The Colon's Effect on Health
The colon, or large intestine, is an organ very much neglected until trouble begins, usually first recognized as constipation or diarrhea. The symptoms are often treated with over the counter preparations frequently advertised on television and in magazines. This approach does nothing to get at the basic underlying cause of the problem; more important, it allows the condition to progress and cause very serious health problems. Most of the serious health problems resulting from colon dysfunction take years to develop. The two primary things that happen in the colon are (1) colon stasis, which is lack of good movement of material through the bowel and (2) putrefaction and abnormal bacteria in the bowel. Colon stasis may develop as a result of too little roughage or fibrous material in the diet. Putrefaction and abnormal bacteria result, primarily from too much refined carbohydrate in the diet, in the form of white sugar and refined white flour.
Both these dietary abnormalities are the result of the increased processing of food in our modern civilization. In third world areas such as Africa where some natives maintained their original diet, the diseases discussed were very rare or non-existent. The natives developed these same diseases when they began eating processed foods. Let’s look at some of these diseases and how to avoid them.
Cancer of the Colon: There is ample evidence and epidemioloic information showing that cancer of the colon is primarily caused by lack of fiber and excessive refined carbohydrates in our diet. One of the harmless chemicals of bile, which is present in the intestines, can be converted into a strong and powerful cancer-producing chemical. This chemical develops as the result of high concentrations of abnormal bacteria, present because of the high level of refined carbohydrates in the diet. When colon stasis is also present, the cancer-producing chemical stays in contact with the colon wall for long periods, often for several days. The continued attack on the colon tissue may eventually cause cancer.
Heart Attacts and Hardening of the Arteries: An improperly functioning bowel causes a diminished elimination of cholesterol from the body. Cholesterol is one of the factors responsible for hardening and narrowing of the arteries. If the coronary artery that feeds the heart becomes clogged, so that the heart does not have adequate circulation, the most common type of heart attack (ischemic heart attack) occurs.
There is a common misconception that a person’s cholesterol level is the result of the amount cholesterol eaten in the diet. Actually, ingested cholesterol is the source of only about 20% of the body’s cholesterol. Your body manufactures it from other substances in the liver.
The colon affects cholesterol levels in the following way. The liver eliminates cholesterol from the body via the bile dumped into the bowel. Again we blame abnormal levels of bacteria in the bowel, because the abnormal bacteria convert bile salts into lithocholate which, when reabsorbed, reduces the liver’s elimination of cholesterol from the body. The production of lithocholate, together with colon stasis causes material to remain in the colon too long and is one of the major causes of too much cholesterol in the bloodstream. This may eventually cause hardening of the arteries, heart attacks, and strokes.
Diverticulitis/Diverticulosis: The colon works best when waste material is mushy and soft, since it moves rapidly through the bowel and is eliminated within a day and a half. Today’s common diet takes approximately three to four days for elimination. When there is too little roughage the stool becomes small, compacted, and hardened. Over a period of time the actual size of the large intestine will become smaller. To move this compacted waste material, great efforts are required of the colon’s circular muscles. Pressure develops along the colon. If infection develops in these pockets, diverticulitis occurs. This condition includes possible bleeding and tissue breakdown, and is very serious indeed.
In the past, the proper diet for this condition was considered a bland one, supposedly non-irritating to the bowel. Unfortunately, this diet simply made the condition worse because it continued to promote the hard, compacted stool and abnormal colon function.
It is absolutely imperative that, under a doctor’s control, an individual with diverticulitis and/or diverticulosis resume a natural diet so that improved colon function can be obtained.
Hemorrhoids, Varicosities and Phlebitis: It has long been known that constipation causes and worsens hemorrhoids, generally called piles. In most cases, the mechanism for a hemorrhoid problem is the same as that for varicosities. A dry, hard, compacted stool causes considerable strain for evacuation. This strain causes increased pressure in the veins, resulting in a ballooning and breakdown of the vein wall, whether it be the hemorrhoid plexus or the veins of the legs.
There is an additional factor in varicosities of the legs. The bowel lies across the veins going down to the leg, causing a back pressure against the return of blood to the heart. This back pressure causes a ballooning of the blood vessel wall, especially if the one-way valves in the veins have been damaged by straining at the stool with constipation. The abnormal vein function that develops is inflammation of the vein that can be very serious; in fact, it can cause death.
Infections: High use of refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour, causes an imbalance of bacteria, and abnormal bacteria develop in the colon. This bacterial involvement can be responsible for infections in the urinary tract, gallbladder, appendix, and diverticula. The answer to these infections, especially if recurrent, is to regain normal colon function.
Treatment: Since prevention is the best treatment, a doctor trained in Applied Kinesiology will evaluate you for colon function and examine the nerve and other energy control patterns of your colon. He/she will possibly suggest dietary changes and nutritional supplements to restore normal colon function.
The danger signs indicating that you need to improve colon function are tendency toward diarrhea, constipation, and a foul smelling stool or gas that may be passed. A normal stool has minimal offensive odor.