Eliminate Constipation, Part 4

Constipation can be a serious issue. To solve it and help you stay healthy, it’s important to take a deep look at bowel and body cleansing as a way to eliminate causes of constipation and the progression of chronic diseases.

The Toxic Load And Constipation Connection

Reversing constipation permanently can become more than just a simple fix. As I’ve pointed out previously, consuming larger quantities of dietary fiber should offer a significant long-term improvement.

If fiber doesn’t reverse your constipation, there are many natural and prescription medicines to get your bowels moving.

However, you may still be plagued with constipation. And unless you can cleanse your bowel and detoxify your body, you will likely continue with constipation and remain at higher risk for chronic diseases of various kinds (as I explained in my first article in this series). This is because you are constantly being exposed to chemicals in your environment that normally would be eliminated daily. These come to you in food, water, air and various commercial products.

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Some of these include:

  • Mercury: Exposure is almost always from fish. Mercury in the human body is a neurotoxin affecting your brain and nervous system. Be aware that most people with elevated mercury levels (over the Environmental Protection Agency safe level) have no symptoms (yet) or else have subtle, nonspecific symptoms. [1] Studies show an association between coronary artery disease (and heart attacks) and mercury exposures over time. [2] Testing your blood or hair can identify your risk.
  • Xenobiotics: These are synthetic and plant compounds in your environment that are not natural to your body and that can disrupt hormone balance. They are widely used in industrial compounds for many applications: personal care products (perfumes, deodorants, soaps, detergents, cleaning supplies), medications, insecticides/herbicides/fungicides, plastics (toys, sunscreens, food containers), paints, building materials and petrochemicals (gas & diesel fumes). These include PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), BPA (bisphenol A), insecticides (DDT, DDE, endosulfan, kepone, dieldrin, methoxychlor, toxophene), synthetic estrogens and phthalates (e.g. polyvinyl chloride). Phthalates are universally present in our environment. [3] Interestingly, weight loss corresponds with reducing phthalates in your body, suggesting that they get stored in fat tissue.
  • Beef: Hormones given to beef cows to stimulate weight gain may remain in meat that you eat.
  • Eggs: These may contain traces of the estrogen given to chickens to increase egg production.
  • Milk: Growth hormone given to dairy cows to increase milk production can have estrogenic effects when residues reside in milk.

Just as cleansing your body and preventing exposure to these unnatural chemicals is crucially important, so is keeping your gut itself healthy to decrease gut inflammation and autoimmune inflammation.

Body Cleanse For Detoxification

Doing a liquid cleanse is the most effective and cost efficient method of ridding your body of stored unwanted chemicals. Cleansing methods include water fasting (water only), the lemonade cleanse and the juice fast (juicing fresh vegetables and fruits).

The lemonade cleanse consists of consuming only fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice, grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper mixed with water for three to 10 days or longer. Expect to experience the detox symptoms of sweating, increased urination, diarrhea (or decreased bowel movements), mild weakness and even a change in your breath odor.

Ingredient list for the lemonade cleanse:

  • Grade B maple syrup (Do not use grade A or pancake maple syrup!)
  • Large bag of fresh lemons or limes (Do not use juice from concentrate.)
  • Cayenne spice (You may already have in the kitchen.)
  • 6 water bottles (16 ounces each) so you can prepare several at once and store in refrigerator for the day

Directions:

Nearly fill up each bottle with water and add in juice from one fresh-squeezed lemon or lime to each, along with grade B maple syrup (to taste) and cayenne pepper (a pinch, then increase, if so desired, for flavor). Higher cayenne amounts stimulate more cleansing.

You can vary the amounts of citrus juice, maple syrup and cayenne for taste and effect. For lunch or dinner consider using hot water (like a soup broth) with increased cayenne to get a powerful spice taste. Drink six to 12 of these full bottles per day, but consume no solid food. Expect your hunger to decrease substantially after the third day.

Liquid cleansing is best done when there are no extra physical, emotional or mental demands upon you. It’s a time to stay warm and relaxed. Plan to make plenty of time for yourself so you can meditate, read, relax and focus on healing your body during these days. It is said that for every day of your liquid cleanse that you are dealing with some external stress and not allowing yourself time to focus on cleansing, you extend the time required to detoxify by an additional one-half day.

How long should you stay on the liquid cleanse? The answer depends upon your cleansing experience, physical strength and condition, mental attitude, level of chronically stored toxic chemicals, work schedule, and age.

How should you successfully end your cleanse? It is best to begin by consuming fruit juice (usually orange juice, tomato juice, watermelon juice or vegetable broth) but just half a glass to start. After an hour, try another half glass.

Then consume just small amounts of juice every hour the first day. The second day, start juicing for as many days as you were on the liquid cleanse. Finally, proceed to fruit smoothies and add in nuts, eggs, sprouted grains or other foods before proceeding back to solid foods. Solid raw or steamed veggies, a small salad and light salad dressing, and fresh fruits (low-glycemic) are your best first solid foods at this point. The high-glycemic fruits include bananas, pineapples, mangos, raisins and dates.

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Bowel Health After Cleansing

What about the long-term health of your bowel? I’ll give you some important clues on how to maintain a healthy gut and, thus, lower your risk for chronic inflammatory diseases.

We know that dietary fiber serves as valuable food for healthy bacteria in our gut. These bacteria nourish the cells of the gut lining with the nutrients they produce (short chain fatty acids butyrate and propionate). The healthy bacteria also keep unhealthy (inflammatory) bacteria to a minimum.

Inulin is a very important dietary soluble fiber. This carbohydrate is indigestible by mouth and stomach enzymes, but metabolized by colonic micro flora. It acts as a fertilizer (or prebiotic) for healthy bacteria. If taken (as a supplement or in foods) along with probiotics, it is known to improve immune function, mineral bioavailability and lipid metabolism. It has been shown to reduce the risk of intestinal infections, constipation, non-insulin dependent diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and colon cancer. [4]

Good sources of inulin include root vegetables. It is included in asparagus, bananas, burdock root, chicory root, dandelion root, garlic, jicama root, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions and wild yam. Other important prebiotic fiber foods are barley, oats and apples.

Yet another way to maintain a healthy bowel wall and keep chronic systemic inflammation away is by consuming fermented milk (kefir), plain yogurt or fermented cabbage (sauerkraut, kimchee).

A Harvard study [5] published this year compared animal-protein diets to plant-based diets and found that animal meats and cheese increased the abundance of bile-tolerant microorganisms such as Bilophila wadsworthia, previously shown to trigger inflammatory bowel disease [6] plus fungi and even viruses. It makes me want to be careful with how much animal protein I include in my diet.

To feeling good,

Michael Cutler, M.D.
Easy Health Options 

Constipation: Part 1: Don’t let constipation ruin your health
Constipation: Part 2: Don’t Make These Constipation Mistakes
Constipation: Part 3: Escape Constipation Naturally, Part 3


[1] Hightower JM, Moore D. “Mercury levels in high-end consumers of fish,” in Environmental Health Perspectives, 111 (4), 2003, pp. 604-608.

[2] Guallar E, Sanz-Gallardo MI, van’t Veer P, Bode P, Aro A, Gomez-Aracena J, Kark JD, Riemersma RA, Martin-Moreno JM, Kok FJ. Heavy Metals and Myocardial Infarction Study Group. “Mercury, fish oils, and the risk of myocardial infarction,” in New England Journal of Medicine, 347 (22), 2002, pp. 1747-54.

[3] Dirtu AC, Geens T, Dirinck E, Malarvannan G, Neels H, Van Gaal L, Jorens PG, Covaci A. Phthalate metabolites in obese individuals undergoing weight loss: Urinary levels and estimation of the phthalates daily intake. Environ Int. 2013 Sep;59:344-53.

[4] Roberfroid MB. Functional foods: concepts and application to inulin and oligofructose. Br J Nutr. 2002 May;87 Suppl 2:S139-43.

[5] David LA, Maurice CF, Carmody RN, et al. Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature. 2014 Jan 23;505(7484):559-63.

[6] Devkota, S. et al. Dietary-fat-induced taurocholic acid promotes pathobiont expansion and colitis in Il10−/− mice. Nature 2012; 487, 104–108.

 

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Dr. Michael Cutler

By Dr. Michael Cutler

Dr. Michael Cutler is a graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine and is a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of experience. He serves as a medical liaison to alternative and traditional practicing physicians. His practice focuses on an integrative solution to health problems. Dr. Cutler is a sought-after speaker and lecturer on experiencing optimum health through natural medicines and founder of the original Easy Health Options™ newsletter — an advisory on natural healing therapies and nutrients. His current practice is San Diego Integrative Medicine, near San Diego, California.