The article library of YoungAgain.org
Colon Health -Roger Mason
Our digestive system consists of our stomach, 22 feet of small intestines, and 6 feet of large intestine- the colon. Poor digestion is an epidemic in Western countries, especially in America. This especially affects females of European descent. Diarrhea, reflux, gallstones, ulcers, constipation, and diverticulitis are the most common specific complaints. There are five major illnesses of our colon, and they are all far too prevalent today. Collectively, they are referred to as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Our diet and lifestyle are the cause of this. Genetics plays a very small role here. Colon cancer is the second leading cancer cause of death in America, and the third leading cancer in occurrence.
Crohn's Disease (CD) is the most serious. The symptoms are diarrhea, cramping, and abdominal pain. Symptoms can stop, and then sudden flare ups can occur. This usually affects the lower small intestine (ileum) and upper colon, but can also affect the stomach and upper small intestine (duodenum). Anti-inflammatory "-mumab" drugs are usually prescribed. Surgery is common, even to the extent of a colonectomy (removal of the colon) and attaching a colostomy bag (for feces). Despite the seriousness, it can be healed over time naturally with time and patience.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The symptoms are constipation, diarrhea, alternating constipation and diarrhea, bloating, gas, abdominal pain or cramps, and varying quality of stool. Many other varied problems are common, such as headache, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Here, a low fat diet is absolutely demanded, as well as avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol for the rest of your life. Especially caffeine. It is doubtful "gluten intolerance" or "celiac disease" actually exists. Such people are simply suffering from IBS, and avoiding wheat (barley and rye) is not going to help them. Read the Gluten Free Insanity and Wheat Baloney articles. Medical treatment includes various drugs- even to the point of anti-depressants.
Ulcerative Colitis (UC). The symptoms can include diarrhea with blood, fecal urgency, belly pain and cramps, fever, weight loss, loss of appetite, and anemia. The lesions are very obvious during a colonoscopy. Medical treatment consists of anti-inflammatory drugs, such as the "-mumab" group, and surgery.
Microscopic colitis can be lymphocytic or collagenous. This is the least severe form of IBD. The symptoms are chronic watery diarrhea, abdominal pain or cramps, weight loss, and fecal urgency. The colon appears normal during a colonoscopy, and biopsy samples must be examined under a microscope to diagnose this. There are really no viable medical treatments, and drugs such as mesalamine and budesomide are an exercise in desperation (Journal of Digestive Diseases v 14, 2013).
You definitely want to get a colonoscopy ($1,800 insurance or $1,100 cash). Everyone over the age of 40 should get a colonoscopy, even if you have no symptoms. You take three different laxatives for 18 hours, go to the bathroom a lot, and finally pass only cloudy water. The doctor puts a soft color camera tube in your colon, and views all six feet very clearly. You are put under for a half hour with propofol, and there is no pain or side effects. Polyps (adenomas) are found in half of American adults, and these are pre-cancerous. The doctor will remove small ones with his probe. Traditional, allopathic medicine can do almost nothing for you regarding these various forms of IBD. All five of these conditions are thought to be incurable. They can be cured with diet and lifestyle. Think whole body holistic health, and not simply "digestive condition".
Diet is everything (Current Opinion in Gastroenterology v 29, 2013) when it comes to IBD. A low fat, high fiber, low sugar, low calorie, whole grain based diet is the central cure. Eat whole, natural foods including whole grains, beans, most vegetables, soups, salads, and limited seafood and fruits. Eat only two meals a day, don't eat out, take your lunch to work, and don't cheat. All dairy foods must be avoided without exception (Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition v 56, 2013). Read the article Milk is Gonna Kill You. No more meat, poultry, eggs, or dairy foods (Food Chemistry and Toxicology v 50, 2012). Animal proteins and saturated animal fat are difficult to digest (Gut, July 4, 2013). You can eat 10% seafood if you want. Limit raw foods and salads. Stop eating fruit, fruit juice, desserts, and sugar substitutes. You can limit fresh or frozen fruit to 10% of your diet if you insist. Simple sugars like sucrose and fructose just feed the bad bacteria. Sugar intake causes insulin resistance and obesity, both of which are strongly correlated with IBD (Cancer v 118, 2012). Read the article Sugar is Sugar. Overweight people have more IBD, so weight loss is absolutely necessary. With a whole grain based diet, and regular exercise, you can eat all you want and stay slim. Alcohol (Journal of Epidemiology v 140, 1994), nicotine (Current Pharmaceutical Design v 19, 2013), stimulants like cocaine and ecstasy (Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology v 24, 1997), as well as caffeine must be stopped for the rest of your life- especially caffeine. Alcohol is called "rotgut" for good reason. Read the article Good Health Begins with Good Digestion. Macrobiotics may seem very austere to some people, but you will eventually come to enjoy eating for health, rather than mere sensory pleasure. Billions of Asian people have eaten like this for centuries. If you don't make theses dietary changes, you will suffer the rest of your life and die early. Quality of life is everything, and without good health we have nothing. Read the article Seven Steps to Natural Health. Do all seven faithfully without any excuses. Do each step completely. Diet, supplements, hormones, exercise, weekly fasting, no Rx drugs and stop all bad habits like alcohol. These are the seven steps you need to get well.
Endogenous supplements are found in your body and/or your common food. These are to be taken for the rest of your life. Your basic lifetime permanent supplement program will include such supplements as a good vitamin and mineral formula, acidophilus, beta glucan, FOS, glutamine, vitamin D, and flax oil. Notice this is a lifetime regimen. Read the article Serious Supplement Program to learn about other proven supplements for total health. Sodium butyrate and propionyl-L-carnitine are to be used for at least a year.
There are only 12 vitamins. Make sure your supplement has 1 mg of methyl cobalamin instead of regular B-12. Vitamins are necessary (Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology v 90, 2012) for IBD. Our All Your Vitamins® has these.
Mineral deficiency is a basic cause of every known illness. We have All Your Minerals® with 17 different elements. Iron, zinc, and selenium, for example, are known to be commonly deficient in IBD. Mineral supplementation is necessary (Biological Trace Element Research v 153, 2013) for IBD.
Take one tablespoon of bulk L-glutamine powder a day in water or non-dairy milk for three months. After that just one teaspoon. It does not dissolve well, so shake or stir it, and drink it quickly. It is tasteless. This is your most important supplement (Alternative Medicine Review v 4, 1999), along with acidophilus and FOS. There is massive research on this for IBD. You can use this as a medicinal enema, but only 35 g per liter of water will dissolve. Do not bother with expensive alanyl-glutamine.
Take the probiotic acidophilus (6 billion units or more with 8 strains or more) AM and PM. The research is overwhelming here. A good review was done in Current Opinion in Gastroenterology v 29, 2013. You must buy this refrigerated, and keep it refrigerated. Do not buy overpriced VSL#3. You can get fine brands for $10 for 60 capsules.
Take 750 mg of the probiotic FOS AM and PM. FOS is an indigestible sugar that feeds the good bacteria, but not the bad bacteria (Journal of Nutrition v 133, 2003). It is a well known probiotic with good value for IBD (British Journal of Nutrition v 108, 2012).
Beta glucan (British Journal of Nutrition v 108, 2012) is the most powerful immune enhancer known to science. You can take 400 mg of beta glucan daily, or eat a small bowl of oatmeal (or barley) just three days a week. Just a quarter cup of raw oat (or barley) flakes has about 1,500 mg of beta glucan. Eating just one serving of oats or barley every day is a powerful, inexpensive, and effective way to get well. Read the two articles on beta glucan in our library and my booklet What is Beta Glucan?
The science behind vitamin D and IBD is massive and overwhelming. Take a total of 800-1200 IU of vitamin D3. A long review was done at the Division of Gastroenterology in Liverpool (Journal of Crohn's and Colitis v 6, 2012). This is the most deficient of all vitamins. Do not take any if you are out in the sun regularly. Read Vitamin D is Amazing article. Your multivitamin should contain 400 IU. Do not take anymore than a total of 1,200 IU daily, as it is actually a powerful, oil soluble hormone.
Propionyl-L-carnitine (World Journal of Gastroenterology v 18, 2012) has good human studies to prove it's value. People with IBD are deficient in this form of endogenous carnitine. Take a gram a day for just one year. Some people just do not tolerate carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, or propionyl-L-carnitine however. Carnitine is basically only found in any quantity in beef and lamb.
Take two 1,200 mg softgels of lecithin (phosphatidyl serine) a day for six months. You can also buy bulk granular lecithin for $10 a pound, and take a teaspoon AM and PM. This has been shown (Digestive Diseases v 28, 2010) to have good value in human studies. After a year continue to take one 1,200 mg capsule daily, as it is endogenous.
Deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids is epidemic. Omega-3 fatty acids have overall value for your health, and specifically for colon health (Journal of Crohn's and Colitis,2013 Supp.). The best source of all is from flax seed. Flax oil is a better source than fish oil for several reasons. Read the article Flax Oil is Amazing. You can also take 1/2 teaspoon of refrigerated bulk flax oil daily insteaa of a capsule. Buy this refrigerated at a local health food store and keep it refrigerated. After you are well, you can take one 1,000 mg softgel daily.
Buy inexpensive 600 mg capsules of sodium butyrate on the Internet. Take two a day- one in the AM, and one in the PM. This is simply the solid form of natural butyric acid in your food and in your body. Butyric acid has strong healing properties for the colon (Swiss Medical Weekly v 142, 2012). You can also use this as a medicinal enema (not a cleansing enema) by buying bulk sodium butyrate and adding 11 g to 100 ml of water. Tributyrate is better, but hard to find.
Exogenous supplements are ones that are not found in our bodies or our common food. These are optional, and only to be taken for like six months and then stop. Again, these exogenous supplements are just for six months
Take a capsule of 200:1 aloe vera in the AM and the PM. After a while this will cause a laxative effect, and you'll have to stop. This has great healing power by coating the colon (Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics v 19, 2004).
Take two capsules of slippery elm powder AM and PM. This will also have a laxative effect after a while, and you'll have to stop. This is demulcent, and has good healing properties in the short term (Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics v 16, 2002).
Buy 500 mg capsules of golden seal root (not leaf), and take a capsule in the AM and PM only one week per month for a year. Do not take this continually, as it is too powerful. Only two capsules one week of the month for a year. The alkaloids berberine (Xiandai Mianyxue v 33, 2013) and hydrastine have proven antibacterial and antiseptic properties. This is a time proven remedy if used properly only one week of the month for one year. Berberine alone is a proven healing alkaloid (Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics v 294, 2000). Take two capsules of barberry berries or Oregon grape root daily for six months as your berberine supplement.
Ellagic acid is found in black walnut hulls, and is a time proven traditional supplement. This has good value in IBD (Life Sciences v 71, 2002). Take four 200 mg tablets every day for six months, two in the AM, and two in the PM.
Curcumin has a surprising amount of science behind it, including human studies (Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology v 4, 2006). Take two 500 mg capsules AM and two more PM. This is an extract of tumeric, and an ancient healing herb. Just for six months, as it is exogenous and temporary.
Sodium alginate is a seaweed extract. You can take a 500 mg capsule in the AM and another in the PM. This will also bind with toxic heavy metals so they will be excreted.
N-acetyl-glucosamine (chitin) is a derivative of common glucosamine and is called "NAG". Human studies show value in IBD (Alimentary Pharmacological Therapeutics v 14, 2000). Take 2 g in the AM and another 2 g in the PM for six months.
Two green tea (decaffeinated) capsules AM and two PM for six months is another valuable temporary supplement (Inflammatory Bowel Disease v 19, 2013). This must be decaffeinated.
Licorice has good science for digestive disorders, especially IBD. It has demulcent (soothing) properties. Use either regular licorice extract or a deglycyrrhizinated form. Regular licorice extract can raise blood pressure in some people. Take 2-3 capsules a day for six months. Stop if you get any side effects.
Think whole body, holistic health, and not merely "digestion". Take the twenty proven supplements for people over 40 (even if you're under 40). Read the article Serious Supplement Program. Some people are will not tolerate carnosine well, since it is only found in animal foods.
Balance your hormones so you'll be stronger and have better immunity. Hormone balance is central to our health. Read the article Balance Your Hormones. Hormone balance is necessary to cure IBD (Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology v 11, 2013). You can do this simply, easily, and inexpensively without a doctor with saliva test kits and Internet labs. This includes testosterone, DHEA, melatonin, pregnenolone, progestesrone, T3, and T4. Women will need to also test estradiol, estrone, and estriol.
Fast every week for one day from dinner to dinner. This gives your digestive system a must needed rest. Do not take prescription drugs (except for temporary pain medication, temporary antibiotics in an emergency, or insulin for type 1 diabetes), as they just make you worse. Exercise regularly, even if it is just walking the dog. Joining a gym is the ideal. Again, all bad habits must go including recreational drugs. Read the Seven Steps article at www.youngagain.org. All Seven Steps with no excuses. Diet cures disease, diet is everything. Diet and lifestyle is the answer to IBD issues, not drugs and surgery. Get a colonoscopy!