Healthy Routes Column: Clearing the Tract

by Gladys Kublik, Co-owner Neighbors Vitamin Shop

Imagine your lower bowel to be much like a conveyor belt in a mining situation. As long as the material moving along the belt is a good mixture of coarse rough rock, water, finer clays and sand, the lugs or teeth of the conveyor remain clean and transport the maximum amount of material quickly. Remove the water and the material doesn’t flow, but tends to clump together. Remove the rocks and the material sticks to the belt and fills up between the lugs to the point that the conveyor is no longer moving material efficiently.

In this first article in our series on Health through Digestion we will look at restoring the digestive tract in a physical sense to its original state. Why should we do this? To allow our digestion system to function without the burden of unnecessary and debilitating physical impediments. How can we do this? Through retraining our system with the help of diet, natural supplements and exercise.

If you suffer from gas, bloating and are starting to look and feel as though you are about 3 or 4 months pregnant, there is a pretty good chance you are carrying an extra burden of encrusted debris along your lower intestinal tract. A sluggish bowel means waste is not travelling quickly enough out of your system, which changes the environment within your colon and large intestine providing the conditions where waste can ferment creating the perfect breeding ground for parasites and Candida.

“Peristalsis is a distinctive pattern of smooth muscle contractions that propels foodstuffs distally through the esophagus and intestines. Peristalsis is a manifestation of two major reflexes within the enteric nervous system that are stimulated by a bolus of foodstuff in the lumen. Mechanical distension and perhaps mucosal irritation stimulate afferent enteric neurons. These sensory neurons synapse with two sets of cholinergic interneurons, which lead to two distinct effects: . . . contraction of smooth muscle above the bolus. . . .
“Another group of interneurons activates inhibitory motor neurons that stimulate relaxation of smooth muscle below the bolus.”

http://arbl.cvmbs.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/basics/peristalsis.html

This complex system of chemical signaling, muscle reflex and neuron stimulation operates constantly to move our food from our stomach through the small and then large intestines, allowing nutrients to be withdrawn and wastes contained and eliminated daily without our thought or knowledge. That is until something goes wrong. We usually tend to ignore the first signs that peristalsis is in trouble; when we do pay attention we tend to treat the effect of the problem rather than the cause. After several treatments with laxative our system’s signals, reflexes and stimulation sensors are no longer attuned to the body’s natural stimulants.

Modern cleanse formulations include herbs and supplements which activate all the organs involved in the digestive process. When fully functioning, these organs produce bile, insulin and various secretions to stimulate movement along the intestines. A modern cleanse may also include enzymes which break up encrusted debris along the intestinal walls and fibre which absorbs toxins from fermentation and sweeps the tract clear.

To retrain this very important system after we have cleansed it from stagnant accumulation of debris, we need to focus on water, diet and exercise. Water is vital to our cells; if we are dehydrated the body sucks any moisture it can from the last of our food, leaving solid compacted waste. Drink at least the 8 glasses of water recommended; coffee and teas are diuretics which deprive the bowels of moisture so they count against you. Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables which if raw, contain additional water and fiber, the most effective are cabbage, turnips, beets , carrots and beans. And last but not least – move! Movement increases circulation to the body’s core and stimulates peristalsis so – walk, run, dance your way to a happier, healthier digestive tract.

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