Understanding what the colon’s main functions are help to explain why it is so important to maintain colon health: This is what a healthy colon does:
- Eliminates waste
- Detoxifies the body
- Makes certain vitamins (the ‘friendly’ gut bacteria do this)
However, an under active colon has become the norm for many people eating a typical Western / American diet. Instead of working as nature intended, with bowels emptying after every meal – our systems have grown sluggish and excessively burdened, which over time encourages chronic ill health to develop. Many people suffer from chronic bowel conditions such as IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), Diverticulitis or Colitis. When the ability of the colon to properly eliminate or detoxify is overwhelmed, toxins can easily be reabsorbed into the body, and this puts a greater burden on your other organs of elimination – the liver, kidneys, lungs and skin. Skin conditions on the outside, reflect the state of the inside! On top of this, the increased toxic load places a great strain on your immune system, increasing your susceptibility to illness and disease.
When the colon is irritated by diet, stress, drugs, chemicals or other ‘toxic’ substances, it tries to protect itself by producing an excess of mucus. This additional mucus can bind with the sludge from refined and processed foods, such as white flour, and build up on the wall of the bowel, narrowing the space through which the can faeces pass through. This layer of gluey, hardened faeces (often termed as colon plaque) can weigh several pounds and makes an attractive home for harmful organisms (e.g. yeast, bacteria and worms!). It also lodges in pockets within the bowel, causing ballooning, diverticuli (small pockets) and inflammation. Don’t think that just because you have regular bowel movements, or even diarrhoea, that you have a perfectly working bowel. The stools can still pass through an encrusted colon and leave behind the accumulated plaque residue on the walls.
A healthy colon ~ the key to a healthy body
Symptoms of a ‘toxic’ colon can be many and varied, before actual intestinal illness becomes apparent.
Commonly noticed first signs include:
- Tiredness, low vitality
- Skin problems
- Foggy head, forgetfulness
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- PMS, breast pain, painful periods
- Frequent headaches and migraines
- Frequent colds and infections
- Food intolerance
- Bad breath, gas, smelly stools
- Bodily aches and pains