Treating Colon and Digestive Health Naturally
This Topic Covers:
The importance of colon health and the
digestive system; Natural and holistic treatments for constipation; In
depth information on laxatives; How laxatives work; Types of laxatives;
Risks of laxative use and colon cleansing; Natural and holistic digestive treatments; and how to
heal the colon.
The Baseline of Health Foundation
Digestive Disease & Intestinal Health: "Written
by Jon Barron at The Baseline of Health Foundation"
7, Issue 2:
There is an old saying that "Death Begins in the
Colon." This is an oversimplification to be sure, but more accurate than
not. In fact, the road to health begins with intestinal cleansing and
detoxification -- no matter what the disease or problem…
What digestive disorders?
Constipation and the attendant symptoms of self
Diverticular disease (herniations of the colon)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Other Related Digestive Diseases
It is worth noting that many other diseases (that at first
glance appear to have no connection with the digestive tract) have been related
by many doctors to the bowel. These include: diabetes, gallstones, kidney
stones, gout, hypertension, varicose veins, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and
metabolichealing.com - © Metabolic Healing, Inc.
health-improvement program should address the function of the gut flora and
mucosal barrier. This is magnified exponentially if one has chronic gut
issues, inflammatory conditions, autoimmune disorders, and behavioral
Because there are so
many factors that will impede upon your intestinal flora, maintaining proper
digestion, assimilation and intestinal immunity is paramount. All of these
factors work together.
Alarming Statistics – Digestive Disorders
All Digestive Diseases
to 70 million people affected by all digestive diseases1
Ambulatory care visits: 48.3 million (2010)2–4
Hospitalizations: 21.7 million (2010)5
Mortality: 245,921 deaths (2009)6
Diagnostic and therapeutic inpatient procedures: 5.4 million—12 percent of
all inpatient procedures (2007)7
Ambulatory surgical procedures: 20.4 million—20 percent of all “write-in”
surgical procedures (2010)2
Costs: $141.8 billion (2004)8
$97.8 billion, direct medical costs (2004)8
$44 billion, indirect costs—for example, disability and mortality (2004)8
Alarming Statistics – Colon Disorders
Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the United States. More
than 4 million Americans have frequent constipation,
accounting for 2.5 million physician visits a year. Those reporting constipation
most often are women and adults ages 65 and older. Pregnant women may have
constipation, and it is a common problem following childbirth or surgery. Self-treatment
of constipation with over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives is by far the most
common aid. Around $725 million is spent on laxative products each year in
The Importance of the
The importance of foods and digestion to human health cannot be
entire human body - atoms, molecules, cells, tissues, and organs - is made
from food, water, and air. Every nerve, muscle, gland, secretion, bone, and
hair begins as food we eat, water we drink, or air we breathe...
Foods carry the potential for building optimally
functioning - healthy-bodies, but they must first be transformed by
digestion. If undigested foods were to enter our blood, serious illness
would result. Undigested foods are incompatible with the body and with
health. Our digestive system turns the food material that we eat and drink
into material compatible to our body, from which our body and our health can
then be built.
After digestion transforms the foods we eat into
compatible components, the body absorbs these components and uses them as
building blocks to construct the molecules, cells, and tissues that are the
Foods supply the
energy necessary to maintain life, and the building blocks necessary for the
construction of the body. Yet foods are useless for both these purposes
until many enzymes and chemicals in the digestive tract have acted upon
Good digestion has to take
place before efficient absorption is possible, necessary to generate good
health. Incomplete digestion causes many problems, including poor absorption
of nutrients, a nutrient-starved body prone to materials, intestinal gas and
toxin production, and absorption of undigested materials leading to food
sensitivities, allergies, and immune reactions.
Understanding the Digestive System
Everything we eat and
drink enters the body through our digestive system...A continuous muscular
tube, the human digestive system includes mouth, esophagus, stomach,
intestine, and anus. We sub-divide the intestine into duodenum, small
intestine consisting of jejunum and ileum, and large intestine or colon.
Each part of the digestive tract performs a different set of functions
important to health.
From digested foods, the body draws
nutrients into itself. It uses these nutrients to build, maintain, repair,
and replace molecules, cells, and tissues. Nutritious foods, well digested
and efficiently absorbed, provide the basis of radiant health.
Poor absorption of food components results in a body
deficient in building materials. Cells and tissues deteriorate. Digestive
enzymes and stomach acid, which the body makes from the building blocks that
it absorbs, may become insufficient, making for poor digestion, further
decreasing the quantity of nutrients available for absorption, in a vicious
circle. Poor absorption therefore leads to poor health. The efficiency of
digestion and absorption decreases as we age.
imperfections: Genetically, our digestive
ability may not be 100% to begin with. Most of us also have genetically
determined needs for extraordinary quantities of one or more of the
essential nutrients. Our eating habits may leave something to be desired. We
don't chew properly, eat on the run, eat under stress, eat nutrient-poor
foods, etc. Digestion deteriorates with age. Stomach hydrochloric acid
production declines. Enzyme production decreases. Absorption becomes less
efficient. Elimination of toxins & wastes becomes more difficult. Cell,
gland, and organ functions decline.
Illness, especially of the gastro-intestinal tract,
decreases digestive and absorptive capacity. Diseases of glands, liver, and
kidneys also have negative effects on digestion.
When the digestive system does not work properly, its
malfunctions affect our health in many different ways:
Choosing to eat foods with poor nutritional quality
may result in obtaining fewer essential nutrients than the body requires
Inadequate chewing can result in incomplete
digestion, failure to absorb some of the nutrients that foods contain,
intestinal fermentation, gas, and toxin production which affects colon
health. Some of these toxins may be absorbed and stress the liver,
kidneys, and immune system.
Lack of stomach acid can result in inadequate
protein digestion, inability to absorb Vitamin B-12, and intestinal
putrefaction with generation of toxins which may be absorbed into the
body, and which also affect colon health.
Lack of digestive enzymes results in incomplete
digestion, putrefaction, decreased absorption of essential nutrients,
and internal toxin production that increases the load on kidneys, liver
and immune system.
Inadequate liver function can result in
difficulties in assimilating nutrients, especially fats. Nausea or
heavy, tired feeling after fat-containing meals is an indication of
deficient liver function. If liver function is weak, detoxification
processes for which it is responsible may be deficient, leading to
negative effects on every cell, tissue, and organ, and allowing toxins
to accumulate throughout the body.
Pancreatic insufficiency leads to seriously
impaired digestion which affects the entire intestinal tract,
mal-absorption which leads to deficiency of essential nutrients in the
body, and lowered vitality of all cells and tissues.
Nutrient absorption tends to decrease with age
because, like all aging cells, absorptive cells become less efficient in
their functions as we age. If magnified, because malnourished aging
cells are even less able to do their job.
Supplementation of the diet with essential
nutrients, enzymes, fiber, herbs, and other substances can contribute to
significant improvements in health in many of these situations.
The Importance of
Depends on Enzymes:
"Written by Jon Barron at The
Baseline of Health Foundation"
proteins that facilitate chemical reactions in living organisms. In fact,
they are required for every single chemical action that takes place in your
body. All of your cells, organs, bones, muscles, and tissues are run by
Your digestive system, immune system, blood stream,
liver, kidneys, spleen, and pancreas, as well as your ability to see, think,
feel, and breathe, all depend on enzymes. All of the minerals and vitamins
you eat and all of the hormones your body produces need enzymes in order to
work properly. In fact, every single metabolic function in your body is
governed by enzymes. Your stamina, your energy level, your ability to
utilize vitamins and minerals, your immune system -- all governed by
'This article was
brought to you by Dr. Mercola'. You've probably heard of
enzymes, and you probably already know they are important for your
digestion. But you may not be aware of just how necessary enzymes are to
every cell in your body—not just for digestion but for ALL your
Enzymes are composed of amino acids and are secreted
by your body to help catalyze functions that would normally not occur at
physiological temperatures. They literally make magic happen and are
absolutely vital to your life.
More than 3,000 different
enzymes have been identified, and some experts believe there may be another
50,000 we have yet to discover. Each enzyme has a different function—like
3,000 specialized keys cut to fit 3,000 different locks. In this analogy,
the locks are biochemical
Enzymes drive biological processes
necessary for your body to build raw materials, circulate nutrients,
eliminate unwanted chemicals, and the myriad of other biochemical processes
that go on without your even thinking about it.
For starters, here are just some of the activities in your body
Absorption of oxygen
Fighting infections and healing wounds
Getting nutrients into your cells
Carrying away toxic wastes
Breaking down fats in your blood, regulating cholesterol and triglyceride
Dissolving blood clots
Proper hormone regulation
Slowing the aging process
And small amounts of enzymes can affect profound changes! Enzymes
are the catalysts that cause many essential biochemical reactions to
happen—but they are not "used up" IN the reaction. They merely
assist—meaning, they accelerate reactions—sometimes to a mind-boggling
several million reactions per second!
Enzymes lower the amount of energy needed for a reaction to occur.
Without them, some reactions simply would not function in your body. But
enzymes don't work alone. Enzymes rely on other elements to accomplish their
tasks, such as certain vitamins and minerals. These elements are called
You are probably already familiar with one of these—coenzyme Q10.
CoQ10 is found in the mitochondria (power centers) of your cells where it is
involved in making ATP, every cell's
principal energy source. Another example is magnesium, which
participates in over 300 enzyme reactions.
*ATP defined: “A
critically important macromolecule—arguably
“second in importance only to DNA”—is ATP. ATP is a complex nanomachine that
serves as the primary energy currency of the cell. A nanomachine is a
complex precision microscopic-sized machine that fits the standard
definition of a machine. ATP is the “most widely distributed high-energy
the human body” (Ritter, 1996, p. 301). This ubiquitous molecule is “used to
build complex molecules, contract muscles, generate electricity in nerves,
fireflies. All fuel sources of Nature, all foodstuffs of living things,
produce ATP, which in turn powers virtually every activity of the cell and
"Enzyme Potential" -
Howell spent his entire professional life studying enzymes and can be
credited with catalyzing enzyme research. Whether or not
this is true, Howell believed you were born with a limited enzyme-producing
capacity, and that your life expectancy depends on how well you preserve
potential." His theory was that if you don't get enough enzymes from the
food you eat, great strain is placed on your digestive system to "pick up
the slack," i.e., produce enough enzymes to accomplish the task.
in digestive enzymes then reduces availability of your metabolic enzymes.
Howell believed this metabolic enzyme deficit was at the root of most
chronic health problems.
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three basic categories of enzymes:
Digestive enzymes, as their
name implies, help you break down food into smaller parts that can be
absorbed, transported and utilized by every cell in your body. Digestive
enzymes are extra-cellular—meaning,
they are found outside your cells.
Metabolic enzymes are intra-cellular—meaning,
inside your cells, where they help the cell carry out a variety of functions
related to its reproduction and replenishment.
produces most of these digestive and metabolic enzymes.
Food enzymes -
you get (or should be getting) many enzymes
from the foods you consume—particularly, raw foods. These directly help with
your digestive process.
raw foods you eat, the
lower the burden on your body to produce the enzymes it needs, not only for
digestion, but for practically everything. Whatever enzymes are not used up
in digestion are then available to help with other important physiological
Retrieved From -
'This article was brought to you by Dr. Mercola'.
Journey through Your Digestive System
: Once consumed,
your meal begins a complicated, multi-phased journey of breakdown and
conversion into nutrients your body can use. This process is, of course,
and enzymes play a key role.
eight primary digestive enzymes, each designed to help break down different
types of food:
- Protease: Digesting protein
- Amylase: Digesting carbohydrates
- Lipase: Digesting fats
- Cellulase: Breaking down fiber
- Maltase: Converting complex sugars from grains
- Lactase: Digesting milk sugar (lactose) in dairy
- Phytase: Helps with overall digestion,
especially in producing the B vitamins
- Sucrase: Digesting most sugars
begins in your mouth, starting with saliva... Your mouth is where
enzymes (primarily amylase) begin to exert their action. Amylase in your
saliva begins to break down carbohydrates.
As food passes
into your stomach, proteins are worked on by protease. From there, the bolus
of food passes into your small intestine, where lipase begins to break down
fats, and amylase finishes off the carbohydrates.
Did you know
percent of your
digestion and absorption takes place in your small intestine? From here, the
micronutrients are absorbed into your bloodstream through millions of tiny
villi in the wall of your gut. But what happens when this process goes awry?
the Western Diet: Enzyme Deficiency
enzyme production is at the root of much "tummy trouble" in our country. Digestive
problems cost Americans $50 billion each year in both direct costs and
absence from work.
It is a sad
fact that 90 percent of the food Americans buy is processed
food. Diets heavy in cooked, processed, and sugary
foods, combined with overuse of pharmaceutical
as antibiotics, deplete your body's ability to make enzymes.
Enzymes may be
relatively large, but their protein structures are fragile. The amino acids
in the molecular chain link together to form certain patterns and shapes,
which give enzymes their unique characteristics and functions. When
something disrupts the chain's structure, the enzyme becomes "denatured"—it
changes shape and loses its ability to perform.
food above 116 degrees F renders most enzymes inactive.
This is one of
the reasons it's so important to eat your
foods raw. Raw foods are enzyme-rich,
and consuming them decreases your body's burden to produce its own enzymes.
The more food that you can eat raw, the better. Ideally, you should get 75 percent of your digestive enzymes
from your food.
In addition to
heat, enzymes are also very sensitive to shifts in pH, which is why
different enzymes work in different parts of your digestive tract, based on
the pH each enzyme needs in order to function.
deficiency results in poor digestion and poor nutrient absorption. This
creates a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms, including:
Flatulence and belching
Heartburn and acid reflux
malabsorption can lead to a variety of illnesses. Think about it—if your
body doesn't have the basic nutritional building blocks it needs, your
health and ability to recover from illness will be compromised.
breaking down food, enzymes (particularly the proteases) can help with gut
healing, controlling pathogens, and immune support. Your
immune system begins in your gut—and if you have enzyme and
digestive issues, chances are your immune system isn't functioning as well
as it should be.
matters, your capacity for enzyme production also declines with age.
How Aging Affects Your Enzyme Production:
Research has shown that your natural enzyme
production starts to decline by the time you're about 20. Studies show that, every
ten years, your body's production of enzymes decreases by 13 percent. So
by age 40, your enzyme production could be 25 percent lower than it was when
you were a child. And by the time you're 70, you could be producing only
ONE-THIRD of the enzymes you need.
worse, your stomach produces less hydrochloric acid as you age, and
hydrochloric acid is crucial in activating your stomach's digestive enzymes.
of foods requires such a heavy demand, enzyme supplies run short and your
enzyme-producing capacity can become exhausted. Why does this matter?
high demand for digestive enzymes depletes
your body's production of metabolic enzymes, which every cell in
your body needs in order to function.
Enzymes in Food and the Body:
"Written by Jon Barron at The Baseline of Health Foundation"
As it happens, they are produced both
internally (most notably in the pancreas and the other endocrine glands) and
are present in raw foods that we eat. At birth we are endowed with a certain
potential for manufacturing enzymes in our bodies, an enzyme “reserve,” if
you will. Nature intended that we continually replenish that reserve through
proper nutrition and eating habits. Unfortunately, that just doesn't happen.
Let's take a look at why.
Most people believe that when you eat a meal it drops
into a pool of stomach acid, where it's broken down, then goes into the
small intestine to have nutrients taken out, and then into the colon to be
passed out of the body -- if you're lucky. Not quite.
What nature intended is that you eat enzyme rich foods
and chew your food properly. If you did that, the food would enter the
stomach laced with digestive enzymes. These enzymes would then "predigest"
your food for about an hour -- actually breaking down as much as 75% of your
After this period of "pre digestion," hydrochloric acid
is introduced. The acid inactivates all of the enzymes, but begins its own
function of breaking down what is left of the meal.
Eventually, this nutrient rich food concentrate moves
on into the small intestine. Once food enters the small intestine, the
pancreas reintroduces digestive enzymes to the process. As digestion is
completed, nutrients are passed through the intestinal wall and into the
That's what nature intended.
Unfortunately, most of us don't live our lives as nature intended!
of Enzymes - Cooked Food: Processing and cooking destroy enzymes
in food. (Man is the only animal that cooks his food.) In fact, any
sustained heat of approximately 118 - 129 degrees, destroys virtually all
enzymes. This means that, for most of us, the food entering our stomachs is
severely enzyme deficient. (Actually, there are some enzymes present from
our saliva. The amount, however, is minuscule since we only chew our food
about 25% as much as is required.) The result is that most of our meals
enter our stomachs woefully devoid of enzymes.
The food then sits there for an hour, like a heavy
lump, with very little pre-digestion taking place. Even after the stomach
acid has done its work, the meal enters the small intestine largely
At this point, the pancreas and the other organs of the
endocrine system are put under tremendous stress since they have to draw
reserves from the entire body in order to produce massive amounts of the
proper digestive enzymes. The less digestion that takes place before food
reaches the small intestine the greater the stress placed on the endocrine
systems. Recent studies have shown that virtually 100% of all Americans have
an enlarged pancreas by the time they're 40. Is it any wonder that diabetes
is so rampant in the United States.
There's also major research showing that enzyme
deficient diets contribute to a pathological enlargement of the pituitary
gland (That's the gland that regulates all the other glands.). And there is
research showing that almost 100% of people over 50 who die from
"accidental” causes have defective pituitary glands.
Boosting Your Enzyme Levels
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There are four ways to naturally increase your
The very best way to get enzymes into your body is
by consuming at least 75 percent of your foods raw... While all raw foods contain enzymes, the most
powerful enzyme-rich foods are those that are sprouted (seeds and legumes).
Sprouting increases the enzyme content in these foods tremendously. Besides
sprouts, other enzyme-rich foods include:
Papaya, pineapple, mango, kiwi, and grapes
Raw honey (the enzymes actually come from the bee’s saliva)
Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil
Raw meat and dairy
The best way
to bump up your metabolic enzymes is to provide
your body with the raw materials and energy it needs to
make them. By eating these types of foods, you supply your body with the
amino acids and the enzyme co-factors needed to boost your own natural
Another way to
lower your body's demand for enzymes is to reduce your caloric intake. Did
you know the average person spends 80 percent of his available energy simply
overall consumption, as well as introducing more living foods, you reduce
your need for digestive enzymes, which allows your body to put more of its
energy into producing metabolic enzymes.
Which brings us to chewing. Quite apart from the
esthetic pleasure of an unhurried meal, there are important physiological
reasons to chew your food well.
stimulates saliva production, and the more time you spend chewing, the
longer your saliva enzymes have to work in your mouth, lessening the
workload of your stomach and small intestine. Chewing also stimulates a
reflex that sends a message to your pancreas and other digestive organs,
"Gear up—we've got incoming!"
fools your body into believing it is digesting something, so it pumps out
digestive enzymes unnecessarily. Why waste those precious resources?
Digestive Enzyme Supplementation
"Written by Jon Barron at The Baseline of Health Foundation"
At a minimum, you must use a good digestive enzyme supplement with each and
every meal you eat -- particularly any meal that contains either processed
or cooked food.
A couple of times a week at night (or more often if you
think of it), before bed, take your digestive enzyme supplement on an empty
Enzymes Should You Use? The fact is
you'll benefit from any good vegetarian based digestive enzyme supplement.
But look for one that contains:
A variety of proteases,
including Papain (to aid in the digestion of protein). Papain, which
comes from papaya, is so effective in digesting proteins that it is
often used as a meat tenderizer.
Amylase (for the digestion of starches and
Lipase (to digest fats).
Cellulase (invaluable in breaking down fiber
cellulose into smaller units).
Lactase (which works in the digestion of dairy
I also used to recommend
using large amounts of bromelain in the formula --not so much anymore.
Bromelain is a great proteolytic enzyme found in pineapples. It digests
protein, and it helps reduce inflammation and swelling in joints.
Unfortunately, a significant number of people are subject to side
effects--such as diarrhea and stomach and intestinal discomfort--when they
use bromelain. It can also cause allergic reactions,
especially in people who have other allergies...
enzymes are part of a substance called
pancreatin (or pancreas juice) produced in the pancreas. This complex
includes the enzymes protease, amylase, and lipase and is released both into
the intestines and the bloodstream.
In the intestines, pancreatin works to help digest the
proteins, carbohydrates, and starches of our meals. Supplementation with
digestive enzymes along with a meal helps share the workload of your body's
own pancreatic enzymes and can aid in digestion. But what happens if you
take enzymes between meals?
As mentioned earlier, pancreatic enzymes are not only
released into the small intestine, but also directly into the bloodstream.
Protein molecules that are
only partially digested in the small intestine are absorbed into the
Once in the bloodstream, the immune system treats them as invaders provoking
an immune reaction. Antibodies couple with these foreign protein invaders to
form circulating immune complexes (CIC's). Now, in a healthy person, these
CIC's may be neutralized in the lymphatic system. But if the immune system
is in any way compromised, CIC's accumulate in the blood, where they
initiate an "allergic" reaction. As the number of CIC's builds, the kidneys
max out and can no longer excrete all of the CIC's, so they begin to
accumulate in the body's soft tissues, causing inflammation.
It is here that the pancreatic enzymes in our
bloodstream come into play. Pancreatic enzymes are able to break down CIC's
so that they can pass through the kidneys for excretion.
What does that
mean for us? Well, if enzymes are taken between meals, the body doesn't
need the enzymes for digesting food, so they make their way directly into
the bloodstream to aid in the elimination of CIC's.
But it gets even better. Because of their ability to
digest foreign proteins, pancreatic enzymes (both those produced in the body
and those absorbed into the bloodstream from taking
supplemental digestive enzymes)
work to clear out infecting organisms such as viruses, scar tissue, and the
products of inflammation. For this reason, pancreatic enzymes are
frequently used by Naturopaths to treat a variety of conditions, including
lung infections, tooth infections, bone fractures, and as a body
strengthener before surgery.
Specifically, pancreatic enzymes have been used by many healers
to aid in a variety of disease conditions, including inflammation, viral
disease, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.
A dedicated proteolytic enzyme (high protease) formula will be even more
effective in this regard than a digestive enzyme formula, forced to do
double duty. Ideally, you should use a dedicated digestive enzyme formula
with your meals and a dedicated
protease formula between meals.
"Written by Jon Barron at The Baseline of Health Foundation"
The bottom line is that
regular supplementation with digestive
enzymes takes stress off the pancreas (and the entire body) by providing the
enzymes required for digestion.
other words, digestive enzyme supplements just may be one of the best
insurance policies you can give your body so you can enjoy a long and
In addition to a longer, healthier, and more vital
life, you will also experience a number of short term benefits. These
You should notice a significant reduction in
indigestion and heartburn problems resulting from too much acid in the
Since complex carbohydrates are now being
substantially digested before they enter the intestinal tract, you
should experience relief from gas and bloating. (Some people may
actually notice an increase in activity for several days as their
digestive systems come alive.)
Look for improved digestion of dairy products
caused by lactose intolerance.
Diminished food allergies due to more complete
Greatly reduced flatulence due to more complete
Since the digestion of enzyme deficient food is an
extremely energy consuming task, within a few days of enzyme
supplementation you should notice an increase in energy levels.
Relief from hiatal hernias.
Relief from ulcers. (Digestive enzymes help with
ulcers in two ways. First, they help digest so much of your meal during
the 40-60 minutes of predigestion that your body requires less acid in
the actual digestion phase. This means that taking digestive enzymes
will help lower the levels of acid in your stomach. (Those who suffer
from chronic low levels of acid need not worry. Digestive enzymes
supplements help here too by breaking down so much food in the
predigestion phase that less acid is actually required. And over time,
decreased demand results in increased reserve capability.)
Experiment - There is a fun experiment
you can perform (that will work with any good digestive enzyme formula) and
that will actually let you see the benefit of enzyme supplementation in just
a few minutes.
Now check. If the formula you are using is any good,
there should be a pronounced difference in the two bowls. The untreated bowl
should be as expected: congealed, lumpy, stick to your ribs consistency. The
bowl with the enzymes will look quite different. It will be “digested” and
have the consistency of watery gruel. Which oatmeal would you rather have
work through your body: the one that's stuck to the bowl like cement, or the
enzyme bowl that's predigested? Which oatmeal do you think is less stressful
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If you suffer
from occasional bloating, minor abdominal discomfort, and occasional
constipation and suspect your enzyme production is low, you might want to
consider a digestive enzyme supplement in addition to eating more of your
enzymes should be taken WITH a meal. There are hundreds on the market, so
how do you choose a good one? You should look for an enzyme formula with the
It should contain a mixture of different types of enzymes, to help digest
all of the different components of your diet (including lipase,
protease, and amylase)
The ingredients should be high quality, all-natural, and free of
allergens and additives
The supplement should be labeled as to the enzymatic strength of each
ingredient, not just its weight
It should be made by a reputable company with rigorous quality control
and testing for potency
digestive enzyme supplementation, there is another way to use oral enzymes—for
This requires taking enzymes between
meals so they can be absorbed through your gut and into your bloodstream,
where your cells can use them metabolically.
The Importance of Metabolic
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Now that you know how important digestive enzymes
are for getting nourishment, let's take a look at another type of enzymatic
activity—your metabolic enzymes. Metabolic enzymes are intimately involved
with running your circulatory, lymphatic, cardiac, neurologic, endocrine,
renal, hepatic, and reproductive systems, and maintaining your skin, bones,
joints, muscles and other tissues.
Every one of
your 10 trillion cells depends on these enzymes and their ability to
catalyze energy production. As I said before, each of these enzymes is
highly specialized as a function of its particular molecular structure.
RNA polymerase is
an enzyme your body uses to transcribe DNA into RNA, which is used to
produced in the lysosome of each cell (also called the “suicide bag”),
breaks down macromolecules and other foreign particles the cell has
ingested (such as bacteria) so they can be disposed of. The lysosome is
a microscopic garbage disposal!
One of the most important
functions of metabolic enzymes happens in your blood. If you think about it,
it makes sense. We know that bacteria, fungi, and parasites are comprised of
protein, as is the shell encompassing viruses. Enzymes in your
blood—primarily proteases (proteolytic enzymes)—serve to break down
protein-based foreign bodies, effectively cleansing
cleansers, these enzymes combat chronic inflammation, which left unchecked
can lead to everything from autoimmune diseases, to cardiovascular disease
and even cancer. Enzymes reduce inflammation in your body by:
Breaking down foreign proteins in the blood
that cause inflammation and facilitating their removal via your blood
stream and lymphatic system
Removing “fibrin,” a clotting material that can prolong inflammation
Reducing edema in the inflamed regions
then, that any disease caused by inflammation—which is practically every
chronic disease we face today—can be benefited by increased levels of
functional enzymes in your blood.
oral enzymes have been used to treat problems ranging from sports injuries
to arthritis to heart disease and
cancer, particularly in European countries. But most of the research has
been published in non-English language journals. This systemic use of
enzymes is just now taking off in the United States.
It is crucial
that, in order for enzymes to be used systemically, they
must be ingested on an empty stomach. Otherwise,
your body will use them for digesting your food, instead of being absorbed
into the blood and doing their work there.
Therapeutic Treatment & Benefits of Systematic Enzymes
Reference Source -
Almost any disease that has an inflammatory component or is classified as an
autoimmune disease can be helped with systemic enzyme therapy. Studies
done in Europe, show systemic
enzymes to be of significant benefit for those with multiple sclerosis.
Systemic enzymes are of great help for people suffering from rheumatoid
arthritis, herpes zoster (shingles), and many other conditions.
Systemic enzymes are also very helpful in the world of sports. Taken
prophylactically systemic enzymes help prevent injury and allow longer,
harder training. If
any injury does occur, systemic enzymes will reduce inflammation by
supporting the body's natural healing reactions, rather than interfering
you take an aspirin a day to help your heart, you may want to think about
switching to systemic enzymes. Aspirin
helps decrease myocardial infarction by preventing the blood from clotting
through preventing platelet aggregation. However, long-term use of aspirin
can cause stomach or intestinal problems, especially internal bleeding.
Systemic enzymes also prevent platelet aggregation, and also have an
anti-inflammatory effect like aspirin, but without side effects, even after
years of intake.
enzymes also helped regeneration of cartilage, something nonsteroidal
(NSAID's) don't do.
One advantage of NSAID's over systemic enzymes is they will act quickly to
help the pain. Systemic enzymes need several days to take effect. So
if you do get injured taking NSAID's for a few days will be beneficial and
usually will not harm you. However,
taking NSAID's long-term can have severe consequences. They allow chronic
sub-acute inflammation to continue and they actually inhibit the repair
processes of your joints.
Use systemic enzymes if you have
bruises, hematomas, muscle pulls, strains, sprains or just sore muscles.
How much to take.
Because the molecular size of these
proteolytic enzymes are so large, only a small amount can be placed into a
tablet. Unfortunately this means that one must consume a large number of
tablets per day; however, they are relatively small and easy to swallow. Depending
on what is being treated, one may need to consume anywhere from 15 to 80
these tablets per day.
order not to have their effect interfered with, the enzymes should be taken
at least one hour before a meal or one and one half hours to two hours after
a meal with an 8-ounce glass of water. They should not be taken all at once
but rather in three to five divided doses.
Studies confirm that they indeed are absorbed and their concentration is
highest two to four hours after administration.
With something acute like an injury take 30
to 50 tablets per day during the acute phase, tapering down to 15 to 20
tablets per day.
In cancer treatment 70 to 80 tablets per day are advised.
I take five tablets three times per day
to help prevent heart disease, cancer, backache, and to boost my immune
Systemic enzymes are virtually side-effect free. Toxicological studies have
shown no toxic effect on the user or even on a fetus. The
only exceptions are for a person who suffers from a lot of allergies,
especially to protein. Such a person may not be able to tolerate the
systemic enzymes. This
person is going to have surgery or a lot of blood loss is anticipated,
systemic enzyme therapy should be discontinued 24 hours prior to surgery.
Also, if a person is on anticoagulant therapy, i.e., heparin, the drug
dosage may have to be reduced. Even though there have been no effects on a
fetus, if you are pregnant, consult a physician before using these enzymes.
There are so many positive effects upon one's health from the use of
systemic enzymes, that it is impossible for me to list them all in one brief
Importance of pH Balance
- Copyright © Demand Media, Inc.
... Enzymes require a
specific pH level to work efficiently. Increases or decreases in pH denature
enzymes, halting important metabolic processes. Proponents of an alkaline
diet say a low body pH can increase the risk of osteoporosis, cancer, heart
disease and arthritis, according to the Wolfe Clinic. High acidity may also
cause fatigue, muscle cramping and low energy.
The pH of a substance is a chemical reading of how
acidic or basic/alkaline it is. Your body tightly regulates pH levels to
maintain overall good health. Different organs, cell types and compartments
within cells maintain various pH levels depending on their physiological
roles. Exercise, diet and medications may alter your body's pH.
When your body is in an alkaline state, you are less
likely to suffer from chronic diseases. The foods and beverages you consume
each day have a direct impact on the acid and alkaline balance in your body.
This balance is measured by determining your pH value, which tells you if
your body's fluids and tissues are more acidic or alkaline. On a pH scale of
negative 4.5, which is very acidic, to positive 9.5, which is highly
alkaline, your body is considered healthy and alkaline if you have a pH
level of 7.0 or above.
Retrieved From -
The balance between acidity and alkalinity in your body
is referred to as pH, or potential of hydrogen. Different factors can
influence whether your blood has too much or too little acid, including food
and the health of your organs to filter carbon dioxide from your body.
Achieving pH balance is a complex process that occurs within your body, but
you can help regulate it with healthy habits.
The Importance of
ndnr.com - © Copyright Naturopathic
Doctor News & Review
Acid/base balance is critical, and our system works
constantly to keep this balance. Our physiology has different buffer systems
– bicarbonate, phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, the use of amino acids,
calcium, etc. – all of which contribute to this balance. Our organ systems
contribute to this acid/base balance as well.
This balance is so important that, given an imbalance,
our bodies will crave certain foods that are sweet, sour, bitter or salty.
The body usually knows what it needs, but only when it has been detoxified
and at a normal homeostasis. Otherwise, we can crave those things that are
not necessarily healthy, like chocolate, nicotine and alcohol.
If a body becomes too alkaline, it can set up
conditions that favor yeast and viruses; if too acidic, bacteria seem to
thrive. The immune system is affected either way: It seems if the body is
too alkaline it affects T cells in a negative way; if it is too acidic, the
B cells are not as effective. Even the enzyme systems are affected by this
acid/ base balance…
© Copyright Naturopathic
Doctor News & Review
is an important concept in natural medicine that is seeing
increasing support in the medical literature. Unfortunately, in my
experience, it is commonly misunderstood or ignored by NDs. It is also an
area of confusion for patients, rife with hype for various diets,
alkalinizing supplements, and expensive water-transforming machines. This is
unfortunate because acid-alkaline
balance influences our health and is something we have control over
through various therapies, including detoxification.
function optimally within fairly narrow pH ranges. For instance, the pH
range is 7.3 to 7.5 for blood, 3.8 to 4.5 for the vagina, and 7.2 to 7.8 for
semen. Varying from these ranges contributes to loss of function, tissue
integrity, and microorganism resistance.
Dr. Tim Arnett wrote in
the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society: “It has been known since the early
20th century that systemic acidosis causes depletion of the skeleton, an
effect assumed to result from physio-chemical dissolution of bone
mineral.”1 (p511) In other words, acid-alkaline balance is so critical for
health that the body will go to extraordinary lengths, such as stealing
calcium from bone, to maintain an optimal pH.
The effects of an acidic
internal environment are seen throughout the body. When one system is
stressed, another responds. For example, Dr. Arya M. Sharma noted in his
extended abstract “Dietary Factors and Metabolic Acidosis”: “Because of the
high acid content of most diets, the kidney is faced with the responsibility
of excreting [excess acid].”2 (p1926)
Environmental toxins, dietary
imbalances, stress, and other factors trigger internal acid rain, which in
turn triggers inflammation and results in further acidification. As the body
becomes more acidic, enzymes bog down, slowing vital functions, especially
communications between cells. With inefficiency comes chaos. The person
falls into an acidic downward spiral of increasing inflammation and, if not
reversed, overt disease.
Alkalinizing the System
- Several options are available for correcting pH balance. These include the
…A number of population studies have found that literally everyone who is
tested has some degree of chemical or metal toxicity. While the specifics of
detoxification methods are beyond the scope of this article, pH monitoring
offers an inexpensive method to gauge the success of detoxification
Food choices influence the pH of the body.
Eaton and Konner9 and Eaton and Eaton10 traced the acidifying effect as
diets changed from the Paleolithic diet to the standard American diet.
An ideal diet is composed of a balance of acid and alkaline foods. Quality
of food is also a factor influencing pH. Factory farming produces vitamin-
and mineral-depleted foods that contribute to the acid pool. Organic foods
contain more alkalinizing vitamins and minerals. Processing of foods also
removes alkalinizing vitamins and minerals. Our ancient ancestors, who were
hunters-gatherers, are believed to have consumed diets higher in
alkalinizing nutritional cofactors. According to research by Deanna M.
Minnich, PhD, and Jeffrey S. Bland, PhD, processing of foods has resulted in
a “…net acid load relative to the diets of the ancestral
pre-agricultural Homo sapiens.”11 (p 62-65)
While nutrition is
important for acid-base balancing, it is not the only factor, despite what
your patients may read on the Internet. Julie is an example of numerous
patients I have seen who eat a mostly vegetarian diet, yet her urine and
saliva were quite acidic.
Supplements that rapidly
alkalinize the body are useful. I prefer an organic vegetable–based powder
or as a concentrated alkalinizing mineral powder.
Because most patients are not consuming
recommended levels of fruits and vegetables—5 to 7 servings daily—I usually
ask them to supplement with an organic dehydrated green drink. Juicing is an
option for those with the time and resources. If after 1 month I have not
seen a significant shift in their urine and saliva, I use a concentrated
supplement containing an effervescent combination of
magnesium, potassium, and malic acid in a base of dehydrated vegetables and
fruits. This usually reverses the
acidification within 1 or 2 weeks, and patients report feeling better.
It is important to
remember that, when essential nutrients like calcium and magnesium move out
of storage, there is more space for toxic metals to move in.
supplying adequate calcium and magnesium is a form of detoxification.
Research by Berardi et al12 demonstrated
an alkaline influence of plant-based supplements. Urine pH levels increased
from 6.1 at week 1, 6.2 at week 2, and 6.3 at week 3.
There are several machines on the market that are advertised to alkalinize
water. Some of them are quite expensive, running several hundred dollars. I
consider these machines a poor choice for the following two reasons:
Most drinking water is not highly acidic in the first place. Changing water
from pH 6.5 to 7.5, for instance, will have little or no effect on the
alkalinity of your body. Other factors have a far stronger effect, unless
you are drinking gallons of water daily, which is not advisable.
the price of several hundred dollars for these machines, your patient could
buy a lot of alkalinizing supplements. Better yet, he or she could pay for a
consultation with you about other factors affecting an acidic condition.
Reference Source -
If we desire optimum athletic or non-athletic
physiological health, power, strength and endurance, we must fully embrace
the importance of maintaining a proper "acid alkaline balance" in relation
to the acid alkaline theory of eating acid alkaline foods according to
proper food combining principles so that
we will possess millions of healthy body cells that are full of energy for
optimum physiological and biological function of our body.
Food Combining to Improve Digestion
Retrieved From -
food combining is one of the primary factors that cause gas, flatulence,
heartburn, and upset stomach. What’s worse, poor digestion can also
contribute to malnutrition, even if you think you’re eating a decent diet…
food you eat is not digesting properly, not only can painful gas, heart
burn, acid reflux and other stomach problems arise, but your body will also
be deprived of critical nutrients.
Food combination takes into account the area and
complexity of digestion of each food, to ensure it goes through your entire
digestive system with ease. Dr. Pickering explains:
only one food that chemically breaks down in the stomach and that’s protein.
Proteins require pepsin, a very highly acidic [enzyme] in conjunction with
hydrochloric acid. But the hydrochloric acid doesn’t have the ability to
break the food down. It just sets the medium for the concentration of the
amount of pepsin that’s poured into the stomach to digest whatever food
that’s in there. The intelligence of this human body is phenomenal.”
There are three primary
categories of food: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Proteins, again,
begin their digestion chemically in your stomach. Carbohydrates are divided
into two categories: fruits and starches. While fruits pass through your
digestive system with relative ease, starches require three levels of
breakdown; the very first stage is in your mouth. That’s why it’s crucial to
According to the rules of food combination, you
do not want to mix proteins and starches in the same meal. This means, no
bun with your hamburger, no meatballs if you have pasta, no potatoes with
your meat... Why is that? Dr. Pickering explains:
“Starches require an
alkaline digestive medium to digest. If you put your fist in your stomach
while it’s digesting steaks and all that, chances are, you wouldn’t have a
hand anymore. The acid is intense... When you mix them both together – an
acid-type of food and an alkaline – basic chemistry shows that they don’t
digest. They neutralize. Then what happens? If the food is not digesting...
it’s going through your body [undigested], throwing it into all kinds of
Commandments of Food Combination
Dr. Pickering lays out three basic commandments of
eating that he recommends you not deviate from:
No proteins and starches at the same meal,
as they neutralize each other and prevent proper digestion of either
food. To ensure proper digestion of each food, wait two hours after
eating a starch before eating protein. And wait three hours after eating
protein before eating a starch.
No fruits and vegetables at the same meal. Fruits are either a single or double
sugar, whereas the starches are a triple sugar. Fruits mechanically
break down in your stomach, but chemically, they don’t break down until
they reach the third and fourth stage of your digestive system, which
are in your small intestine. Starches, again, are broken down in three
different stages, starting in your mouth.
“Eat melon alone, or leave it alone, or your stomach will moan.” In short, melons do not digest well
with other foods and will frequently cause problems unless consumed by
According to Dr. Pickering, this is
also why it’s crucial to not eat dessert after a meal. When you do,
it gets trapped in your stomach with all that other food, where it starts to
rot as it’s not being chemically digested there. Therefore, eat fruit 30-60
minutes before dinner. The same applies if you want to eat another
piece of fruit. Acidic fruits, such as lemons for example, also do not
combine well with starches. Lemon and banana is but one example of a
combination that is sure to lead to gastrointestinal upset...
Reference Source -
www.ion.ac.uk - Institute for Optimum Nutrition
The New Food Combining - Five Steps to Better
Protein & Carbohydrate - Foods that fight?
Of course, since food
isn’t either exclusively carbohydrate practical terms separating protein and
carbohydrate means not combining protein foods with starch foods. Meat is
50% protein/0% carbohydrate. Potatoes are 8% protein/90% carbohydrate. In
between are beans, lentils, rice, wheat, and quinoa. So where exactly do you
draw the line, if a line should be drawn at all?...
Eat 80% alkaline forming foods, 20% acid
forming foods. This means eating vast quantities of vegetables and
fruit, and less concentrated protein foods like pulses and whole grains,
instead of meat, fish, cheese and eggs.
Eat fast fermenting and acid fruits on their
own as snacks. Most soft fruits ferment quickly. These include peaches,
plums, mangoes, papayas, strawberries and melons. High acid fruits
(although alkaline forming) may also inhibit digestion of carbohydrate.
This includes oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and pineapple. These fruits
require little digestion, releasing their fructose content quickly. Eat
them on their own when you need an energy boost.
Eat animal protein on its own or with
vegetables. Concentrated protein like meat, fish, hard cheese and eggs
require large amounts of stomach acid and a long stay in the stomach
(around 3 hours) to be digested. So don’t combine fast-releasing or
refined carbohydrates or food that ferments with animal protein.
Avoid all refined carbohydrates. Eat unrefined,
fast-releasing carbohydrates with unrefined slow-releasing
carbohydrates. Fruits that don’t readily ferment, such as bananas,
apples and coconut, can be combined with slow-releasing carbohydrate
cereals like oats and millet.
Don’t eat until your body is wide-awake. Don’t
digest when your body is asleep. Leave at least an hour between waking
and eating. If you exercise in the morning eat after this. Never start
your day with a stimulant (tea, coffee, cigarette). The ‘stress’ state
inhibits digestion. Eat only carbohydrate based breakfasts such as
cereal and fruit, just fruit, or wholegrain rye toast.
www.whfoods.com © The George Mateljan Foundation, All Rights
The term "food
combining" can be used in several different ways. Most commonly, it is used
to describe the planned consumption of different foods at different
times in order to optimize the process of digestion. While it is true that
different foods digest in different ways and at different speeds, there's no
good research evidence to support the practice of food combining when it is
understood in this way. However, many people have found food combining for
improved digestion to be essential for their overall health, and many
healthcare practitioners continue to support this practice despite the
absence of research evidence.
Advocates of food combining also focus upon not
including fruit as part of a meal. For example, a common recommendation is
to wait at least an hour after consumption of any non-fruit foods before
eating a piece of fruit…
There are a number of theories used to support this
practice. One is that the fermentation of the fruit might take place at the
expense of other digestive events. But once again, I cannot find indexed
journal research to support these claims. Separate fruit consumption may be
helpful for some individuals, but I also believe that many individuals can
comfortably consume reasonable amounts of fruit together with other
Tips to Aid
Copyright © - Dr. Frank
…Digestion is one of the
most important functions for health. A well functioning digestive system
will energize you, help your immune system and generally prevent all sorts
of diseases. It will make you feel more vital. Here are 10 simple
tips to help with digestion:
Chew your food well.
Sit down and relax while you eat. Eating in a rush
and under stress is not healthy and may lead to digestive problems.
Make eating a mindful experience.
Eat natural, whole, unrefined, unprocessed, high
Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you are 80%
Eat organic and preferably local foods whenever
Try resting your digestive system for at least 10
hours at night. e.g. if you eat breakfast a 7:00 am, try not to eat
anything after 9:00 PM.
Try doing an Elimination
diet for 1-2 weeks from time to time, where you eliminate all
refined sugar, processed foods, alcohol, gluten and dairy. Notice how
your digestion usually improves.
If possible have something bitter before your meal,
it stimulates your body’s own digestive juices and therefore helps
digestion, e.g. arugula or dandelion root.
The Role of pH Balance
ndnr.com © Copyright Naturopathic
Doctor News & Review
While not diagnostic,
a patient’s pH is an indicator of
overall health. Ongoing monitoring of pH is a useful method for
evaluating the effectiveness of detoxification and other treatments. You
will see the pH return to normal as the patient feels better. If the pH is
not correcting, then treatment needs to be modified. Monitoring pH also
provides an opportunity for the patient to take part in the management of
his or her return to wellness.
Correcting an acid
pH helps patients feel better. It improves the efficiency of enzyme systems,
replaces deficient minerals, and reduces inflammation...
with treating any disease, the most fruitful solution to an acid excess is
addressing the underlying causes. Look particularly for toxic conditions,
such as occult infections and heavy
metals, but do not ignore the liver, digestion, and even stress as sources
of acidifying elements. Diet and alkalinizing supplements are also
important for reestablishing and maintaining a healthy pH balance.
Retrieved From -
Copyright © IHealthNet
Basically every cell functions more efficiently
when it is predominantly alkaline. Ideally, the body needs to be around 70%
alkaline and 30% acid. However, most people in the West have an average of
80% acid and 20% alkaline. This is also why many people are suffering from
acid related conditions such as arthritis.
Once food has been metabolized within the body, it
will break down into either an alkaline or acid mineral based residue or
ash. The pH (potential Hydrogen) value of a substance plays a very important
part in this acid alkaline balance; it also determines whether a substance
is either acid or alkaline.
Apart from the foods that you eat, do you know that
emotions can also affect the acid alkaline balance? Anger and stress will
trigger more acid within the body; on the other hand, good feelings increase
the alkaline levels in the body.
Here are some useful tips and remedies that can
help you maintain a healthy acid alkaline balance:
Try to control your temper and reduce stress.
Too much of these contributes to over-acidic body
Smoking increases the acid in your body as
well. If possible, try to smoke less
Breathe in deeply and regularly. Breathing more
oxygen into the body helps to re-alkalise the system. More carbon
dioxide causes more acid in the tissues
Meditation helps to re-alkalise the body
Consume powered organic formulas that contain
spirulina, wheat grass, broccoli, alfalfa, chlorella and green foods
daily. These can be purchased from your health shop
The body is very acidic when you first wake up
from bed. Including fruits in your breakfast is a good way to
re-alkalise the body. Freshly made fruit juices are also ideal for
breakfast. Try going to apple or pear juice as they will not over
stimulate the production of stomach acid. Carrot or celery juice with
some fresh root ginger is also very good for alkalising the body
Sodiphos (sodium phosphate) can help to reduce
the build up of lactic acid in the body. Taking 600mg daily for 3 months
can help to re-alkalise an over-acidic system
Try to take a multi-mineral formula that
contains at least 300 to 500mg of magnesium, 600mg of calcium, 90mg of
potassium and 25mg of zinc. You may choose to take them in colloidal
form which can be absorbed more easily
What Should You Eat for Proper pH
Copyright © Demand Media, Inc.
When you eat and digest food properly, the body's
pH remains balanced and slightly alkaline, according to "The pH Miracle…" Changing your diet and consuming foods that balance your pH may improve
your overall health.
High-potassium Foods may contribute to
bringing your body's pH closer to healthy levels, writes Dr. Theodore
Baroody in "Alkalize or Die." Although there is not a lot of scientific
research on this subject, anecdotal reports indicate that high-potassium
foods affect the pH of the urine and support proper function of the kidneys.
Foods with high levels of potassium are lemons, white potatoes, ripe
bananas, raisins, apple cider vinegar, pears, cantaloupe, oranges and ripe
berries. Include some or all of these foods in your diet every day to raise
and help maintain your pH levels.
Eat the highest alkaline foods that you can.
Broccoli, baby spinach, lettuce, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts,
avocados, apples, lemons, limes, celery, cucumbers, dates and figs are all
examples. Have your diet consist mainly of these foods.
Foods like parsley and alfalfa sprouts have a high
pH making them very alkaline in their raw form. Add them to salads and as
garnishes to your meals or make freshly squeeze vegetables juices including
these foods. Other highly alkaline foods are all melons, figs, watermelon,
most ripe fruits, asparagus, kelp, other seaweeds, watercress, wheatgrass
and most herbal teas. It is always better to eat these foods in their raw
state to obtain their highest nutritional values, says Baroody.
Reduce your intake of acidic foods.
Deep-fried foods, fast food, candy bars, white flour products and processed
meats are all high in acidity, and you should start by avoiding them. Dairy
products, pasta, fish and whole grains are all acidic as well. Reduce your
intake of them, even though they are not necessarily unhealthy.
is highly alkaline and can assist in balancing your body's pH, according to
Drugs.com. Drink a large 8 oz. glass of water mixed with 1/2 tsp. baking
soda several times a day for a quick adjustment in pH levels, suggests
Baroody. Baking soda can raise your blood pressure,
so if you take medicines for hypertension or have untreated high blood
pressure, avoid consuming baking soda unless you are under medical
supervision. Baroody recommends not drinking more than a total of 4
tsp. baking soda daily, but to only consume this amount if you are seriously
ill. Consult your health practitioner for dosing directions.
according to "The Acid Alkaline Balance," may help balance the body's
The body naturally produces enzymes in the pancreas; however, many people's
bodies do not produce enough enzymes to fully digest their food, according
to University of Michigan Health System. Adding enzymes to your meals should
help support your digestion and synthesize your food more efficiently,
enabling your body to extract the most nutrients from what you eat.
Digestive enzymes are available from pharmacies and health food stores.
pH-balanced beverages. Avoid sweet
beverages like soft drinks, processed fruit drinks, sugar-laden teas and
lattes. Stick with mineral water, green tea, herbal tea and fresh fruit and
vegetable juices. You can also add cucumber or lemon slices to any type of
water to make it more alkaline.
Consume greens drinks. Greens powders
are made of such ingredients as spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass, beet
greens and chlorophyll. Mix up a scoop of greens in a glass of cold water
and consume it one to two times a day to help boost your alkalinity.
progress with pH testing strips. Rip off a small strip of paper from the roll and apply a urine or
saliva sample to it. Once it turns color, match it to the color code on the
box to see how alkaline or acidic you are. Test your pH first in the morning
or two hours after you eat a meal. Check every couple of days to see how you
diets result in a more alkaline urine pH
and may result in reduced calcium in the urine, however, as seen in some
recent reports, this may not reflect total calcium balance because of other
buffers such as phosphate. There is no substantial evidence that this
improves bone health or protects from osteoporosis. However, alkaline diets
may result in a number of health benefits as outlined below:
Increased fruits and vegetables in an alkaline diet would improve the
K/Na ratio and may benefit bone health, reduce muscle wasting, as well
as mitigate other chronic diseases such as hypertension and strokes.
resultant increase in growth hormone with an alkaline diet may improve
many outcomes from cardiovascular health to memory and cognition.
increase in intracellular magnesium, which is required for the function
of many enzyme systems, is another added benefit of the alkaline diet.
Available magnesium, which is required to activate vitamin D, would
result in numerous added benefits in the vitamin D apocrine/exocrine
Alkalinity may result in added benefit for some chemotherapeutic agents
that require a higher pH.
From the evidence outlined above,
it would be prudent to consider an
alkaline diet to reduce morbidity and mortality of chronic disease that are
plaguing our aging population. One of the first considerations in an
alkaline diet, which includes more fruits and vegetables, is to know what
type of soil they were grown in since this may significantly influence the
mineral content. At this time, there are limited scientific studies in this
area, and many more studies are indicated in regards to muscle effects,
growth hormone, and interaction with vitamin D.
The pH Miracle
Copyright © Demand Media, Inc.
All human health problems begin with acidic blood and
body tissues, assert microbiologist Robert O. Young, Ph.D. and his wife
Shelley Redford Young, in their 2002 book "The pH Miracle: Balance Your
Diet, Reclaim Your Health." If your diet is 70 to 80
percent alkaline-only foods, the Youngs contend you can resist germs and
effectively treat every ailment from allergies to intestinal parasites to
yeast infections. While the main pH Miracle diet website claims the
Youngs have proven the alkaline diet's success with their own studies, the
site does not provide the details or give information about studies on
alkaline foods that medical institutions have conducted.
The pH Miracle diet -- is based on the idea that to be
healthy, you need to consume primarily alkaline foods. The diet is divided
into four steps that its authors say will help you transition from unhealthy
eating habits to an alkaline diet that will stimulate weight loss, increased
energy and better health. Health professionals contend that while the pH
Miracle diet contains some good concepts, it is riddled with advice that
scientific evidence does not support.
Guidelines: There are
four steps in the
pH Miracle diet:
transition, cleanse, strictly alkaline and
maintenance. During the initial transition phase, you are required to
spend 12 weeks gradually phasing out what the Youngs term acidic foods and
focusing meals on alkaline foods. In step two,
you will spend a week fasting,
consuming only the juice of green vegetables and
nutritional supplements, some of which are natural laxatives. In
step three, you must eat exclusively alkaline
foods with an emphasis on raw, green leafy vegetables along with probiotic
supplements. The final stage, maintenance, allows 20 percent of your diet to
consist of soy protein, fish, whole grains and starchy vegetables while the
remainder stays focused on alkaline foods.
Alkaline and Acidic Foods:
After digestion, acidic foods produce acidic byproducts that accumulate in
the body, making it more difficult for cells to function optimally,
according to the Youngs. By contrast, alkaline foods preserve the alkaline
pH of blood and tissues. On the pH Miracle diet,
acidic foods include all types of meat, fish and seafood; all dairy
products; nearly all fruits; fats like saturated fat and margarine; corn,
vegetable and sunflower oil; all processed foods; all items containing
caffeine or alcohol; and nuts like peanuts, pistachios and cashews.
Alkaline foods include
all vegetables; citrus fruits; avocados; all types of bean and legume
sprouts; oils like olive, flax, hemp and avocado; lentils; grains like spelt
and groats; and beverages like alkalized water, green tea, fresh vegetable
juice and almond milk.
Expert Insight: MayoClinic.com advises that there is
little scientific evidence to support the cleansing step two of the pH
Miracle diet, saying that diets containing detoxification phases similar to
this may cause dehydration, nausea, extreme fatigue and dizziness. In
addition, researchers have not determined if regularly drinking the
alkalized water emphasized in the diet yields any real health benefits.
While the addition of probiotic supplements to your diet in step three may
help improve your overall health, the pH Miracle diet as a whole does not
conform to the standards that medical institutions hold for healthy,
sustainable weight loss --- a diet that incorporates moderate amounts of all
types of low-fat, low-calorie foods and encourages regular physical
Acid-Alkaline Food Charts
This alkaline food chart lists
foods by degree of alkalinity from high to low.
You can also find an alkaline
food chart by type (fruits, vegetables, etc.) and its
accompanying acidic food chart on the same page.
www.acidalkalinediet.net - Acid Alkaline Association
table includes a listing of 114 commonly consumed foods and their PRAL
A negative PRAL score indicates
the food is basic/alkaline.
A positive PRAL score indicates
the food is acidic.
A score of 0 indicates
the food is neutral.
to Test Your pH
americannutritionassociation.org - © American Nutrition Association
Buirski of Premier Research Labs … has personally tested his urine pH for a
number of years. Quick summary of his remarks:
recommends M.T. Morter's book, Correlative Urinalysis, for those who want to
explore the topic in depth.
Saliva pH is not indicative of the body's soft tissue mineral reserve,
therefore he recommends urine pH only.
Saliva pH can be strongly influenced by what is most recently consumed and
he also said that even if you consume an obviously acidic meal, your saliva
pH reading will very often rise. Try it yourself!
pH timing: just before breakfast and just before evening meal
stream sample: you may capture any part of the urine stream and you only
need a few drops to place on the pH strip
true test that you have established a healthy balance in your body: that all
your morning and evening samples are in the 6.4 to 7.0 range for three
straight months - most find that the evening target range is more difficult
pH strips that are in .2 increments and a range of at least 5.5 tp 8.0
Details: collect a small sample of your first morning urine in a clean cup.
Check the pH of your urine by dipping a small piece of pH tape into your
urine; then immediately match the color of the tape to the pH color chart on
the roll. The number corresponding to the color tells you the pH. After you
wet the tape, do not wait. Immediately match the color. If you delay for a
few minutes, you may get a false reading.
Retrieved From -
You can test your own pH simply and inexpensively. All you need are some pH
test strips. Tear off two three-inch strips. As you as you awaken, before
you drink or eat anything, put some saliva on the test strip. Compare the
color to a pH color chart that comes with the test strips. Next, measure the
pH of your second urination of the morning. To do this, urinate on the strip
or collect the urine in a plastic or glass (not paper) cup and dip the test
strip. Again, compare the color to the pH color chart.
Weiss, N.M.D., of Scottsdale, Arizona, recommends doing the saliva and urine
tests for 10 mornings in a row. "Ignore the top three and bottom three tests
because they're extremes. Average the remaining four to determine your pH,"
he says. Weiss aims for a pH of 6.8 to 7 in his heart patients, and 7.2 to
7.4 in his osteoporosis patients. You can retest a few weeks after changing
your eating habits.
You can order the test strips from
www.alkalineforlife.com or by calling 888.206.7119. One roll, which is
good for a few dozen tests, is $13.95.
The Importance of Intestinal
metabolichealing.com - © Metabolic
Any serious health-improvement program should address
the function of the gut flora and mucosal barrier. This is magnified
exponentially if one has chronic gut issues, inflammatory conditions,
autoimmune disorders, and behavioral issues.
Because there are so many
factors that will impede upon your intestinal flora, maintaining proper
digestion, assimilation and intestinal immunity is paramount. All of these
factors work together.
intestinal flora makes up roughly 80% of the total immune defenses of the
body. The gut is lined with more than 100 trillion micro-organisms, nearly
ten times the amount of cells that make up the human body. There are thought
to be between 400-1000 different species of bacteria that are normally found
in the gut, and there exist intrinsic relationships and complex
communication networks among the bacterial species…
extremely common that when the gut is severely compromised, the mucsoal
barrier is damaged, and the "tight junctions" that normally exist to keep
pathogens at bay, are compromised. If this is the case, there will most
likely be a greater degree of inflammation that can manifest at places in
the body you wouldn't necessarily suspect (such as the brain).
Often accompanying gut flora imbalances are food
intolerances of varying degrees. In fact, food allergies and sensitivities
may be amplified when one's gut flora is compromised. For some individuals
eliminating gluten, dairy and eggs may be essential. For others, low-oxalate
diets may be important. In many instances, it may take years of persistent
attention to the gut before long-term results are achieved.
is the opinion of this author, from firsthand experience, that proper,
is the foundation for restoring the function of the gut mucosal barrier.
Australian Society of BioRegulatory Medicine -
Copyright © 2014 ASBRM
What is also becoming apparent is that pH balance
plays a key role in optimizing intestinal micro-flora balance. E-Coli,
accounts for 70-90% of the aerobes in the bowel and prefers a neutral pH
environment. E-Coli are largely responsible for producing Chorismate a
precursor for folic acid, Co-Enzyme Q10, Tryptophon, Phenylalanine and
Tyrosine. Acid environments prompted by cereals, grains and other
acid-producing animal proteins affect the bowel pH and therefore increase
the production of Amines by bifidobacteria resulting in increased headaches,
muscle aches and pains.
It is becoming increasingly evident that the large
intestine is a highly specialised organ that rivals the liver in metabolic
activity. The intestinal micro-flora in the large bowel plays an important
role in health and disease thorough multiple ways such as enabling nutrients
to be extracted from food, maintaining colon resistance to pathogens,
activation or destruction of genotoxins and mutagens and modulation of
immune system function.
Retrieved From -
The digestive tract is loaded with trillions of
microorganisms that form a natural ecosystem commonly called the gut flora.
Certain lifestyle stressors throw off the natural symbiosis and cause a rise
in pathogenic microbes, chronic gut inflammation and damage to the gut
lining. Healthy micro flora balance is a key health essential.
The beneficial micro flora digests our food
and produce enzymes that metabolize protein into absorbable amino acids.
These key enzymes also transport key vitamins, minerals and other nutrients
through the intestinal wall and into the blood stream where they are
effectively carried to cells that are in need of these nutrient packages.
These beneficial species also help the body produce and metabolize
vitamin K2, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid and pantothenic acid. Without
adequate microflora production, the body will suffer from poor calcium
metabolism, neuromuscular function and chronic inflammatory conditions due
to deficiencies in these very important nutrients.
Two arms of the gut flora:
The gut flora has two major arms. The first arm senses our environment by
reading the environmental toxins that are coming into the body. When
environmental factors such as
dust, chemicals, animal hair and pollen fall on the mucous membranes, the
progenic bacteria sense and react to them. The second arm is responsible for
immune activation and inflammatory based reactions.
When the first
arm is damaged, the second arm begins to become hyperactive which leads to
autoimmune reactions. Depending upon the genetic tendencies of the
individual, this can result in asthma, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis,
multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto's or Graves thyroiditis, fibromyalgia, Crohn's
What Should You
Eat for Proper Intestinal Flora
Retrieved From -
A diet high in fermented veggies and drinks such as coconut water kefir,
ginger beer, raw sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi help restore microbial
balance. Fermented, raw dairy from 100 percent organic, grass-fed cows and
goats is outstanding for gut health. This would include amasai, raw cheese
and fermented whey. These are some of the best probiotic carriers and have
been used for thousands of years by healthy cultures all over the world.
Here are four foods that offer loads of probiotic power in every bite:
is a familiar and simple probiotic food. Quality store bought sauerkraut can
be found, but you need to make sure it is raw (unheated) so the probiotic
cultures are preserved. However, sauerkraut is also incredibly simple to
make at home. Shredded organic cabbage and sea salt is enough to do the
trick, but you can also add whey to encourage lacto-fermentation or onions
and spices to change the flavor up a bit.
Kefir Water, not to be confused with dairy kefir, this kefir drink
requires no dairy or milk at all. It can be made at home very easily, and
only needs to culture for 24-48 hours. The result is something like
sparkling water or juice, tangy and sweet all at the same time. You start
with water kefir grains, organic sugar (to feed the grains) and organic
fruit or juice to flavor. Most people will find these drinks enjoyable, and
kefir water can be especially useful as a replacement for conventional
juices and sodas for adults and children alike.
Kombucha another delectable fermented
beverage, kombucha is made by fermented organic black tea with sugar and a
scoby (also known as the kombucha mother or mushroom). Kombucha typically
takes longer than kefir water to ferment, but the result is a beverage so
nutritious it can be called medicinal. Many people rave about the
detoxification benefits of drinking kombucha every day. Kombucha can also be
purchased at health food stores
in a variety of flavors, but of course making it at home is much more
- There are two sides of the coin when it comes to soy. Fermented soy foods
includes miso, tempeh and fermented soy sauce. Processed soy products,
soybean oil, and any soy that has not been fermented
are not healthful
and may actually cause damage to your
thyroid, digestion and hormone levels. However, on the flip side,
fermented soy in moderate amounts can actually be quite healthy, providing
protein, vitamins and minerals in addition to natural probiotics.
In Colon Treatment
- © CDRF
are learning more each day about the role of microbes in keeping people healthy
and the multitude of health benefits associated with consuming the right type
and levels of probiotic microbes.
has suggested that probiotic bacteria can:
preliminary studies also report that certain probiotics can play a role in
reducing the development of allergy in children, decreasing Helicobacter
pylori colonization of the stomach, helping patients cope with side effects
of antibiotic therapy, managing relapse of some inflammatory bowel conditions,
decreasing the risk of certain cancers, decreasing dental-caries-causing
microbes in the mouth, and keeping healthy people healthy.
How Probiotics Work:
Microbes have been found to play an important role in human health. Most of
these bacteria are not harmful, and in fact contribute positively to normal
human growth and development. But some of these bacteria can have negative
influences. It is therefore important that the balance of microbes be maintained
to favor the beneficial bacteria over the potentially harmful ones.
understand how probiotics work, it is important to understand a little about
the microbiology and physiology of the human gastrointestinal tract
beings, like all animals, play host to many types and high numbers of
microbes on our skin, in our mouths, in women’s vaginal tracts, and all the
way through our gastrointestinal tract. In fact, it has been estimated that
there are more microbes associated with the human body (about 1014, or
100,000,000,000,000 bacterial cells) than there are human cells in it (about
1013). In addition to this very large number of bacteria, a diverse variety
of types of bacteria. It has been estimated that more than 1000 different
species, or types, of bacteria make their homes on humans
importantly than the numbers and types of microbes that colonize our bodies
is that they interact dynamically with each other and with our human cells.
These colonizing microbes have been shown to have important roles in
digestion, metabolism, vitamin synthesis, host cell development, immune
system function, intestinal barrier function, defense against pathogens, and
other activities that are critical to human health. The importance of this
colonization to human health and development is reflected in the concept
that humans are in effect “super organisms”, composed of their own human
genome and the combined microbes that colonize them.
this into consideration, it is not surprising that probiotics – by directly
or indirectly influencing the populations or activities of our colonizing
microbes – can impact human health.
Microbe Role in GI Tract: The microbes present in the gastrointestinal tract have the potential
to act in a positive, negative or neutral manner. Due to unfavorable conditions,
microbes are not very prevalent in the stomach or upper small intestine.
However, toward the lower small intestine, they begin to attain higher
populations (106-108/gram of small intestinal
contents) and in the colon they constitute about 1011-1012/gram
of colon contents (a very large number).
the high number of microbes in the intestinal tract, what
are their effects? It is known that
in the large
intestine complete the digestion process on any food components that were not
digested in the small intestine, such as lactose in lactose intolerant people or
fibers resistant to the enzymes they encounter in the small intestine. There
is evidence of non-digestive microbial activities as well. Certain intestinal
are known to produce vitamins.
Also, in studies done with special
microbe-free laboratory animals, evidence is strong that without normal
microbial populations, the immune system functions poorly, and resistance to
pathogenic bacteria is greatly reduced. Other evidence suggests that
intestinal microbes might act on pre-carcinogenic or mutagenic (capable of
inducing genetic mutation) compounds. Depending on the specific microbe,
mutagenic or carcinogenic activity can be either increased or decreased.
Disrupted microbiota (dysbiosis) associated with intestinal and systemic
conditions has been identified in obesity, metabolic syndrome, nonalcoholic
steatohepatitis (NASH), inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel
syndrome, atherosclerosis, type 1 diabetes, autism, allergy, asthma and
celiac disease ref, ref, ref, ref.
is apparent that there are advantages in skewing the balance of bacteria toward
beneficial ones. Both lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are normal inhabitants of
the healthy intestine. Although they are not the dominant genera in either the
small or large intestine of adults (bifidobacteria are generally the dominant
flora of breast-fed infants), they are non-pathogenic and their presence is
correlated with a healthy intestinal flora. The metabolic end products of their
growth are organic acids (lactic and acetic acids) that tend to lower the pH of
the intestinal contents, creating conditions less desirable for harmful
gastrointestinal tract also serves to bridge the gap between "inside the
body" and "outside the body". Along this interface, microbes and
foreign antigens colonizing or passing through the GI tract interact with
important components of the immune system. This interaction serves to prime
or stimulate the immune
system for optimal functioning. Normal microbial
inhabitants of the GI tract also reinforce the barrier function of the
intestinal lining, decreasing passage of bacteria or antigens from the intestine
into the blood stream. This function has been suggested to decrease infections
and possibly allergic reactions to food antigens.
It may seem hard to believe, but evidence is emerging that the
gut microbes can impact brain function. If we
consider that the gut is known as our “second
brain,” then perhaps this concept does not seem so far-fetched. ref The
communication between the gut and the brain is bi-directional: the brain
controls GI tract function (stress and emotions), but less obvious is that
the gut can control pain and emotion. Of particular interest in the
discussion of probiotics, is that gut microbes, and probiotics, have been
shown to mediate some of this “bottom-up” communication.
Choosing a Probiotic:
The potential benefits of probiotic cultures seem vast. The applications
range from helping to treat acute intestinal infections to aiding in the
digestion of lactose and contributing, over the longer term, to improved health
and possibly reduced risk of disease.
What should be
considered when choosing a probiotic? ...
documentation of type of bacteria (genus, species and strain),
of viable bacteria per dose), purity (presence of contaminating or ineffective
bacteria), and the extent of research that has been published
on health effects,
must be provided for any strain being used in a product. Usually the culture or
product manufacturer can provide this information.
Reference Source -
- Bastyr Center for Natural Health
Prevent Chronic Intestinal Infection: Chronic or
recurrent intestinal infection in people who have had their colons surgically
removed can be prevented with the use of a probiotic supplement, according to a
study published in Gut (2004;53:108–17).
The makeup of microorganisms in the colon
has a profound impact on overall health. Inflammation,
the presence of nonhealthful or disease-causing microorganisms, or the use of
antibiotics can disrupt colonies of healthful bacteria normally in the colon. Probiotics
are supplements of beneficial bacteria that have been proven to effectively
restore normal bacterial colonies, preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and
other microorganisms and increasing immune function. It has been suggested
that probiotics might prevent as many as 50% of infections resulting from
Medical conditions that have been reportedly
treated or have the potential to be treated with probiotics include diarrhea,
gastroenteritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's
disease and ulcerative colitis), cancer, depressed immune function, inadequate
lactase digestion, infant allergies, failure-to-thrive, hyperlipidemia, hepatic
diseases, Helicobacter pylori infections, genitourinary tract infections, and
others. The use of probiotics should be further investigated for possible
benefits and side-effects in patients affected by these medical conditions.
Link to Probiotic Immune Therapy for additional information
www.webmd.com - © WebMD, LLC
practice of natural colon
back to ancient Greece. In the U.S., cleansing the colon -- the large
intestine -- became popular in the 1920s and 1930s. But when the theories
behind it lost support, it fell out of favor. Recently, though, colon
cleansing -- using, for example, teas, enzymes, or colon irrigation -- has
Is colon cleansing good for you? The jury is still
out. That is because researchers have devoted little study to colon
cleansing. For now, here is some information that might help you decide
whether colon cleansing is for you.
What is natural colon cleansing?
There are two main colon-cleansing methods. One involves buying products;
the other involves seeing a practitioner to have a colon irrigation.
Colon cleansing with powdered or liquid supplements. You
take some supplements used for colon cleansing by mouth. Others you take
through the rectum. Either way, the idea is to help the colon to expel its
contents. You can find these products on the Internet or in health food
stores, supermarkets, or pharmacies. They include:
Controversial Practices for colonic irrigation ...
- Guidelines - Constipation. PDF
© World Gastroenterology Organisation, 2007
are many different causes of constipation,
and mostly they are poorly understood…Some patients do not have a clearly
identifiable cause; they are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome or
idiopathic chronic constipation (including STC and pelvic floor dysfunction). As
there is no gold standard, self-reported symptoms are necessary, but unreliable.
There is no agreement; for example, on what constitutes a BM. Work is continuing
to establish a definition of BM on the basis of scales of stool form, as a
useful guide to intestinal transit time.
Older people are five times more likely than younger
adults to develop constipation. Mostly this is due to diet factors, lack of
exercise, use of medication, and poor bowel habits.
Constipation can also be imagined, and symptom
patient’s view. Different patients have different perceptions of symptoms.
Some patients regard constipation as straining (52%), while for others, it means
hard, pellet-like stools (44%) or an inability to defecate when desired (34%),
or infrequent defecation (33%).
Constipation is a condition in which a person has fewer than three bowel
movements a week or has bowel movements with stools that are hard, dry, and
small, making them painful or difficult to pass. People may feel bloated or
have pain in their abdomen—the area between the chest and hips. Some people
think they are constipated if they do not have a bowel movement every day.
Bowel movements may occur three times a day or three times a week, depending
on the person.
Most people get constipated at some point in their lives.
Constipation can be acute, which means sudden and lasting a short time, or
chronic, which means lasting a long time, even years. Most constipation is
acute and not dangerous. Understanding the causes, prevention, and treatment
of constipation can help many people take steps to find relief.
© American Gastroenterological Association.
The frequency of bowel movements among healthy people varies greatly,
ranging from three movements a day to three a week. Generally, stools should
be passed without excess effort, straining or discomfort with passage.
Constipation is the infrequent and/or difficult passage of stool. Because
the function of the large intestine or colon is to absorb water, delayed
transit through the colon leads to constipation with hardening of the stools
and infrequent bowel movements.
As a rule, if more than three days pass without a bowel movement, the
intestinal contents may harden to the point that the person may have
difficulty or even pain during elimination. Straining during bowel movements
or the feeling of incomplete evacuation may also be reported as
constipation. However, the presence of these symptoms with normal frequency
of stool passage may require further physiological testing for related
conditions of pelvic floor dysfunction. This is a type of constipation where
the muscles in the rectal area don’t properly relax and they may hold back
stool or lead to difficult passage.
© American Gastroenterological Association.
Constipation has different definitions, and individuals define it based on
family and cultural influence and personal experience.
The frequency of bowel movements among healthy people varies from three
movements a day to three a week.
Patients usually report constipation when there are changes to harder
stool consistency, the presence of pellets, straining or feelings of
incomplete evacuation, infrequent bowel movements and a sensation of
“want to but can’t.”
Individuals must determine what is normal for them.
As a rule, constipation should be suspected if more than three days pass
between bowel movements or if there is difficulty or pain when passing a
Constipation is usually a variation of the functioning of colonic
muscles, so movement of stools is slower than usual or the muscles
contract to hold back stool. It is not a disease and usually can be
Your doctor will determine when diagnostic studies are needed to
identify medical causes of constipation or physiologic testing is needed
to evaluate the type and degree of constipation.
Most people experience occasional short bouts of constipation. If a
laxative is necessary for longer than three weeks, check with a doctor.
Prevention is the best approach to constipation. While there is no way
to ensure never experiencing constipation, the following guidelines
Know what is normal for you and do not rely unnecessarily on laxatives.
Eat a well-balanced diet that includes unprocessed bran, whole wheat
grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Set aside time after breakfast or dinner for
undisturbed visits to the toilet.
Don’t ignore the urge to have a bowel movement.
Whenever there is a significant or prolonged change
in bowel habits, check with a doctor
Some of the Causes of Constipation?
© American Gastroenterological Association.
In most cases, constipation
is a symptom, not a disease. Like a fever, constipation can be caused by
many different conditions. Most people have experienced an occasional
episode of constipation that has corrected itself over time and with proper
diet. The following is a list of some of the most common causes of
Poor Diet. A main
cause of constipation may be a diet high in animal fats (meats, dairy
products, eggs) and refined sugar (rich desserts and other sweets), but low
in fiber (vegetables, fruits, whole grains), especially insoluble dietary
fiber, which helps move bulk through the intestines and promote bowel
movements. Some studies have suggested that high fiber diets result in
larger stools, more frequent bowel movements and, therefore, less
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
(IBS). Also known as IBS with constipation or IBS-C, it is one of the
most common causes of constipation in the U.S. Some people develop spasms of
the colon that delay the speed with which the contents of the intestine move
through the digestive tract, leading to constipation. IBS-C differs from
usual constipation because it is associated with abdominal pain.
Poor Bowel Habits. A
person can initiate a cycle of constipation by ignoring the urge to have a
bowel movement. Some people do this to avoid using public toilets, others
because they are too busy. After a period of time, a person may stop feeling
the urge. This leads to progressive constipation. Children may also suppress
the urge during toilet training or when going to unfamiliar rest rooms, as
in school, and this can progress to constipation later in life (see below).
Studies show that suppressing the urge to have a bowel movement may slow
down the transit through the colon or lead to incomplete relaxation of the
pelvic floor muscles, thus holding back stool.
The false belief that one is constipated is very common and results from
misunderstandings about what is normal and what is not. If recognized early
enough, this type of constipation can be cured by the patient’s physician
explaining that the frequency of his or her bowel movements is normal. One
example is when a person has a bowel movement less frequently than once a
day. While this is still normal, it is believed to be abnormal. Another
example is when an individual feels abdominal discomfort and tries to have a
bowel movement but can’t, however the stool has not yet reached the rectum
to be properly eliminated.
Travel. People often
experience constipation when traveling long distances, which may relate to
changes in lifestyle, schedule, diet and drinking water, or some evacuation
difficulties when using other toilets.
is another common cause of constipation, which may be partly due to hormonal
changes during pregnancy.
Fissures and Hemorrhoids.
Painful conditions of the anus can produce a spasm of the anal sphincter
muscle, which can delay a bowel movement.
medications can cause constipation. These include pain medications
(especially narcotics), antacids that contain aluminum or calcium,
antispasmodic drugs, antidepressant drugs, tranquilizers, iron supplements,
anticonvulsants for epilepsy, antiparkinson drugs and calcium channel
blockers for high blood pressure and heart conditions.
Colonic Motility Disorders.
The peristaltic activity of the intestine may be ineffective, resulting in
colonic inertia or outlet obstruction.
With this condition, the transit through the large intestine is very slow,
leading to buildup of stool in the large intestine and even enlargement of
the colon. Individuals with this condition may not have a bowel movement for
weeks at a time. Treatment involves vigorous oral flushes of fluid (see
below) or sometimes surgery. This is a relatively rare cause of
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.
Some individuals may develop spasms or an inability to properly evacuate the
stool. This can be due to structural changes, such as a tumor, that will
require specific treatment. It may also be a functional problem where the
muscles in the pelvic floor (levator muscles) don’t properly relax to allow
easy passage. This is treated by biofeedback of these muscles.
Some less common causes include:
People who habitually take large dosages of stimulant laxatives become
dependent upon them and may require increasing dosages until, finally, the
intestine becomes insensitive and fails to work properly.
Certain hormonal disturbances, such as an underactive thyroid gland, can
Many diseases that affect the body tissues, such as scleroderma or lupus,
and certain neurological or muscular diseases, such as multiple sclerosis,
Parkinson’s disease and stroke, can be responsible for constipation.
Loss of Body Salts.
The loss of body salts through the kidneys or through vomiting or diarrhea
is another cause of constipation.
Scarring, inflammation around diverticula (pouches in the intestine), tumors
and cancer can produce mechanical compression of the intestine and result in
Injuries to the spinal cord and tumors pressing on the spinal cord can
produce constipation by affecting the nerves that lead to the intestine.
To understand constipation, it helps to know how the colon, or large
intestine, works. As food moves through the colon, the colon absorbs water
from the food while it forms waste products, or stool. Muscle contractions
in the colon then push the stool toward the rectum. By the time stool
reaches the rectum it is solid, because most of the water has been absorbed.
Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much
water or if the colon's muscle contractions are slow or sluggish, causing
the stool to move through the colon too slowly. As a result, stools can
become hard and dry. Common causes of constipation are:
enough fiber in the diet
lack of physical activity (especially in the elderly)
irritable bowel syndrome
changes in life or routine such as pregnancy, aging, and travel
abuse of laxatives
ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
specific diseases or conditions, such as stroke (most common)
problems with the colon and rectum
problems with intestinal function (chronic idiopathic constipation)
Not Enough Fiber in the Diet:
People who eat a high-fiber
diet are less likely to become constipated. The most common causes of
constipation are a diet low in fiber or a diet high in fats, such as cheese,
eggs, and meats.
Fiber—both soluble and insoluble—is the part of fruits, vegetables, and
grains that the body cannot digest. Soluble fiber dissolves easily in water
and takes on a soft, gel-like texture in the intestines. Insoluble fiber
passes through the intestines almost unchanged. The bulk and soft texture of
fiber help prevent hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.
Americans eat an average of 5 to 14 grams of fiber daily,* which is short of the 20
to 35 grams recommended by the American Dietetic Association. Both children
and adults often eat too many refined and processed foods from which the
natural fiber has been removed.
A low-fiber diet also plays a key role in constipation among older adults,
who may lose interest in eating and choose foods that are quick to make or
buy, such as fast foods, or prepared foods, both of which are usually low in
fiber. Also, difficulties with chewing or swallowing may cause older people
to eat soft foods that are processed and low in fiber.
Not Enough Liquids:
Research shows that although
increased fluid intake does not necessarily help relieve constipation, many
people report some relief from their constipation if they drink fluids such
as water and juice and avoid dehydration. Liquids add fluid to the colon and
bulk to stools, making bowel movements softer and easier to pass. People who
have problems with constipation should try to drink liquids every day.
However, liquids that contain caffeine, such as coffee and cola drinks will
worsen one's symptoms by causing dehydration. Alcohol is another beverage
that causes dehydration. It is important to drink fluids that hydrate the
body, especially when consuming caffeine containing drinks or alcoholic
Lack of Physical Activity:
A lack of physical activity can lead to constipation, although doctors
do not know precisely why. For example, constipation often occurs after an
accident or during an illness when one must stay in bed and cannot exercise.
Lack of physical activity is thought to be one of the reasons constipation
is common in older people.
Ignoring the Urge to Have
a Bowel Movement:
People who ignore the urge to have a bowel movement
may eventually stop feeling the need to have one, which can lead to
constipation. Some people delay having a bowel movement because they do not
want to use toilets outside the home. Others ignore the urge because of
emotional stress or because they are too busy. Children may postpone having
a bowel movement because of stressful toilet training or because they do not
want to interrupt their play. Specific Diseases:
GI Tract Problems:
Some problems in the GI tract can compress or
narrow the colon and rectum, causing constipation. These problems include:
adhesions—bands of tissue that can
connect the loops of the intestines to each other, which may block food
or stool from moving through the GI tract
diverticulosis—a condition that
occurs when small pouches, or sacs, form and push outward through weak
spots in the colon wall; the pouches are called diverticula
colon polyps—growths on the surface
of the colon that can be raised or flat
tumors—abnormal masses of tissue that
result when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they
disease—an immune reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and
barley, that causes damage to the lining of the small intestine and
prevents absorption of nutrients
Functional GI disorders are problems caused by
changes in how the GI tract works. People with a functional GI disorder have
frequent symptoms; however, the GI tract does not become damaged. Functional
constipation often results from problems with muscle activity in the colon
or anus that delay stool movement.
Functional constipation is diagnosed in people who have had symptoms for at
least 6 months and meet the following criteria for the last 3 months before
straining to have a bowel movement at least 25 percent of the time
having lumpy or hard stools at least 25 percent of the time
feeling as though stool is still in the rectum after a bowel movement at
least 25 percent of the time
feeling as though something is blocking stool
from passing at least 25 percent of the time
using their fingers to help with stool passage
at least 25 percent of the time
having fewer than three bowel movements per
is a functional GI disorder with symptoms that include abdominal pain or
discomfort, often reported as cramping, along with diarrhea, constipation,
or both. Read more in Irritable
Bowel Syndrome at www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov.
To diagnose the cause of constipation, the health
care provider will take a medical history, perform a physical exam, and
order specific tests. The tests ordered depend on how long the person has
been constipated; how severe the constipation is; the person’s age; and
whether the person has had blood in stools, recent changes in bowel habits,
or weight loss. Most people with constipation do not need extensive testing
and can be treated with changes in diet and exercise.
The health care provider may ask
questions about the person’s constipation, including how long symptoms have
been present, frequency of bowel movements, consistency of stools, and
presence of blood in the stool. The health care provider may ask questions
about the person’s eating habits, medication, and level of physical
activity. A record of this information can be prepared before the visit to
help the health care provider make a diagnosis.
A physical exam should include a rectal exam with a gloved,
lubricated finger to evaluate the tone of the muscle that closes off the
anus—called the anal sphincter—and to detect tenderness, obstruction, or
blood. The health care provider may perform a test for blood in the stool by
placing a small sample of the person’s stool on a paper card and adding a
drop or two of testing solution. A color change is a sign of blood in the
testing is usually reserved for older adults and people with severe
symptoms, sudden changes in the number and consistency of bowel movements,
or blood in the stool. Additional tests that may be used to evaluate
Blood test. A blood test involves drawing blood at a health care provider’s
office or a commercial facility and sending it to a lab for analysis. The
blood test can show if there may be an underlying disease or condition
causing constipation. For example, low levels of thyroid hormone may
Lower GI series. A
lower GI series is an x-ray exam that is used to look at the large
intestine. The health care provider may give the person written bowel prep
instructions to follow at home… For the test, the person will lie on a table
while the radiologist inserts a flexible tube into the person’s anus. The
large intestine is filled with barium, a chalky liquid, making signs of
problems that may be causing constipation show up more clearly on x rays.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. The
tests are similar, but a colonoscopy is used to view the rectum and entire
colon, while a flexible sigmoidoscopy is used to view just the rectum and
most cases, light anesthesia, and possibly pain medication, is used during a
flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. For either test, the person will lie
on a table while the gastroenterologist inserts a flexible tube into the
anus. A small camera on the tube sends a video image of the intestinal
lining to a computer screen. The test can show signs of problems in the
lower GI tract.
The gastroenterologist may also
perform a biopsy, a procedure that involves taking a small piece of
intestinal lining tissue for examination with a microscope. The person will
not feel the biopsy. A pathologist—a doctor who specializes in diagnosing
diseases—examines the tissue in a lab.
Colorectal transit studies. These
tests show how well food moves through the colon.
Radiopaque markers. With this
technique, the person swallows capsules containing small markers that
are visible on an x ray. The markers move through the GI tract just as
food and waste do and are passed naturally with stool. During the course
of this test, the person eats a high-fiber diet to help stool move
through the GI tract. Three to 7 days after the person swallows the
capsules, abdominal x rays, taken several times, monitor the movement of
the markers through the colon. An x-ray technician takes the x rays in a
hospital radiology department or health care provider’s office, and a
radiologist interprets the x rays.
Scintigraphy. This type of nuclear medicine study
relies on the detection of small amounts of radiation after a person
eats a meal containing radioactive chemicals. The dose of the
radioactive chemicals is small; therefore, scintigraphy is not likely to
cause damage to cells. Special external cameras and computers are used
to create images of the radioactive chemicals as they move through the
intestine. To prepare for the test, the person may need to stop taking
some medications and should not eat any food after midnight the night
before the test. Scintigraphy is done as an outpatient procedure by a
specially trained technician, and a radiologist interprets the results.
Anorectal function tests. These
tests diagnose constipation caused by anorectal dysfunction, which refers to
problems with the anus and rectum. To prepare for these tests, the person
should use an enema and not eat anything 2 hours prior to the test.
Anesthesia is not needed for these tests.
x ray of the anorectal area shows how well the person can hold and evacuate
stool. The test also identifies structural changes in the rectum and anus,
such as rectocele and rectal prolapse. Rectocele is a condition in which the
rectum protrudes through the vagina, and rectal prolapse is a condition in
which the rectum drops down through the anus…
Anal manometry uses
pressure sensors and a balloon that can be inflated in the rectum to
check the sensitivity and function of the rectum. Anal manometry also
checks the tightness of the anal sphincter muscles around the anus. For
this test, a thin tube with a balloon on its tip and pressure sensors
below the balloon is inserted into the anus until the balloon is in the
rectum and pressure sensors are inside the anus. The tube is slowly
pulled back through the sphincter muscle to measure muscle tone and
contractions. The test takes about 30 minutes.
Balloon expulsion tests consist
of filling a balloon with varying amounts of water after it has been
inserted into the rectum. The person is given a stopwatch and instructed
to go to the restroom and measure the amount of time it takes to expel
the balloon. If the person cannot expel a balloon filled with less than
150 milliliters of water or it takes longer than 1 minute to expel the
balloon, the person may have a decrease in function for evacuation of
Sometimes constipation can lead to complications, such as hemorrhoids, anal
fissures, rectal prolapse, and fecal impaction.
swollen and inflamed veins around the anus or in the lower rectum that can
be caused by straining to have a bowel movement. People with hemorrhoids may
have rectal bleeding that appears bright red on the surface of stool, on
toilet paper, or in the toilet after a bowel movement. Treatment for
hemorrhoids may include making dietary changes to prevent constipation,
taking warm tub baths, and applying special cream to the affected area or
using suppositories before bedtime. Hemorrhoids that do not respond to
at-home treatments can be treated by a health care provider. Read more in
Hemorrhoids at www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov.
Anal fissures are
small tears in the anus that may cause itching, pain, or bleeding. Treatment
for anal fissures may include making dietary changes to prevent
constipation, applying cream to numb the area or relax the muscles, using
stool softeners, or taking warm tub baths. Anal fissures that do not respond
to at-home treatment can be treated with minor surgery.
be caused by straining during bowel movements. The condition may lead to
mucus leaking from the anus. Eliminating the cause of the prolapse, such as
straining or coughing, is usually the only treatment needed. Severe or
chronic prolapse requires surgery to strengthen and tighten the anal
sphincter muscle or to repair the prolapsed lining.
when hard stool packs the intestine and rectum so tightly that the normal
pushing action of the colon is not enough to expel the stool. This condition
occurs most often in children and older adults. An impaction can be softened
with mineral oil taken by mouth or through an enema. After softening the
impaction, the health care provider may break up and remove part of the
hardened stool by inserting one or two fingers into the anus.
Approaches for Constipation
Treatment for constipation depends on the cause,
severity, and duration of the constipation and may include one or more of
exercise and lifestyle
First-line treatments for constipation include
changes in eating, diet, and nutrition; exercise and lifestyle changes; and
laxatives. People who do not respond to these first-line treatments should
talk with their health care provider about other treatments.
Eating, Diet, and Nutrition
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends
consuming 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day for adults. Americans consume only
15 grams a day on average.4 People
often eat too many refined and processed foods from which the natural fiber
has been removed. A health care provider can help plan a diet with the
appropriate amount of fiber. A list of high-fiber foods is shown below.
People prone to constipation should limit foods that have little or no
fiber, such as ice cream, cheese, meat, and processed foods.
Exercise and Lifestyle Changes
Engaging in daily exercise can help people with
constipation. Another strategy is to try to have a bowel movement at the
same time each day. The best time is 15 to 45 minutes after breakfast
because eating helps stimulate the colon. People with constipation should
reserve enough time to have a bowel movement and be sure not to ignore the
urge to have a bowel movement.
www.worldgastroenterology.org © World Gastroenterology Organisation
Treatment of constipation is symptomatic. Available
studies have concentrated on therapies with fiber and different laxatives.
Whilst therapy with fiber and with laxatives has some benefit in improving
the quantity and quality of BMs, there is no clear
evidence regarding which laxative is superior.
Treatment should be
graded and should start with lifestyle and diet
changes (Fig. 1). Any
medication that can cause constipation should be stopped if possible.
Further steps include the use of bulk-forming agents, osmotic laxatives, and
possibly pelvic floor physiotherapy. If these fail, a next step can be the
use of contact laxatives, enemas, and prokinetics (a
type of drug which enhances gastrointestinal motility by increasing the
frequency of contractions in the small intestine or making them stronger,
but without disrupting their rhythm).
Evidence for the efficacy of current treatment options
is limited. Bulking agents are not always effective
and can even cause fecal impaction. Stool softeners are often
effective. The safety of one group of stimulant laxatives—anthraquinones
such as senna, aloes, and dantron—is
How Do Laxatives Work
Copyright © American Academy of Family
add bulk and water to your
stools. The larger stools help trigger the bowel to contract and move the stools
out. You must use bulk-forming laxatives daily for them to work. Start slowly
and drink plenty of fluids. Gradually increase how much you use to reduce the
chance of having any side effects.
Lubricant laxatives work by coating the surface of the stools. This helps
the stools hold in water so they move out of the body more easily. Glycerin
suppositories lubricate the inside of the anus (the outside opening to the
intestine) to make it easier to pass hard stools.
Stool softeners help mix fluid into stools to soften them. This makes
stools easier to pass out of the body.
Saline laxatives draw fluid into the bowel from nearby tissue. This
softens stools and helps the bowel move them out.
Stimulant laxatives are the harshest laxatives. They cause the bowel to
squeeze or contract to move the stools out. Stimulant laxatives should generally
be used only when your doctor recommends them, such as if you’re preparing for
a bowel exam or if you’ve just had surgery and shouldn’t strain to have a
Laxatives by Classification &
Generic Name Brand Name(s)
Bulk-forming and Fiber Laxatives
Bisacodyl ExLax Ultra, Dulcolax Bowel
Prep Kit, Gentlax
Sodium bicarbonate and potassium
Sennosides ExLax Laxative Pills
Castor oil Purge
(Milk of magnesia)
ExLax Milk of Magnesia
Stimulant Free Liquid
Chewable Tablets, Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia
Docusate sodium Colace, Dulcolax Stool
Glycerin Glycerin suppository (generic)
Mineral oil (generic)
(milk of magnesia) and
Laxatives – Types
- pdf © World
Gastroenterology Organisation Practice Guidelines:
Contrary to commonly held opinion; long-term laxative use does not pose any risks and does not lead to a
Fiber and laxatives:
Fiber and bulk laxatives decrease abdominal pain and
improve stool consistency. Data on non-bulk laxatives are less conclusive,
although cisapride, lactulose, and lactitol improved consistency. There is too
little evidence to determine whether fiber is superior to laxatives, or which
class of laxative is superior…
Only to be used if
an increase in dietary fiber does not work. They act by causing retention of
fluid and an increase in fecal mass. Flatulence and distension may occur, but
use is safe. Adequate fluid intake is essential.
These act by directly
stimulating the colonic nerves. The effect is usually within 8–12 hours;
suppositories are faster, at 20–60 minutes. Routine use of danthron is
discouraged due to its potential carcinogenicity.
These act by retaining fluid in the
bowel by osmosis, changing the water distribution in the feces. This means that
a good fluid intake is important.
Laxatives – Warnings & Cautions
© Healthwise, Incorporated
there precautions for taking laxatives?
Take any laxative or bulking agent with plenty of water or other liquids.
Do not take
of stimulant laxatives decreases tone and sensation in the large intestine and
may cause laxative dependence. If you need help staying regular, use a
bulking agent, such as bran or psyllium (for example, Metamucil).
Do not use osmotic laxatives if you have high blood pressure or kidney
disease or are on a sodium-restricted diet.
Regular use of stimulant laxatives—such as Correctol, Dulcolax, Ex-Lax, Feen-a-Mint,
or Senokot—may interfere with your body's absorption of vitamin D and
calcium. This can cause weakening of your bones (osteopenia).
- Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians
If mineral oil is accidentally aspirated (breathed into the lungs), it can
cause a type of pneumonia. Older adults or anyone who might have trouble
swallowing generally shouldn’t use this type of laxative.
Bulk-forming laxative pills must be
taken with enough water to prevent choking. These pills can get caught in your
throat or esophagus and swell. If you have problems swallowing, opt for a liquid
version of bulk-forming laxative (powder or granules dissolved in water or
another drink) instead. Follow the label directions carefully. If you have any
chest pain, vomiting, or problems breathing or swallowing after taking the
product, get medical help right away.
Who shouldn’t take laxatives?
Don’t take laxatives if you have an allergy to any of the
ingredients. Some people may be allergic to psyllium, a key ingredient in one
type of bulk-forming laxative.
Phenylalanine is another example of an ingredient that can cause a problem for
certain people. If you have a condition called phenylketonuria, you shouldn’t
take a laxative that contains phenylalanine.
Other ingredient-related warnings concern your diet while you’re taking a
laxative. Unless your doctor tells you it’s OK,
don’t use products that
contain sodium bicarbonate and potassium bitartrate if you’re on a low-salt
diet. Don’t take magnesium hydroxide if you’re following a
Look on the label in the “Active Ingredient” and “Inactive Ingredient”
sections to find out what ingredients each product contains. If you have any
questions, talk to your family doctor or pharmacist.
Could laxatives cause problems with any
medicines or supplements I take?
Yes. Laxatives can get in the way of how your body
absorbs certain medicines and some nutrients.
In general, don’t take any other medicines within 2 hours of taking a
laxative. If you’re taking a prescription medicine of any kind, talk to
your doctor before taking a laxative. You also shouldn’t mix different types
Don’t take bisacodyl within 1 hour of taking antacids or drinking milk.
While mineral oil and castor oil may have their place as laxatives, they
shouldn’t be used often. If mineral oil is used often, it can cause
deficiencies of vitamins A, D, E and K. Castor oil can also lead to serious
problems if it’s used regularly.
Should I call my doctor for any other
If you have any of the
following symptoms, talk to your doctor before using a laxative:
pain, nausea or vomiting
sudden change in your bowel habits that has gone on for 2 weeks
Stop taking laxatives and call your doctor if you have any
bleeding from your rectum (the last part of the large intestine)
or if you don’t have a bowel movement after using a laxative. These could
be signs of a more serious problem.
What are some common side effects of
Most laxatives don’t have side effects if you use them
correctly. Sometimes they can cause cramping, gas, bloating, nausea or diarrhea.
Stimulant laxatives are most likely to cause side effects. These can include
abdominal discomfort, faintness and cramps.
With bulk-forming laxatives, you may notice some bloating, gas or cramping at
first. This is more likely if you take too much or increase the amount you’re
using too quickly. These symptoms should go away in a few weeks or less.
Stool softeners (such as those
containing docusate sodium) may help. Additionally, bulk laxatives such as
psyllium may help add fluid and bulk to the stool. Suppositories or gentle
laxatives, such as milk of magnesia liquid, may establish regular bowel
or laxatives should be reserved for severe cases only.
These methods should be used only if fiber, fluids, and stool softeners do not
provide enough relief
Risks of Laxative Use
© Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. - Reports,
Complicating conditions: Just because laxatives are available without a prescription doesn't mean
that they're without risk. Laxative use can be dangerous if constipation is
caused by a serious condition, such as appendicitis or a bowel obstruction. If
you frequently use certain laxatives over a period of weeks or months, they can
decrease your colon's natural ability to contract and actually worsen
constipation. In severe cases, overuse of laxatives can damage nerves,
muscles and tissues of the large intestine.
- Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians
Laxatives aren’t meant for long-term use.
laxatives for longer than 1 week unless you’re following your doctor’s
advice. Long-term use or overuse of laxatives can cause health problems.
Also, using laxatives too much may hide symptoms that would be important for
your doctor to know about. This could delay finding out about problems you have
and delay the treatment you need.
One exception is bulk-forming laxatives. They can be used on a daily
basis to help ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids and
other bowel problems.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
doctor if you have:
constipation with abdominal
cramps and an inability to pass gas or stool (DO NOT take any
laxatives -- call immediately!)
or severe abdominal pain, especially if you're also bloated
in your stool
alternating with diarrhea
using laxatives for several weeks or self care is not working
A child is
holding back bowel movements in order to resist toilet training
How to Heal the Colon
"Written by Jon Barron at The Baseline of Health Foundation" Any program designed to
clean and detoxify the colon needs to address several key areas. The program
bring the colon back to life by stimulating the muscle movement of the
matter to move forward through the system.
old fecal matter off the walls of the colon and out of any bowel pockets.
out poisons and toxins (including chemicals and drug residues).
leach out heavy metals such as mercury and lead.
remove radioactive material such as Strontium 90.
and promote the healing of the mucous membrane lining of the entire
stimulate the body to begin the healing and repair of herniated areas.
the flow of bile to help clean the gall bladder, bile ducts, and liver.
healthy intestinal flora.
and expel parasites.
Candida albicans overgrowth.
up the transit time of feces through the large intestine.
How to Heal the
Colon Correction and Detoxification:
Once you look at the requirements of a good Intestinal Program, it's easy to
see that no one formula or magic pill can accomplish it all. What I
recommend is a two-pronged approach.
Colon Corrective: A good
corrective formula provides both cleansing and healing to the entire
gastro-intestinal system. It stimulates peristalsis (the muscular movement
of the colon). It halts putrefaction and disinfects, soothes, and heals the
mucous membrane lining of your entire digestive tract.
Entirely herbal, with no harsh, habit-forming
chemicals, an effective activating formula will also help improve digestion,
relieve gas and cramps, increase the flow of bile (which in turn cleans the
gall bladder, bile ducts, and liver), destroy Candida albicans overgrowth
and promote a healthy intestinal flora, destroy and expel intestinal
parasites, and increase gastro-intestinal circulation. The herbs used in
this formula are also antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal.
Look for a formula that contains all organic herbs such
as: Cape Aloe, Senna, Cascara Sagrada, Barberry Rootbark, Ginger Root,
African Bird Pepper, Fennel, and the great Tibetan intestinal health herb,
These herbs work as an intestinal detoxifier to loosen
and draw out old fecal matter, waste, and toxins. And they stimulate
peristalsis (the muscular movement of the colon). They also help halt
putrefaction and disinfect and soothe and heal the mucous membrane lining of
your entire digestive tract. In addition, they help improve digestion,
relieve gas and cramps, increase the flow of bile (which in turn cleans the
gall bladder, bile ducts, and liver), destroy Candida albicans overgrowth,
and promote a healthy intestinal flora, destroy and expel intestinal
parasites, and increase gastro-intestinal circulation.
Colon Detoxifier: In
contrast with an activator, a good detoxifier is cleansing and soothing. It
is to be used periodically in conjunction with the activator. The detoxifier
is a strong purifier and intestinal vacuum. It draws old fecal matter off
the walls of your colon and out of any bowel pockets. It also works to draw
out poisons, toxins, heavy metals such as mercury and lead, and even remove
radioactive material such as strontium 90. A good detoxifier will also
remove over 2,000 known drug residues.
Its natural mucilaginous properties will soften old
hardened fecal matter for easy removal and also make it an excellent remedy
for any inflammation or irritation in the stomach and intestines. This
formula is helpful in irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, and
And on top of everything else, this formula will
eliminate the effects of food poisoning or stomach flu in 20-40 minutes.
Look for a formula that contains all organic herbs such
as: Apple Pectin, Montmorillonite Clay, Slippery Elm Inner Bark, Marshmallow
Root, Fennel Seed, Activated Willow Charcoal, and Psyllium seeds and husks.
Pau d'arco also works well in the formula for its ability to help control
- Copyright © Weil Lifestyle, LLC
cleanse: I suggest a daylong or
weekend "juice fast" plus some powdered psyllium seed husks to give
your intestines bulk. Stir a tablespoon of the powder into a big glass of water,
drink it and then drink another glass of plain water. Do this once a day,
preferably in the morning. While you fast, take 100 mg of vitamin C twice a day,
but skip your other supplements.
at least four 8- to 12-ounce glasses of juice daily plus at least four 8-ounce
glasses of water and, if you like, some unsweetened herbal tea. If possible,
prepare the juice yourself from organically grown fruits and vegetables. One
combination I like is apple, carrot, and lemon juice, diluted with plain or
If you can't make your own juices, buy
natural ones without added sugar and dilute them to taste with water. While
fasting, a daily sauna or steam bath can help the body eliminate unwanted
materials through sweating (be sure to drink extra water during and after). Be
sure to eat lightly and carefully when you end your fast and transition back to
your normal diet. Going straight to pizza or enchiladas will almost certainly
By the way, I don't recommend colonic
irrigation for "purification." The entire lining of the colon sloughs
off and is regenerated every day. If you are eating well, drinking enough water,
and getting enough physical activity, your regular eliminations will be
sufficient to keep the colon clean and in good working order.
© About.com. All rights reserved.
diet low in fiber may play a role in constipation. Insoluble fiber, which passes
through the body almost unchanged, gives stools bulk and a soft texture, making
them easier to pass. Foods that are high in insoluble fiber include whole
grains, fruits, and vegetables. Try wheat bran, brown rice, or whole grain
fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the intestines.
Prunes and figs can be added to breakfast or eaten as a snack. Another option is
to sprinkle one teaspoon of ground flaxseeds over any meal. They can be found in
packages at the health food store or some grocery stores. They have a mild,
supplements are also available, the most popular being psyllium husk supplements
such as Metamucil. Add fiber to your diet gradually to avoid bloating and gas.
Also, be sure to drink enough water otherwise fiber can have the opposite effect
and be constipating.
sure you drink enough fluids such as water may help some people with
constipation. Fluids make bowel movements softer and easier to pass. Watch your
consumption of alcoholic beverages and caffeinated beverages such as coffee and
cola drinks, which can be dehydrating.
Many herbal laxatives and "dieter's
teas" are called stimulant laxatives, or anthranoid laxatives. They include
herbs such as: Cascara sagrada - Rhubarb – Aloe – Senna and Buckthorn.
should not be used for longer than a week unless under medical supervision.
Prolonged use may cause the bowels to lose the ability to move on their own, and
has been linked to chronic diarrhea, potassium depletion leading to muscle
weakness and potentially dangerous irregular heart rhythms, and kidney or liver
therapy may help people with constipation resulting from pelvic floor
dysfunction, a condition in which the pelvic floor muscles do not function
properly. It occurs as a result of conditions such as obesity, an enlarged
prostate, or after childbirth.
therapists teach how to better coordinate muscles used to defecate.
Approximately 70% of people have improved symptoms after biofeedback training.
Although biofeedback has only been explored as a treatment for this type of
constipation relatively recently, results are promising.
such as lactobacillus acidophilus, are live microbial organisms that are
naturally present in the digestive tract. Some of the ways they are thought to
promote health include suppressing the growth of potentially harmful bacteria,
improving immune function, enhancing the protective barrier of the digestive
tract, and helping to produce vitamin K.
is some preliminary evidence that probiotic supplements may improve
is a traditional healing practice that involves the application of finger
pressure to specific acupuncture points on the body.
A point that is often recommended by acupuncturists for constipation is Large
Intestine 4. Although it hasn't been studied for constipation, it is a simple
home remedy that may work for some people. The point is at the highest spot of
the muscle between the thumb and index finger when they are brought close
together. Caution: do not use this point if you are pregnant.
With your thumb or middle finger at a 90 degree angle to
the skin, apply gradually increasing pressure. Hold for three minutes. The
pressure should not be painful or uncomfortable.
deficiency of the mineral magnesium may contribute to constipation. Magnesium is
found naturally in foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole
grains and in supplements.
is needed for normal muscle function, including intestinal muscles. One recent
study examined the intake of magnesium with constipation in 3835 women. Low
magnesium intake was associated with constipation.
Link to Colon Treatments
Home Remedies To Treat Constipation
Retrieved From -
forget about prunes! Soak 5 sun-dried prunes in water for 48 hours, then
eat the prunes in the morning and drink the juice at lunchtime.
Another option is to use supplemental magnesium. Start with a
calcium-and-magnesium supplement in the ratio of 1:1 (as opposed to the
more popular 2:1). If constipation persists, keep adding one tablet
containing 250mg of magnesium (as citrate or another easily-digestible
form) every three days until it works. Don’t increase the amount of
magnesium too quickly, because it accumulates, and so does its laxative
Websites that offer home remedies and recommendations for the treatment of
Holistic Remedies for Colon & Digestive Disorders