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We have many products, which help promote excellent large intestine health. To view and order these products, please select your preferred manufacturer below. To order on-line, simply click on the add to cart button below each product. Our products can also be ordered by calling us at (323) 661-1183.
Anatomy and Physiology
The large intestine is about five feet long and composed of the cecum, ascending colon, hepatic flexure, transverse colon, splenic flexure, descending colon, sigmoid, and rectum.
The large intestine has no villi and produces no digestive enzymes. It does secrete mucus to help the digested food along and hold the fecal material together. It also plays a role in protecting the walls of the large intestine from bacterial activity and neutralizes some of the fecal acids. Between 1/3-1 quart of water, electrolytes, and some vitamins, are absorbed daily through the colon. If colon bacteria are normal they produce vitamins B-1, B-2, B-12 and K, and all with the possible exception of B-12 are absorbed and used by the body traveling first to the liver via the portal circulation. Absorption and storing fecal material are the large intestines two main functions.
After chime enters the large intestine much absorption occurs in the cecum and ascending colon. Mixing movements called haustrations occur every few minutes and last about one minute apiece. They roll and mix the chime to expose most of it to the colon’s surface for absorption. Over 80% of the material reaching the large intestine is reabsorbed. There are no peristaltic waves in the colon but a few times daily (usually after meals) a segment of the colon usually eight inches long will constrict (usually in the transverse or descending colon). This will occur twice in close proximity to force the fecal material along. Upon the fecal material reaching the rectum, a parasympathetic reflex is set up to cause defecation to occur.
The external sphincter is under voluntary control and we can mentally overcome this reflex and prevent defecation if we desire to.
Feces are usually 75% water, 7-8% dead bacteria, 2-7% fat, .5-1% protein, 5-10% roughage, byproducts, digestive juices, etc.
Symptoms of Large Intestine Dysfunction
1) If the bowel is overworked or malfunctioning, the body will try to find other areas of elimination, thus infections, skin problems, congestion, etc., can all be symptoms.
2) Diarrhea (frequent passage of watery bowel movements), constipation (difficult, infrequent defecation), increased cholesterol levels, cystitis, gallstones, appendicitis all can be due to toxic bowels.
3) Diverticula's (small herniations through the muscular wall of the colon) are symptoms of colon dysfunction. If they inflame it is called diverticulitis and symptoms can include pain, tenderness, diarrhea or constipation, fever.
4) Colitis or inflammation of the colon is marked by fever, weight loss, weakness, abdominal pain, diarrhea.
5) An imbalance in colon flora can manifest as a burning pain somewhere in the body, especially the feet.
6) Hemorrhoids are actually varicose veins in the rectal area. Pain, itching, bleeding, and distention upon straining to defecate can mark them.
Causes of Large Intestine Dysfunction
1) Slow transit time can cause colon dysfunction. Ideally, food that enters your body should pass through within 36 hours. If not gas, putrefaction and fermentation can set in. Causes of slow transit time can be lack of roughage in the diet, not drinking enough water, and eating in between meals, eating too many refined foods.
2) A diet low in roughage and high in refined carbohydrates can also cause diverticula's (the feces are hardened and the extra strain to move them causes the out pocketing), constipation, and bacterial changes (due to the fermentation and putrefaction).
3) People on a high fiber diet have lactobacillus and streptococcus as their main intestinal flora. On a low fiber diet, E. coli proliferate (especially if your refined carbohydrate intake - white flour, white sugar, etc., is high) and can lead to diverticulitis, cystitis, and appendicitis, gallbladder inflammation. Antibiotic taking can also change the bacterial flora for the worse.
4) In a colon with a slowed transit time, bacterial imbalance, and low roughage; bile acids upon reaching the colon can be converted into carcinogenic substances. Staying in contact with the colon walls for long periods of time, these substances can possibly be a cause of colon cancer. This bile acid breakdown product (lithocholate) also signals the liver to decrease bile acid production. Since cholesterol is used to synthesize bile acids, a decreased synthesis will raise cholesterol levels and also increase susceptibility to gallstones.
5) People in "primitive" societies on diets of unrefined foods exhibit very low incidences of colon problems.
6) Causes of colitis include hypoadrenia, a weak immune system, hypochlorhydria, decreased roughage, increased use of refined carbohydrates, stress, antibiotics, eating food you’re allergic to (see adrenal, thymus, and stomach chapters for more information).
7) Besides an imbalance in intestinal flora, a high fat intake is correlated to a high incidence of colon cancer. This includes refined animal and vegetable fat. Meat fat when exposed to air can form malonaldehyde, which is especially suspect of causing colon cancer. Spices, beer, high protein diets, and alcohol are also suspect in colon cancer.
8) Nerve pressure in the lumbar spine can cause colon dysfunction (see Appendix A).
9) Hemorrhoids can be caused by a congested liver, hypoadrenia, and a low roughage, high-refined carbohydrate diet.
10) If your stomach or small intestine are malfunctioning or you don’t chew well, and partially undigested food reaches the colon, it will putrefy and could damage the colon as a result.
11) Diarrhea can be a sign of colon dysfunction. It can also be due to eating something you’re allergic to, a stuck open ileocecal valve, vitamin B deficiency, and medication side effects. It could also be your body’s effort to flush through a harmful substance as quickly as possible.
12) Constipation can injure the colon or be a sign of a malfunctioning colon. Causes include low roughage diet, allergy to milk, wearing restrictive clothing, not drinking enough water, lack of exercise, chronic use of laxatives exhausting bowel tone, spastic ileocecal valve, worrying, side effect of certain medications. Voluntarily inhibiting your external sphincter muscle too often, to prevent defecation, can cause constipation and retard the reflex, leading to an atonic colon. Establishing regularity is very important in preventing constipation. The thyroid, adrenals, liver and parathyroid should also be evaluated in cases of constipation as possible causes.
Other Indications of Colon Dysfunction
1) A weak tensor fascia lata or hamstrings on manual muscle testing may indicate a large intestine problem (see Appendix C and figures 15.1, 15.2).
2) If your transit time is over 36 hours, you may have a colon problem (or it could be elsewhere in the gastrointestinal tract). To check your transit time chew 10 charcoal tablets before a meal, record the time you ingested them. Watch your feces and record the time the last of the charcoal leaves (should appear black). The time between ingestion and the last bit leaving is your transit time. After you’ve been treating your colon for 1-2 months you may want to recheck and see if it has improved.
Prevention and Treatment of Large Intestine Dysfunction
1) Eat a diet composed of mainly unrefined foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds), drink at least 6 glasses of water daily, and get lots of exercise. This will avoid most colon problems.
2) Avoid caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, greasy food, and animal fat. Keep oil, margarine, and sugar to a minimum.
3) Stay off all dairy for one month and see if your condition improves.
4) Evaluate and treat if necessary your liver, thyroid, adrenals, stomach, small intestine. All can affect your colon.
5) Chew your food well, don’t eat in between meals, don’t drink with your meals.
6) The following herbs are reportedly healing and tonic to the colon; mullein, sumac berries, slippery elm, red raspberry leaves.
7) If you suspect nerve pressure is affecting your colon (especially if you suffer from low back pain) see a good chiropractor (see Appendix A).
8) One reflex area is extremely helpful in colon problems. The whole outside of the thigh (right and left) should be rubbed vigorously daily for two weeks. When you find particularly tender areas spend a little extra time on those (see Appendix B).
9) In cases of colitis check for hypoadrenia, hypochlorhydria, and decreased thymus function. Eating garlic is reported to help, as is a castor oil pack over the colon. Stay on the adrenal recovery diet for one month.
10) A heating pad over the bowel can often relieve pain there.
11) In cases of diarrhea, find the cause. To relieve symptoms a hot half bath is helpful as is an enema. Eating unrefined carob or chewing on a guava leaf can also relieve diarrhea.
12) Eating a high roughage, low refined carbohydrate diet, will do much for constipation. Other helpful remedies include: a) Massaging the colon - start at the cecum and go up the ascending colon, across the transverse, and down the descending colon. This can help loosen hardened fecal material. b) Drinking one pint of ocean water mixed with 2 pints of distilled water upon arising will cause a bowel movement. c) Drink enough water (6-8 glasses daily) and get lots of exercise. d) Evaluate your liver, thyroid, ileocecal valve, and parathyroid for possible involvement. e) Try a cold-water bulb syringe enema to relieve constipation, retain water for 1 minute then expel, use this for a colon lacking tone. If the colon is spastic try a warm water bulb syringe enema. f) A warm or hot compress to the abdomen, or a hot sitz bath can be helpful in relieving constipation. g) Drinking aloe vera juice can help relieve constipation. h) Try to develop regularity in bowel habits and don’t inhibit the natural urge to defecate whenever possible.
13) Senna is a very strong laxative and its use should be discouraged. Cascara sagrada is reported to tone the bowels as well as act as a safe laxative and when withdrawn the bowels should continue to work fine due to its tonic effect.
Habitual use of stimulating laxatives tends to decrease bowel tone and create a laxative dependency. Their use should be avoided.
Many antidiarrhea drugs have possible dangerous side effects such as numbness of extremities, depression, headaches, vomiting, and increased heart rate. Again we should seek out the cause and try to restore the body to proper functioning naturally.
Related Product links
We have many products, which help promote excellent large intestine health. To view and order these products, please select your preferred manufacturer below; To order on-line, simply click on the add to cart button below each product. Our products can also be ordered by calling us at ( 323 ) 661-1183.
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