The upcoming topic on the Natural Health Show is Bowel Health. This is an extremely important topic so I am going to cover it in two blogs. The primary reason why it’s such an important topic is because the digestive track is the site where all ingested food gets absorbed into our blood stream to be further processed by the liver.
The GI track is approximately 6 meters long and its surface area (due to multiple folds and miniature hair like structures called villi) is the size of a football field! This large surface area is necessary to absorb all the nutrients contained in food. Thus it is absolutely crucial that this inner surface of the bowel is in optimal condition. Otherwise the bowel can not absorb digested food and water, which leads to nutritional deficiency, dehydration and diarrhea.
The other reason why bowel health is so important is because it is the site where literally billions of “good bacteria” are present. These good bacteria play multiple roles. First, by being so numerous they simply do not allow “bad” bacteria (i.e. the ones that produce toxins) to colonize the bowel to any significant extent. Secondly they create an environment around them that has such a pH as not to allow the “bad” bacteria to thrive. These bad bacteria produce many toxic substances which are not only harmful to the inner absorptive lining of the bowel but they are also absorbed into the blood stream, after which time they are distributed all over the body and can cause a myriad of toxic deleterious effects to our organs. When this occurs it can lead to a long list of serious medical conditions.
The good bacteria are also responsible for the production of certain vitamins, the most important among them being vitamin K. This vitamin is crucial in the normal coagulation of blood. Thus, when the good bacteria are killed off (for example by prolonged anti-biotic intake) the level of vitamin K drops. This can lead to excessively prolonged bleeding time when the body is exposed to trauma. Such trauma can manifest as easy bruising, bleeding into joints, blood in stool, as well as prolonged and sometimes dangerous menstrual bleeding. Thus it is crucial to keep the population of good bacteria in the bowel at an optimal level.
Finally, the reason why bowel health is so important is because just under the inner surface of the bowel lays the biggest collection of lymph nodes in the body. These lymph nodes house a tremendous amount of immunity cells which constantly monitor all the ingredients in our food and drink. Whenever there is an exposure to a toxic substance or pathogen such as bacteria or a virus, the immune cells protect us from these harmful substances. However, just like a double edged sword there is a bad side to this as well. If there is prolonged exposure to toxic substances, for example when the bowel contains predominantly bad bacteria that produce toxins, the immune cells produce a constant state of inflammation which can be very harmful to our bowel and to our general state of health. In the next blog I will discuss how to keep our bowel healthy, something that is paramount in keeping us healthy and feeling good overall.