Colon Cleansing

Colon Cleansing

Colon cleansing is important because the colon (also called the bowel) plays a critical function in maintaining the health of our entire body. The colon is an organ that absorbs the remaining water and electrolytes from indigestible food matter, accepts and stores food remains that were not digested in the small intestine, and eliminates solid waste (feces) from the body. Due to the importance of this organ, having a properly functioning colon is vital to support the other organs of the body and to achieve and maintain overall health.

The colon is one of the 5 organs (others include skin, lungs, kidneys, and lymph system), which eliminate toxins from the body. Due to the nature of these organs’ essential function of eliminating waste, they are basically storage and breeding grounds for toxins and parasites.

The process of colon cleansing detoxifies the bowels and will greatly improve overall body health, promote healthier skin, reduce constipation, increase energy/concentration, and in some cases weight loss.

Accumulation of Toxins

During the process of collecting and eliminating waste, the colon (large intestine) must move the waste or fecal matter through the intestinal canal to the rectum for waste expulsion. But, the colon can become clogged or sluggish due to the weight of excess debris, which can inhibit the progression of fecal matter through the intestine.

This, inevitably, results in poor function of the colon and hardening of waste. Once this occurs, an environment is created in the bowels in which encourages production and growth of bacteria, parasites, and fungi.

Factors that lead to an overburdened colon include poor diet, use of antibiotics, infrequent bowel movements, stress, no exercise, commercial laxative use, insufficient water intake, etc.

A malfunctioning colon stores the stagnant fecal debris and waste, and will eventually decay in the colon. This decomposing material laden with unhealthy organisms, is absorbed into the surrounding tissues and bloodstream which is spread throughout the entire body. Often, the result of this process is body odor and bad breath!

Constipation

Constipation is defined as passage of small amounts of hard, dry bowel movements, usually fewer than three times a week. People who are constipated may have difficult and painful bowel movements. Constipation is caused by hardening of fecal debris in the colon and intestinal changes.

Hardening of fecal debris results from increased absorption of water by the large intestine, which is caused by the same factors that lead to an overburdened colon. As the fecal matter hardens, different pressure is put on different segments of the colon.

This pressure causes the intestine to become expanded in certain areas and constricted in others. The result is a weakened and distorted colon which is unable to properly and efficiently expel waste.

A large percentage of the population suffers from some form or constipation due to our consumption of processed foods and not getting enough physical activity. Many believe they are “normal,” but show signs of constipation including infrequent bowel movements, fatigue, body odor, bad breath, gas, bloating, and dehydration. Maybe it has been so long that you felt good that you now feel it is normal to be constipated ?

Generally speaking, 1-3 bowel movement(s) per day is considered normal. If you must strain on the toilet or if the evacuation produces minimal results, you are suffering from constipation.

If you do not experience regular bowel movements, the waste not expelled will sit in your colon and continue to produce unwanted side effects and poor health. In addition, straining on the toilet stresses the intra-abdominal pressure in your body, which can cause hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and hernias!

Nutrient Absorption

Another important job of the colon is to reabsorb the moisture contained in fecal matter. There must be an equal balance in the consistency of the fecal matter in order to prevent watery material which moves too quickly and cannot be absorbed (loose stools).

On the other hand, the fecal matter must not have too little moisture which will cause hard stools which can block the intestinal canal. The colon reabsorbs liquid to maintain the body’s fluid balance and to promote proper evacuation and waste.

Many people are fond of consuming a diet rich with dairy, meat, and processed foods, but fail to eat an adequate amount of fiber. This can be very problematic and even cause malnourishment. This low-fiber diet presents a difficult task for the colon because these foods are hard to eliminate.

Therefore, the waste from these foods must stay in the colon longer to reabsorb nutrients, thus clogging the intestinal flow. While there is a back-up in the large intestine, a signal is sent to your brain indicating food cravings since the appropriate nutrients have not been absorbed.

Thus, many people continue overeating to get these nutrients and end up producing fat stores. While building excess fat, a person could still end up malnourished because the proper nutrients were not absorbed properly.

Reducing waste and build-up in the colon will not only improve one’s overall health, but it will help reduce food cravings. In addition, eating less will allow your body to absorb the proper nutrients, increasing energy and overall body performance.

Whole Body Health

As stated previously, maintaining a healthy colon is important for digestive health and eliminating waste. But, there are other implications of poor colon health on the body as a whole. As fecal material accumulates in the colon, toxins are absorbed into the body circulating toxic material throughout the body.

Toxins accumulate in the weakest areas of the body because these areas are least efficient in eliminating these substances. This means your immune system is working overtime allowing it more susceptible to disease and health decay. Weak immunity means your body will become sick more often, so seasonal illnesses will become more frequent.

Maintaining a healthy colon is achieved by exercise and a proper diet. There are certain types of healthy bacteria needed to induce proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Healthy bacteria can only be found in diets based on finer-rich natural foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.

In addition to these foods, there is a special type of good bacteria that promotes healthy colon function called Probiotics. There are many species of bacteria in the digestive tract that help with nutrient absorption, digestion, and it provides protection from harmful bacteria and other pathogenic microorganisms.

At Green Health Acupuncture we recommend a probiotic called iFlora. We like this product because it is a multi-strain probiotic formula that promotes digestive and immune health 16 powerful probiotic strains that survive stomach acid and it has 20 billion cells per serving.

Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber is the portion of plant food not able to be digested by enzymes in the human digestive tract and provides little nutrition. But, even though fiber does not provide much nutritional value it plays an integral role in digestion because it holds water, regulates bowel activity, and carries cholesterol out of the body.

Fiber also helps combat consumption of meat and dairy products which can cause decreased intestine motility due to mucous production and processed foods (e.g. sugar, white flour, etc.), which do not provide any assistance moving material through the intestines. These foods are the majority of what the general population consumes, making it necessary for fiber to be utilized in our diets.

2 Types of Dietary Fiber

Water-Soluble Fiber: Found abundantly in fruits, oats, barley, and legumes. This type of fiber is shown to lower rate of glucose consumption and lower blood cholesterol.

Water-Insoluble Fiber: Mostly found in wheat, grains, and vegetables. This type of fiber softens stools and accelerates intestinal tract motility (movement).

Studies have shown native Africans who ate a high-fiber, plant-based diet are rarely bothered by constipation and obesity. However, in industrialized countries where a lot of animal products are consumed, constipation and obesity are rampant. This led to the emergence of high-fiber diets in the role of weight control.

High-fiber foods such as whole grains are able to hold more water and relay the message to your brain a feeling of fullness. Whereas, processed foods that remove fiber and animal-based products lack fiber, send a message to your brain indicating hunger.

This results in overeating and excess calorie intake without nutritional absorption. For these reasons, many structured diet plans and stool-softening products are high in fiber to prevent hunger and improve intestinal motility.

How Do I Know if Colon Cleansing is for Me?

If you are like most people and eat a diet consisting of refined foods (e.g. sugar, white flour, processed foods), dairy, and meat, then your colon is probably in poor health. Even those diligent eaters who maintain a diet high in vegetables and fruit may also have poor colon health due to years of exposure to foods of convenience made abundant in popular culture.

One may change their diet to include proper nutrition, but colon health can be traced back for years. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of the following signs, a colon detoxification and cleansing may be necessary:

Diet: If your diet is high in refined foods, dairy, and meat; and low in fiber-rich foods like vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.

Gluten: Many people are allergic to gluten or their body produces antibodies that actually attack it like a foreign invader. Gluten is similar in structure to some of our own tissues and has been linked to some auto-immune disorders.

Constipation: If you are not having a bowel movement at least once a day. A bowel movement should never be forced, it should always be easy and brief. If a bowel movement must be forced, you are likely constipated.

Lack of Exercise: Lack of exercise slows down nutrient absorption, digestion, and elimination.

Overweight: Overeating of poor-quality foods puts strain on the intestinal tract and can lead to problematic intestinal issues.

Chronic Health Problems: Many problems such as fatigue, gas, skin problems, headaches, etc. are induced or aggravated by a toxic colon.

Body Odor: Bad breath and body odor are indicators of toxic accumulation throughout the body.

Stress: Stress affects every organ in the body including the digestive tract by slowing the motility of digestion and elimination.

Antibiotic Use: These types of medications and other drugs also slow the motility of the digestive tract in addition to killing all types of bacteria, good and bad. Destruction of good bacteria can leave the intestines vulnerable to pathogenic bacteria.

Laxatives

Laxative and medically supervised cathartics are utilized to loosen the bowels and promote evacuation. Laxatives used on a regular basis can actually promote constipation by causing excessive loss of fluid from the body resulting in dehydration.

This not only causes decreased intestinal motility, but it also causes slowing of the body’s normal cellular process. In addition, laxatives speed motility of material through the colon before adequate absorption takes place, which can lead to malnutrition. Most commercial laxatives are very harsh on the body and accompanied by many side effects ranging from diarrhea, mucous in the stool, abdominal cramping, and liver toxicity.

Consequences of laxative abuse include:

Imbalance of electrolyte and mineral balances: Sodium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus are electrolytes and minerals that are present in very specific amounts necessary for proper functioning of the nerves and muscles, including those of the colon and heart. Upsetting this delicate balance can cause improper functioning of these vital organs.

Severe dehydration: May cause tremors, weakness, blurry vision, fainting, kidney damage, and, in extreme cases, death.

Laxative dependency: Occurs when the colon stops reacting to usual doses of laxatives so that larger and larger amounts of laxatives may be needed to produce bowel movements.

Internal organ damage may result: Including stretching of the colon, colon infection, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and even possible liver damage. Chronic laxative abuse may contribute to risk of colon cancer.

Enemas

An enema is the introduction of a liquid into the large intestine through the anal canal/rectum to remove fecal material. Usually, a tube is inserted into the rectum and liquid (usually warm water, saline, phosphate, mineral oil, etc.) is injected into the large intestine.

The fluid soaks and loosens the hardened fecal material, which is then evacuated to rid the colon of impacted feces and toxins. The advantages of enemas include no side effects like laxatives, they can be administered privately, and they are very effective. Enemas are meant for occasional rather than regular use. The frequent use of enemas can cause disturbances of the fluids and electrolytes in the body.

Colonics

Colonics are very similar to enemas, but they clean much more thoroughly and are administered by trained colonic therapists. Many times individuals are not able to clean out the entire colon with an enema. Often times, only the lower bowel is emptied while using a standard home enema.

They are able to completely clean out the large intestine via injecting the solution into the rectum with a hose. The solution continually flows into the colon around and back out.

Colonics are often used by those suffering chronic constipation and have serious toxic accumulations in their bowels. Although there are advantages to colonics, there are also disadvantages present as well.

Colonics can cause a severe injury (perforation) to our body’s internal intestinal system making the wounds severely infected. In addition, many people experience flu-like symptoms during and following colonic procedures. Frequent colonic use can also create an imbalance in the body’s innate chemical balance causing related health problems and can damage the intestinal flora that is so vital to our immune system and proper digestion.

ClearVite

At Green Health Acupuncture we offer numerous products and services for colon cleansing and cleansing the digestive tract and the liver. One product that we have found to be very effective clinically is called Clearvite.

This product is hypo-allergenic and provides targeted nutrition for the digestive tract and the liver. Clearvite reduces inflammation in the digestive tract and can be very effective for treating conditions like Crohn’s disease, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, Celiac disease, diverticulitis and more.

It is very important when cleaning out the colon to make sure that the liver is functioning properly, otherwise you may dump an excessive amount of toxins into the liver and actually make your self sicker.
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