I wanted to touch on this as it is closely related to the topic of dietary fibre we covered earlier. Many people don’t understand what constipation is. I found this out in a consultation some years ago when I asked a gentleman if had regular bowel movements. “Yes”, he replied. To my “How often would that be?” enquiry he answered “once a week”.
When I told him this was far from optimal he complained that passing a stool more than once a week would be a great inconvenience for him. He happened to be suffering from MS, one of the main causes of which is considered to be toxicity.
“Constipation is derived from the Latin word “constipatus” which means “to press or crowd together”. To be constipated means that the packed accumulation of faeces in the bowel makes its evacuation difficult3.
Constipation is the number one affliction underlying nearly every ailment, according to Dr. Norman W Walker3. It is the job of our colon to extract all available nutritional material from the food matter it receives from the small intestine. If the faeces in the colon have putrefied from lying there too long, then rotting and poisonous products are absorbed into the blood stream and carried round the body.
After a while the colon can become encrusted with faecal matter such that no nutrition can be absorbed from whatever passes through the colon. The longer this putrefied matter remains in the colon the more beneficial bacteria will be destroyed and replaced by pathological bacteria. Our immune system depends on healthy levels of beneficial bacteria lining our gut and colon.
Ideally we want to be passing at least one stool a day. Any less than this constitutes constipation and poses health risks. Two to three stools a day is ideal.
Common Causes of Constipation
- A diet high in refined foods lacking fibre
- A high sugar diet leads to systemic Candida which causes constipation
- When going to the loo presents dangers such as rape and murder, as in India we hold on for longer than we should
- Heavy Metal Toxicity e.g. mercury toxicity from amalgam fillings cause damage to the intestinal nerves makes them less responsive to stimulation needed for peristalsis
- Lack of fibre (insoluble and soluble) in your diet compromises peristalsis
- Allergies or food intolerances –> you cannot fully digest these foods (frequently dairy) – they cause inflammation in the intestines –> peristalsis is impaired
- Iron supplements constipate and feed pathogenic bacteria compromising the, gut4
- Dehydration – water makes the fibre in your diet bulkier and helps flush out toxins and promote peristalsis which further constipates
- A lack of exercise (which helps with peristalsis) – you move, your gut and colon move
- Medications such codeine and the oral contraceptive pill can cause constipation
- Hormonal imbalances such as oestrogen deficiency which lowers bile production and intestinal lubrication
- Pregnancy – progesterone slows peristalsis
- Hypothyroidism (under functioning thyroid) causes constipation
- Diabetes causes constipation (hormonal)
- Blockages in the colon block you up
- Neurological problems with the nerves around the colon and rectum (Parkinson’s)
- Pelvic muscle weakness – you have no pushing power
- Long-term use of laxatives – you come to depend on them
Fibre is essential for colon health. Our overall health depends on our colon’s health. Fibre is so important because it acts as an internal broom, sweeping debris off the walls of the colon and carrying it out of our body. Our colon is our sewage system and needs to be cleansed regularly to avoid putrification of its contents.
Next week we will look at which foods are high in fibre and ideal to include in your diet to avoid constipation.
So ensure you are drinking 1 ½ to 2 litres of unsweetened, uncaffeinated drinks daily, include those 5 vegetables and 2 pieces of fruit into your daily diet and move!
Anyone suffering from chronic constipation should immediately seek medical advice.
- Colon Health, The Key to a Vibrant Life, Dr. Norman W Walker, Walker Press 1995