What is the colon?
The colon is a very important organ that helps to facilitate the digestive process. This vital organ is located in the end portion of the human gastrointestinal tract which includes the large intestine, rectum, and anus.
In order for the human body to maintain optimal health, it must effectively eliminate food and bodily waste. The main function of the colon is to reabsorb fluids and minerals while also functioning in the formation and elimination of waste products.
The colon also contains multitudes of different bacteria that aid the body in the following ways:
- Aids digestion
- Promotes vital nutrient production
- Maintains pH (acid-base) balannce
- Prevent the growth of harmful bacteria
- Synthesis of folic acid, vitamin K and some vitamin B’s
What Does The Colon Do?
The colon plays a very important role in how our bodies use the food we eat. Here is how food travels through the body.
- Food begins in the mouth where it is chewed by the teeth into smaller pieces. The salivary glands release juices to help, and the tongue and saliva turn the food into even smaller pieces that will fit into the esophagus. The esophagus is a 10-inch-long tube that connects to the stomach. Muscles in the esophagus move food into the stomach.
- In the stomach, gastric juices — protein substances called enzymes — break down the food into smaller bits. The stomach has powerful muscles that churn up the food until it’s a creamy liquid. This material moves into the small bowel.
- In the small bowel, the food particles get even smaller. More juices from the pancreas, liver and gallbladder mix together in the small bowel. Here is where all the important vitamins and nutrients in food move through the blood vessels that are in the lining of the small bowel. The blood takes the nutrients to other organs in the body. The nutrients are used to help repair cells and tissue.
- What is left over, which is mostly liquid, then moves into the colon. The water is absorbed in the colon. Bacteria in the colon break down the remaining material. Then the colon moves the leftover material into the rectum.
- The rectum is like a storage-holder for this waste. Muscles in the rectum move the waste, called stool, out of the body through the anus.
When the body is unable to eliminate waste materials effectively due to irregular or infrequent bowel movements, this can allow toxic residues from the by-products of undigested foods to remain in the colon. This is why a colon cleanse is so essential.
The process of digestion of an average person (from consumption of food to defecation) usually takes between 12 to 24 hours when the colon is fully functional and non-toxic.
A person with a healthy colon will have 2 to 3 bowel movements per day, shortly after each meal taken. Elimination should be complete and easy.
The stool should be light brown in color, long and large diameter. There should be no offensive odor and it should break apart with toilet flushing.
This describes the normal function of a healthy colon. Does it describe yours?