Good colon health is the exception in today’s world for a number of reasons, including antibiotic use, poor nutrition, alcohol consumption and chemicals in our water and air. Signs of an unhealthy colon include constipation or diarrhea, gas, bloating, acid stomach, irregularity, stubborn weight gain, irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s
disease. Poor digestive health shows up in our body as eczema, kidney stones, ear infections, yeast infections, lactose intolerance, athlete’s foot and many others symptoms. In short, poor digestive health creates many different problems.
Our digestive system supports more than 500 different bacterial species; the colon contains 85 percent “good” and 15 percent “bad” bacteria when it’s healthy, but many people have this proportion backwards. Friendly bacteria, or probiotics, number in the thousands. They work to prevent the overgrowth of bad bacteria, yeast and fungus by competing for space in the intestine.
Probiotics also produce vitamin K, improve immune function, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, aid in the digestion of lactose, prevent cavities, produce serotonin for elevated mood, detoxify ingested carcinogens and utilize oxalate, which are anti-nutrients that can lower mineral absorption and contribute to kidney stones.
These benefits can be gained from fermented foods and high-quality probiotic supplements. Unfortunately, store-bought yogurt and kefir aren’t great sources for probiotics, due to commercial pasteurization during manufacturing. An alternative is learning to ferment yogurt at home or buying artisan-fermented products at a farmers’ market.
Another healthy practice to adopt is cleaning out the system, or detoxing, to give the gastrointestinal tract a clean slate, so to speak. The key to long-term gut health is not to just detoxify it every once in a while, but instead care for it daily. In-depth detoxification is also important, but will do little to change gut chemistry in the long term. Here’s a great daily detox regimen called the Gut Flora Trifecta.
Fresh Garlic: Every night before bed, finely chop roughly a teaspoon of fresh garlic (capsules or prechopped won’t work) and let it sit for about 15 minutes before swallowing it like a pill. Garlic kills unfriendly bacteria and works to support good bacteria as a prebiotic, but will not impart a garlicky aroma.
Redmond Clay: Ingesting clay attracts and captures unfriendly bacteria, toxins, parasites, heavy metals, and radiation. As the clay travels through the intestine, it effectively removes and eliminates the bad guys. Start with one tablet daily and work up to three.
Probiotic: Take a high-quality probiotic each morning on an empty stomach 30 minutes before eating. One recommended brand is Klair Labs. Most grocery store brands are not as effective, so check for others at a health food store. Add in as many home-fermented probiotics as possible, including yogurt, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut and kombucha (fermented tea).
This detox has garlic killing the unfriendly bacteria and feeding the friendly ones, clay pulling the bad guys out of the system and the probiotic/ferments putting friendly bacteria back into the system. The trifecta can be performed daily with no time limits, although it is suggested to maintain it for at least 30 days if currently suffering from symptoms and to repeat it for 30 days at least a few times a year.
Jennifer Taylor and Christy Porterfield, of HealthWorks: A Creating Wellness Center, are practicing doctors of chiropractic in Plano and chapter leaders for Weston A. Price Foundation. For more information, call 972-612-1800 or visit HealthWorksTX.com.