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The Toxic Bowel - Why Dietary Fibre is So Important to our Health and Longevityposted on 21 September 2008 | posted in Health Articles
The Toxic Bowel
Identifying the Problem
Medical herbalists used to use the phrase 'death starts within the bowel'. When the colon isn't working as it should, we exhibit a number of obvious symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating etc. However there are a lot of illnesses that may be preventable if we ensure that our bowel is functioning as it should be.
A large part of our immune system is located around the intestines and if the bowel is toxic and sluggish, this alerts the immune system to react. The bowel is exposed to more toxins in a day than an immune system should be exposed to in a lifetime, so it makes sense to ensure that these toxins are disposed of quickly and efficiently through the bowels. Many long-term diseases later in life may be totally avoided by ensuring that we maintain a healthy bowel.
This article explains symptoms that can be caused by a sluggish or toxic bowel, and how we can keep our bowels healthy and with a reduced toxic load on the body.
Symptoms from insufficient fibre in the diet:
Hard dry difficult stools
Foul smelling stools and/or Excessive Gas
Haemorrhoids or varicose veins
Irritable bowel or spastic colon
Indigestion or heartburn
Colon polyps, colon cancer, rectal cancer
Bad breath, coated tongue
Symptoms OUTSIDE the digestive tract primarily due to insufficient fibre
Elevated blood sugar, diabetes type II
Heavy metal accumulation
Elevated blood cholesterol
Coronary artery problems
Susceptibility to bladder or vaginal infections
Symptoms related to circulating bowel toxins
Halitosis (offensive breath)
Liver problems, detoxification impairment
Ulcers & gastritis
Personality and brain changes (e.g. depression, irritability, nervousness, forgetfulness, insomnia)
Puffy, flaccid, or thinning skin, loss of skin elasticity
Acne , boils
Factors that promote a toxic bowel
Excess dietary sugar
Overgrowth of unfavourable bacteria
Excess dietary animal protein
Low thyroid function
Liver/gallbladder sluggishness (bile)
Intestinal yeast overgrowth
Any food that is an allergen can cause constipation and other bowel symptoms
Intestinal Yeast Infection
An overgrowth of Candida albicans is a common cause of constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and abdominal pain
Inadequate Digestion. Without sufficient gastric Hcl and pancreatic enzymes, constipation and other colon imbalances can result
Overgrowth of Unfavourable Intestinal Bacteria
Due to the overuse of antibiotics, toxin – producing bacteria can flourish in the intestines causing symptoms. Inadequate fibre intake, too much sugar and animal protein, also inadequate digestion can encourage growth of these organisms.
HEALING A TOXIC BOWEL
High sources of soluble and insoluble fibre
Whole wheat and rye
Wheat and rice bran
Flax seed (linseed)
Both Soluble and Insoluble
Higher in Soluble Fibre
Barley, oats & oat bran
Overeating creates a continual energy demand on the colon that can eventually force it to become sluggish. An over-distended stomach also shuts down gastric acid production.
Ignoring too often the body’s signals may waken the strength of the signal or distort your perception of it.
Helps the bowel move
Sometimes the body will let us know that we have gone too far long before our mind ever does! Making things safe or more nurturing for oneself can help.
Sometimes a slugging bowel may be a signal of the opposite – if things have got boring, not challenging enough, ie. Stagnated
Supplements to assist bowel function
Flaxseeds: 1 tablespoon or more of flaxseeds soaked overnight in a glass of water can provide both fibre, and lubrication to the colon (mucilaginous).
Can be added to protein drinks or fruit smoothies in the blender.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge and don’t soak or grind until needed.
Probiotics: These intestinal organisms help normalise digestion, constipation and diarrhoea. If dairy isn’t a problem then some of the cultured yoghurts and kefir can be helpful. Test first before advising. Yakult and Actimel contain so much sugar in them. Eat plain natural yoghurt and put your own flavourings in it. Fruit yoghurts also contain a lot of sugar. Use canned fruit in its own juice or fresh fruit or jams made with fruit juice such as St.Dalfour or Meridian Jams. Supplements provide high content support. These include milk-free Bifidophilus Flora Force, or if its a child with bowel problems, they can be helped by giving them Herbasaurs Bifido for Kids and there are many more on the market. Fermented foods can also be useful such as unpasteurised miso, tempeh or rejuvelac drink (see below for recipe). Other fermented foods such as sauerkraut can be useful.
Whey: Acts a s a prebiotic and nourishes friendly bacteria
Green juice: Make from green leafy vegetables, spirulina (Nature’s Sunshine), chlorella and Liquid Chlorophyll. Can act as a bowel cleanser and relieve constipation
Lemon Juice: Very cleansing to the intestinal tract. Add the juice of half a lemon to a cup of hot water and drink. Or very thinly slice an organic unwaxed lemon and let it sit in two to three cups of water overnight. Warm and drink. Do this first thing in the morning (NB. Lemon juice can erode the enamel on teeth if this is done on a prolonged basis. Thoroughly rinsing out the mouth after drinking is important, or better still brush the teeth with baking soda.
Aloe Vera Juice: 1 – 2 fl oz of aloe vera juice (e.g. Natures Sushine) taken once or twice daily can act a s a bowel cleanser and help in some cases of constipation
Slippery Elm Tea: The mucilaginous herb Slippery Elm is available from some chemists or in capsule form from Nature’s Sunshine
Figs: Fresh figs or dried soaked figs
Other bowel techniques
Abdominal massage: Try this technique for 5 – 10 minutes once or twice daily. Whilst lying down, press rhythmically with either the palm of the hand or a rubber ball. Start at the lower right quadrant of the abdomen near the hip bone. Work slowly up the right side of the abdomen to just below the rib cage. Then massage straight across the abdomen towards the left side. Go down the left side of the abdomen down towards the pubic bone and then across the lower abdomen back to the starting point. The pressure shouldn’t cause pain, but should be firm enough in the areas that permit. Relaxing the abdominal muscles will allow for a deeper massage. Castor oil or olive oil are good to use as a lubricant. A castor oil pack can be of great help.
Stimulating foot reflexes: Thoroughly massage the arch and heel areas of the foot with a rolling pin or a foot massage roller. Having some reflexology sessions can really be helpful for constipation.
Well’s Step: A Well’s step or a footstool – even a few phone directories used to elevate the knees to well above the level of the hips. This opens up the pelvis and takes further advantage of gravity allowing for a fuller and easier bowel evacuation.. Raising the arms above the head whilst on the toilet causes the abdomen to lift and may allow for a fuller bowel movement
Herbal laxatives should only be used in acute cases of constipation. They do not rejuvenate bowel function and if used long term could weaken the colon.
Healing and regulating herbal formulas : To heal an inflamed bowel, Chamomile and Marshmallow Formula can very very soothing and to regulate and help keep the bowel healthy try using Bowel Build. To help increase bile production, that will help the motility of the bowel, consider using Fringetree Formula
Intestinal Cleansing Programme
You will need:
A good cleanse containing 6 different formulas, including fibre, is Healthy Starter Pack by Nature’s Sunshine. For an excellent cleanse drink Liquid Chlorophyll 3 times daily and after completing the cleanse, top up healthy bacteria by supplementing with Bifidophilus Flora Force
Dry skin brush every day paying attention to the abdominal area as in the abdominal massage section. Caster oil packs or rubbing in olive oil is said to stimulate bile production. Olive oil cream massaged into the abdomen is said to improve pancreatic enzyme and bicarbonate secretion.
Drink Rejuvelac daily to improve intestinal flora (See recipe below)
If you would like to read more about how to keep yourself healthy, you'll find some excellent information in this book
It’s hard to get 30 – 40 g per day from the normal British diet
Some options to increase intake of natural fibre per day.
Additional natural fibres include
Psyllium Hulls Combination
TNT good for people who won’t eat fruit & veg
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Rejuvelac drink (see below)
Soil based bacteria (e.g. saccharomyce boulardii)
Fermented and unfermented probiotics
Remedies Promoting an Healthy Bowel
Anne Wigmore’s Hippocrates Health Drink
Drink at least 1 glass of rejuvelac each day to improve their bowel flora. Rejuvelac may also be used as a starter for sourdough bread, and nut and seed cheese.
Makes 2 litres.
1 cup of wheat grains, from a health food store.
2 litres of water.
2 litre mason jar (wide mouthed).
INSTRUCTIONS METHOD 1
1. Add the wheat grains to the mason jar. Fill with water and cover with gauze, held securely in place with an elastic band.
2. Leave the jar on a kitchen bench out of direct sunlight. Give the jar a gentle twirl, but not a shake, every 12 hours. Once a light foam develops the Rejuvelac it should be ready for use. It may take anywhere from 2-5 days to ferment the Rejuvelac depending on the ambient temperature. In hot weather where it may ferment too quickly (around 24 hours) it is possible for the Rejuvelac go putrid. Rejuvelac should have a pleasant yeasty smell with a lemon like flavour.
3. Decant the Rejuvelac into a flagon and refrigerate. Refill the jar with water and ferment for another 24-36 hours to make a second culture. Decant the Rejuvelac and discard the wheat grains.
INSTRUCTIONS METHOD 2
1. Soak the grain over night. Rinse then lay the jar on its side to drain and leave the wheat to sprout for 1-3 days or until the roots are 1-3 mm long. Keep the jar covered with muslin and rinse periodically to prevent the grains from drying out, and to remove harmful organisms.
2. Fill the jar with water and ferment the culture for 1-2 days or until it has gone milky with a layer of froth on the surface.
3. Decant the liquid and refrigerate.
1. It is possible for Rejuvelac to bad (as it is for sprouts and probably any fermented culture). You can generally tell if the rejuvelac is okay by the smell and taste. It should be acidic with a pH less than pH 3.9. It is good practice to observe, smell and taste the rejuvelac periodically to become accustomed to the changes that occur (as it is for any fermented culture). Rejuvelac should keep in the fridge for a week or more, and will gradually sweeten with time.
2. All bacteria and yeasts have an optimum incubation temperature. Refrigeration will inhibit the growth of some organisms but may give an opportunity for others to flourish. Hot weather or high temperatures, may encourage the rapid growth of pathogenic organisms before the beneficial organisms get started, in which case the culture will smell putrid. If your culture goes off, then discard it, sterilise the jar and wait for cooler weather. In hot weather, it is feasible that a slight acidulation of the water with a little lemon juice at the start of the fermentation, may provide an environment less suited to pathogenic organisms.
1 teaspoon = 5 ml / 5 gm. 1 tablespoon = 15 ml / 15 gm. 15 tablespoons = 1 cup / 225 ml. 1 cup = 8 fluid oz / 225 ml. 1 US gallon = 3.6 litres. 1 lb = 16 oz / 454 gm. Temperature 20C = 68F. Conversion from Fahrenheit to Celsius: °C = (°F - 32) / 1.8. Conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit: °F = °C × 1.8 + 32
Further interesting information can be found here