The lower portion of our gastrointestinal (GI) tract is called the colon - referring to the “colonies” of friendly flora who live there, that we have a symbiotic (life dependent) relationship with. A healthy human colon has between 800-1200 different species of bacteria, weighing from 3-5 lbs in totaliy, referred to as our “microbiome”. If our personal microbiome is not robust, neither will we be.
The primary function of our colon is to properly manage the elimination of the portion of our food that is considered “waste”. The colon is designed to squeeze the last bit of nutrition out of our food, before the leftovers are expelled as feces. The timing and texture of our bowel movements (BM’s) can tell us a lot about our overall health, and where there are problems that need to be addressed.
- Colitis or Diverticulitis – the interior lining of the colon is made up of specialized cells which form a thin lining. This lining is poorly vasculated, meaning that these human cells do not get their nourishment from the blood. Rather, they get fed from the inside out…from the food wastes passing through, and from the colonies that inhabit the colon. Colon dysfunction is the result of poor upper and middle digestive systems, and from bacterial dysbiosis (insufficient or inappropriate species of bacterial species)
- Constipation and/or Diarrhea – a healthy bowel movement will happen 1-2 times per day, in an effortless way. So many people live with chronic constipation (less than one BM per day) or chronic diarrhea (watery BM’s that happen multiple times per day) that we tend to think of them as normal. Please remember that while they may be common, these conditions are not normal, and can be indicative of or leading to much more serious health conditions.
- Weight Loss or Gain – Conventional medicine tells us that achieving and maintaining our ideal weight will lead to optimal health, however the opposite is more accurate - ideal weight is the RESULT of optimal health. For those struggling to lose or gain weight, the key is to focus on supporting your overall robust health, and digestive health in particular. Constipation often contributes to unwanted weight gain, as it interrupts detoxification processes. Diarrhea often contributes to unwanted weight loss, because it interferes with proper absorption of calories and nutrition.
The above health imbalances can often be corrected with well-informed nutritional and lifestyle choices.
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