively, for instance simply by taking pills. It unfolds gradually through the active participation of the person seeking help, because this goal can never be reached without struggling against bad habits. The decision therefore is a moral one! Thus this path cannot be taken by those who are caught up in the pursuit of pleasure, who have no self-discipline; nor by those who are hampered by lack of understanding or a "know-it-all attitude.""—Erich Rauch MD

"I believe autointoxication is currently the number one source of the misery and decay we are witnessing in our society and culture today."—Bernard Jensen DC

"If the sewer system in your home is backed up, your entire home is affected. Should it be any different with your body?"—Norman Walker, DSc

The above quotes were all made in the 1980's or earlier. Twenty years later, this information still isn't mainstream. Information about the bowel was no secret but over time wisdom about the bowel became lost in translation. It is a subject that most do not want to talk about. Taboo.

The digestive tract is from the mouth to the anus and contains 20 feet of small intestine. In a healthy system, foods enter the mouth, nutrients are absorbed, and waste is excreted. Depending upon what foods were eaten, this process takes 1-5 hours to empty in the stomach and complete bowel transit time (BTT) is 17-24 hours. When fecal transit time is increased there is an increased risk of cancer, as well as, evidence of hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, diverticulosis, allergies and auto-toxicity [1]. Auto-toxicity is self- poisoning by bacteria, toxins and metabolic waste leaving the body imbalanced, sick, and diseased. Helping the body rid itself of toxins are the skin, kidneys, lungs, and lymphatics, but the paramount organ is the intestine.

An improper diet and antibiotic misuse lead to an overwhelming preponderance of harmful bacteria overgrowth residing in the intestine. Intestinal toxemia is commonly caused by a poor diet or bowel obstruction which is rare in comparison. Over the last decade there has been a rise in protein consumption. Incidentally the digestion of protein by bacteria produces the most toxic metabolic waste. Intestinal putrefaction produced by high protein diets can affect other organs. A residual of the action of bacteria in the intestine is ammonia which requires a proper functioning liver and kidney system to convert it into its non-toxic form, urea. Other substances that are by-products of protein digestion are indole, phenol, skatole, hydrogen sulfide, aminoethyl mercaptan, and tyramine. Some of these compounds are responsible for the foul-smelling odor associated with a putrefactive bowel [2]. Signs and symptoms of autointoxication and intestinal toxemia include headaches, back pain, depression, inability to concentrate, bloating, fatigue, abdominal pain, sinus problems, nausea, indigestion, bad breath, body odor, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, endocrine disorders, EENT disorders, arthritis, appendicitis, fibrocystic breasts, tumors, acne, itching, posture alterations, inflammation, and wrinkled skin (for a complete list check out Dr. Jensen's book).

Not only does the colon metabolically affect other organs it may also do so reflexively. A colon reflex chart depicts what organ is affected by the bowel. For example both the splenic and hepatic flexures of the transverse colon are associated with the medulla, mastoid, ear, neck and shoulders [4]. There are also colon therapy charts that interrelate sphincters and sacculations of the colon with anatomical centers and pathology. The hypothalamus is thought to be the great overseer of the body. When fecal putrefaction occurs, the hypothalamus will order the lymphatic system to protect any affected area. So for example, if there is fecal buildup in the colon at the area analogous to the mammary glands (lateral side of the descending colon) then lymph nodes may swell in the area around the breast as a warning sign [5].

Dr. Bernard Jensen believed that constipation is the "greatest present day internal danger to health" and is considered by those who study the intestine, to be a modern day plague. Constipation lowers the body's resistance to illness leading to chronic degenerative diseases. Constipation is caused by an improper diet, lack of exercise, inadequate water intake, stress, toxins and medications. Many believe that if they have a daily bowel movement that they are not constipated but the BTT of a recently consumed meal high in refined foods and lacking adequate fiber is usually delayed. For example, a person who eats 3 daily meals and eliminates every 5 days will be 14 meals behind [2, 3]. The fecal matter hardens on the sides of the colon and decreases the diameter of fecal elimination.

To improve bowel function:  Colon cleansings (colon hydrotherapy) are recommended. Colon hydrotherapy helps to remove toxins that have accumulated with old waste and mucus buildup. In addition to hydrotherapy, lifestyle changes are necessary. Lifestyle changes include a proper diet including raw foods (fruits and vegetables), not overeating, meals eaten early in the evening with time to digest before sleep, exercising, chewing food completely, eating a lot of fiber, and eating/drinking fermented/cultured foods like kefir or kombucha. Eliminate all refined sugars (replace with raw sugar or raw unfiltered honey), stimulants such as coffee, chocolate, caffeinated teas, or sodas, fried foods, lunch meats and pork, reduce red meat consumption and avoid peanuts. Drink room temperature liquids [4].

By Cheryl K

Cited References
1. Marz, Russell B. Medical Nutrition.
2. Jensen, Bernard. Dr. Jensen's Guide to Better Bowel Care.
3. Jensen, Bernard. Tissue Cleansing through Bowel Management.
4. Weinberger, Stanley. The Complete Colon Health Guide.
5. Walker, Norman W. Colon Health: the Key to Vibrant Life.

For informational purposes only - not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor an endorsement by the American Nutrition Association®. Use permitted for non-profit and non-commercial uses or by healthcare professionals in their practice, with attribution to www.AmericanNutritionAssociation.org. Other use only with written ANA℠ permission. Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the ANA℠. Works by a listed author subject to copyrights as marked. © 2010 ANA℠