When and why you may need a colon cleanse: gut health

Do You Know What is Your Body's Trash Compactor? 

In the next few months I will be researching and discussing a wide variety of truly unique and wonderful health solutions that will help you build and support your body, mind, and spirit. You'll learn about many one-of-a-kind therapies and treatments for both common and not-so-common conditions.

Right now, we will be working from the bottom up, so to speak, by taking a look at colon health. Your colon, or large intestine, is joined to the bottom end of your small intestine and makes up the last part of the intestinal tract.

There are four main sections of your colon: the ascending colon, the transverse colon, the descending colon, and the sigmoid colon.

The ascending colon extends from your lower abdomen to the right side of your upper abdomen, just below your liver.

The transverse colon runs horizontally across your abdomen below your stomach.

Keep your colon function in peak performance

The descending colon extends down the left side of your abdomen, and the sigmoid colon is the lowermost part of the colon that moves into your rectal area.

The colon's most underappreciated job is to be your body's trash compactor. But it does other significant things, as well, such as finish the breakdown and absorption of poorly digested foods; protects the bloodstream and liver from dangerous invaders; absorbs water, electrolytes, and certain nutrients; and stores and eliminate waste products.

While all of this may seem fairly straightforward, a healthy colon is crucial to good health. Today, let's take a look at how you can keep your colon functioning at its peak. (I will be posting other articles to help you in overall health matters like balancing your pH and ways to get tested, all of which will help you achieve the optimal gut health you can get.)

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Check to make sure you do not eat any of these harmful foods.

How to Start Off with a Clean Colon

Most people don't give the health of their colon a second thought unless they start having problems. It's vitally important to understand the best ways to keep your colon clean and healthy, because taking a proactive approach to your colon health is vastly better than dealing with health problems as they crop up.

The truth is that the colon takes a lot of neglect and abuse. It's inundated daily with highly pathogenic, toxic substances, which it's supposed to sort through. And it plays host to huge populations of bacteria, many of which are dedicated, hard-working, friendly bacteria that help break down hard-to-digest foods.

But some are unfriendly, waiting for the chance to launch a hostile takeover and cause illness. The only insurance against a takeover is to keep the colon's friendly bacteria strong and competitive.

However, people often do things that harm or even kill healthy bacteria, such as taking antibiotics, drinking chlorinated water, eating too little fiber, indulging a sweet tooth, drinking alcohol and eating heavily processed foods.

Furthermore, to prevent potentially harmful delays in the elimination of stool, you need to drink enough water to replace lost fluids and eat sufficient fiber to stimulate colonic muscles. Unfortunately, most people unknowingly fail to meet those healthy requirements.

All of this everyday abuse can lead to constipation, colitis, diverticular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colon polyps, Crohn's disease, leaky gut syndrome, and colon cancer—all of which can be traced back, at least in part, to poor diet and lifestyle.

For example, while fiber is necessary to avoid constipation, it's also vital for the health of the colon itself.

Your friendly bacteria digest fiber partly for your nourishment and partly for their own benefit. In the process of feeding on fiber, they emit three byproducts: propionic, acetic, and butyric acids, which your colon use to nourish itself and heal from injury and wear and tear.

Without this, your colon becomes inflamed, fragile, immune-compromised, vulnerable to diseases, and increasingly dysfunctional. It also becomes a danger to your overall health, because an inflamed gut is too permeable and allows its toxic contents to leak into your bloodstream, initiating such problems as liver disease, mood disorders, allergies, skin diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

A colon cleanse is an effective way to take good care of your colon, but harsh cleanses can damage delicate tissues, destroy friendly bacteria, and drive toxins deeper into your body, leaving your colon in even worse shape than it was before.

(You can also read more about colon cleansing, your liver and detoxication in this article: Protect Your Liver Through Colon Cleanses and Antioxidants)

However, if done with a thorough understanding of how the colon works and maintains its integrity, a cleanse can provide an invigorated population of friendly bacteria that reign supreme over pathogens. Here is how to do just that.

The Step-by step "How-to" so your colon stays healthy

The colon works in concert with the liver, so it makes little sense to cleanse one without the other. And, because detoxification is an active process that can generate free radicals and create inflammation, I recommend preparing your body for a 14-day cleanse by supplementing with naturally anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

Take 1,000 mg of fish oil as EPA and DHA daily for at least three days before starting the cleanse. You can check out this brand developed by a doctor which so many people have loved. Also follow these steps:

► Use the herb milk thistle to stimulate bile flow from the liver so the bile ducts dump backlogged toxins and bile into the intestines for elimination.

► Next, use citrus pectin, oat bran, or psyllium to pull old waste and contaminants out of nooks and crannies in the colon. When wetted, these special nutrients form a gelatinous mass that coaxes wastes out of hiding and absorbs bile. These materials become bound in the gel in your gut, and moves along the center of the colon stream.

[Note: Be sure to drink lots of water. Without adequate water, the gel could become thick and actually cause an obstruction.]

► Add herbal marshmallow to pull existing inflammation and swelling out of irritated mucosa.

► Finally, use the laxative magnesium hydroxide. With all the components of this cleanse, it's easiest to purchase a pre-assembled kit that follows the protocol I just described.

For more information on healthy detoxification, I recommend my book Detoxification and Healing: The Way to Perfect Health on Amazon.

Because this cleanse is so thorough, I suggest doing it only once a year. And the good thing about this particular cleanse is that it doesn't affect the strongest of the friendly bacteria in your colon.

These bacteria are normally affixed to the mucosal lining, so they aren't swept out. Suddenly enjoying a windfall of elbow room, these bacteria feast on the ample fiber from the cleanse and produce the organic acid byproducts the colon needs to repair and heal any weak or inflamed areas.

Year-Round Colon Support: More Than Just a Colon Cleanse

After your colon is rejuvenated and refreshed from the cleanse, you can extend that light, healthy, feeling throughout the year by:

1. Taking probiotics.

They're present in many cultured and fermented foods such as yogurt and raw sauerkraut, and in probiotic supplements such as a general one for both men and women like Probiotic 40 Billion CFU. Guaranteed Potency until Expiration. Patented Delay Release

Or a probiotic product specifically for women: Women's Pro-Daily - 10 Billion CFUs

Good Bacteria Maintenance

Beneficial bacteria are the most important part of maintaining the integrity of the colonic mucosa, strengthening the colon's ability to keep pathogens and toxins from being absorbed, and preventing colon cancer.

To learn more about fermented foods, continue to visit our site and read the emails and newsletters where I will cover this in detail.

2. Getting 25 to 35 grams of daily fiber. This will not only prevent constipation, but also serve as a prebiotic—food for your friendly bacteria.

Aim for at least 25 percent soluble fiber, your colon's preferred nourishment. A good fiber supplement rich in soluble fiber is Inulin Powder but be sure you do not get the ones made in China.

3. Eating one or two apples a day for their anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories, natural immunity stimulators, soluble fiber, and anticancer agents. According to epidemiology studies, one or two apples a day reduces the risk of colon cancer.

The Effect of Stress on Your Colon

Your colon's functions are governed by your para-sympathetic nervous system. Stress, on the other hand, engages your sympathetic (or fight-or-flight) nervous system, which always takes priority. 

This means that if you hit the ground running every morning and are chronically stressed, your parasympathetic nervous system is on hold, deferring to your stress. And as a result, your colon's muscular mixing and evacuation actions are impaired, and its sensitive mucosal cells must endure longer exposure to increasingly toxic, delayed stool.

Within the last decade, an increasing amount of research has also shown that stress causes colonic inflammation (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences) and impairs the colon lining's ability to keep toxins from entering the bloodstream (Psychoneuroendocrinology).

If chronic stress affects you, pick a method of de-stressing that appeals to you and practice it every day. Some good options include meditation, deep breathing, prayer, walking, or some form of aerobic exercise.

I hope this helps you. If you have any questions or further issues you want me to discuss please comment on my Facebook page (here) and that way we can collect your questions and address them in time.

Dr Susan

Cancer proof your body. It is possible when your body is alkaline!

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PS: Look out for my new eating program and cookbook The Divine High Alkaline Cookbook with recipes and pictures for a more low acid diet in major e-retailers.

About the Author

Best selling author and national speaker Dr. Susan has sold over 2 million books on health & wellness. She has appeared on numerous national and regional radio and television shows and has been featured in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. She has Served on the clinical faculty of Stanford University School of Medicine and taught in their Division of Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Richards became an ordained Christian minister in 2009 and, within a year, she began doing hospital ministry in the ICU's, critical care and rehabilitation units in the San Francisco area community three times a week. Her ministry is based on the supernatural healing power of God and Jesus Christ and she has seen many miraculous healings of seriously ill patients. The ministry receives over 20,000 prayer requests for healing each week which are answered by their faithful and devoted prayer team. She is currently developing the first Medical and Health Ministry Training Program of Supernatural Healing in the United States. Her medical ministry is at medschoolhealing.com