Volume 1: Issue #10
Colon Cleanliness –
The Key to Vibrant Health
Perhaps there is nothing that distinguishes naturopaths from conventional doctors more than their attitude towards the colon (also known as the bowel or the large intestine).
For naturopathic doctors – “alternative” doctors, if you will – a healthy colon is fundamental to a healthy life. They hark back to the famous quote from a Nobel Prize-winner, Elie Metchnikoff, “Death begins in the colon.”
They hold that it can be to fatal to allow wastes to accumulate in the colon because they literally poison the body.
For conventional doctors, the large bowel is no more than the garbage disposal section of the body. Whether wastes are eliminated every day or once a week, they don’t see it as a problem.
These divergent attitudes are unlikely to change any time soon. However, a group of doctors from Denmark urge their colleagues to take a more serious attitude to colon health, as this would prevent many of the problems they see in their patients.
In particular, they are referring to what they call “hidden constipation”.
Research by Dennis Raanave, M.D., and his team at the Department of Surgery, Copenhagen University Nordsjællands Hospital, could mark the way for new thinking within the medical community.
They found that people can have what they call “permanent fecal reservoirs” in different parts of their colon and rectum even though they experience regular daily bowel movements. The researchers write that this “state of hidden constipation seems to bear a cumulative risk of developing organic diseases like diverticula, polyps, hemorrhoids and malignancy.”
They found that out of 251 patients with some kind of bowel problem “approximately one half of the patients had a fully developed hidden constipation syndrome.”
When put on a high fiber/low fat diet plus increased fluids supplemented with a stool bulking agent and a drug to increase muscular contractions of the colon, there were substantial decreases in abdominal bloating and mass, leading to reductions in tenderness, gas, pain and constipation.
In a follow-up to their earlier work published in the Danish medical journal in 2015, Dr. Raanave writes that hidden constipation is a common cause in functional bowel disorders (chronic abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, stool irregularity, irritable bowel), appendicitis and hemorrhoids.
More alarmingly, he writes that “An increased fecal load in the colon…will increase bacterial counts and create a chronic inflammation of the colonic mucosa, which is a risk factor for cancer onset.”
While the Danish surgeons may not exactly endorse naturopathic philosophy, there is at least a recognition of the supreme value of keeping the colon clean and healthy. Let’s hope this new understanding spreads to the rest of the medical community.
I can’t happen a moment too soon. Here’s why. . .
Everyone is constipated
Conventional doctors accept that constipation is a common problem. In the United States it results in over 2½ million doctor visits, 92,000 hospitalizations and hundreds of millions of dollars in laxative sales, yet they don’t consider it to be an urgent condition.
These stats may understate the problem.
Nutritional counselor Robert Gray, doesn’t mince his words.
In the opening of his book The Colon Health Handbook he writes, “Nearly every man, woman and child living in modern society today is constipated. Yes, whether they know it or not. Yes, constipated even though the bowels may move regularly every day.”
He believes that no person can achieve full health until this problem is resolved.
He is not alone.
California chiropractor Linda Berry writes, “a toxic elimination system is the most common cause of ill health today, and the most dangerous.”
One of the most influential health writers of the twentieth century, Norman W Walker, wrote that “Constipation is the number one affliction underlying nearly every ailment; it can be imputed to be the initial primary cause of nearly every disturbance of the human system.”
According to Gray, Berry, Walker and most other natural health practitioners, modern diets and lifestyles cause waste to remain in the colon for too long. This longer transit time causes excess water to be sucked out of it, so it becomes dry and compacted.
In addition, the waste also becomes slimy and sticky, further slowing transit time and coating the wall of the colon. Gray says that over time the layers build up on each other, often forming “a tough, rubbery black substance.”
Or as Mr. Walker describes it, “Foods leave a coating of slime on the inner walls of the colon like plaster on a wall.”
As if this wasn’t bad enough, this cesspool of decaying matter can release toxins that enter the body by way of sores and lesions that form on the colon wall. Once they sneak into the bloodstream, they become a causative or contributing factor to many health disorders.
Naturopaths point to the wonderful results of colon cleansing as proof of their philosophy, such as a glowing complexion, greater energy, weight loss and an end to abdominal discomfort. For instance one of Dr. Berry’s patients said, “I…feel better than I have in years – maybe ever!”