FUNCTIONAL GASTROINTESTINAL AND LIVER PROBLEMS

The gastrointestinal tract and liver represent a very major source of functional disorders. When we eat, food passes through the stomach and small intestines where food is broken down with digestive enzymes. Some nutrients are absorbed there. The remaining undigested food products now pass into the colon or large intestine where a huge mass of bacteria act to break them down further. The bacteria in the colon can be either beneficial, neutral, or harmful. Harmful bacteria produce toxins which pass into the bloodstream and create havoc with the rest of the body – in particular, the brain. Beneficial bacteria produce valuable vitamins and other nutrients.

The colon wall is about as thin as an eyelid. It has a very big job to do, allowing nutrients to pass through, while protecting the bloodstream from the very hostile environment of the inside of the colon. The permeability of this membrane varies from person to person. If the colon intestinal wall is too permeable, particles that are too large for the body to handle easily pass into the bloodstream. These particles find their way to the liver where an attempt is made to detoxify them. Detoxification in the liver is a process where unwanted substances are chemically changed into a form that can be excreted. If an excessive load is placed on the liver, the function of the liver can be impaired. Furthermore, the undetoxified particles then back up into the rest of the body creating chronic illness including fatigue.

With advancing age sometimes the digestive enzymes are not produced in sufficient quantity. Inadequately digested food passes into the colon, attracting harmful bacteria. This creates an unhealthy atmosphere in the colon sometimes damaging the colon wall. When the colon wall is damaged, it becomes too permeable, allowing unwanted particles to enter the bloodstream. The liver attempts to detoxify these products, but becomes overloaded. The overworked liver begins to function improperly.

How can you find out if this is a problem for you? Most local medical laboratories are not equipped to test these problems properly. There are many laboratories that specialize in certain areas of medical testing. They can send your doctor a kit containing the necessary implements to perform the test along with a return mailing container.

Before you have complex laboratory testing, there is a simple observation that you can do at home at no cost that is extremely revealing. Simply examine the contents of your toilet when you are through using it. People often fail to do this because they find it revolting. It is important to rise above these feelings. Imagine a scale of one to ten. A one would be constipation (hard stools) or diarrhea (liquid or semiliquid stools) and/or foul smelling gas. A ten would be three bowel movements a day that pass quickly and without straining. The stool is formed into round soft lumps without a bad odor (unless you get up close) that float in the toilet water. There is no foul smelling gas. Occasionally check your stool with your fingers for consistency and hardness.

As you get more in touch with your body, you will be more able to detect when an imbalance in the colonic microorganisms is present using your five senses. In a mild situation, you can obtain a capsule containing friendly bacteria from a health food store. Health food supplements can be expensive. You can get a 30 – 40 % discount from The Vitamin Shoppe 800-223-1216 www.vitaminshoppe.com .

In a more severe case, you may need to rid the colon of undesirable microorganisms. Antibiotics can have side effects and cause an overgrowth of yeast. A simple solution is to use a purgative such as Fleets phospho-soda buffered oral saline laxative 1 1/2 oz (45 ml) available from most drug stores. Read the label carefully because it comes in plain and flavored and the flavoring might be something to which you are sensitive. Follow this with a daily dose of the friendly bacteria.

When simple measures such as these are not completely effective, a colon flush may be necessary. This can be done quite painlessly as we have described it in the