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How to maintain your health and vitality through internal cleansing
By Dr. Lynn Hardy, ND, CNC director of the Global Institute For Alternative Medicine
Each year the average American consumes 150 lbs of sugar and 566 cans of soft drinks ("liquid candy")(1). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that is equal to "52 teaspoonfuls of added sugars per person per day."(2) Can you imagine yourself sitting at the kitchen table gobbling down 52 teaspoons of white sugar - every single day? Well, that's exactly what most of us are doing without even reapzing it!
Why is every other American chronically ill?
Junk food consumption has increased drastically in the last few decades. Compared to 1981, in 2001 the average American consumed in one year: 45 large bags of potato chips - up 78%; 120 orders of French fries - up 130%; 190 candy bars - up 80%; 120 pastries or desserts - up 95%; 150 slices of pizza - up 143%(3)
What long-term effects may we expect from such progressive dietary degeneration? A new movie called Super Size Me documents precisely what physical and psychological changes take place when one consumes too much junk food. Last February, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock decided to become a human guinea pig by eating three meals a day for 30 days at McDonald's. The film centers around the impact this had on his health and life. As reported by the New York Post on January 22, 2004.:
"Scores of cheeseburgers, hundreds of fries and dozens of chocolate shakes later, the formerly strapping 6-foot-2 New Yorker - who started out at a healthy 185 pounds - had packed on 25 pounds. But his supersized shape was the least of his problems. Within a few days of beginning his drive-through diet, Spurlock, 33, was vomiting out the window of his car, and doctors who examined him were shocked at how rapidly Spurlock's entire body deteriorated.
'It was really crazy - my body basically fell apart over the course of 30 days,' Spurlock told The Post. His liver became toxic, his cholesterol shot up from a low 165 to 230, his libido flagged and he suffered headaches and depression." (4)
Toxins "stimulate neurons to death"
Junk foods and soft drinks contain dangerous additives, chemicals, and many are laced with excitotoxins "found in such ingredients as monosodium glutamate [MSG], aspartame (NutraSweetR), cysteine, hydrolyzed protein, and aspartic acid". Excitotoxins are "substances added to foods and beverages that literally stimulate neurons to death, causing brain damage of varying degrees."(5)
No one's put it better than nutritionist, Carol Simontacchi, in her best-selling book The Crazy Makers: "Food industries wantonly destroy our bodies and our brains, all in the name of profit."
Our health has become a victim of someone else's profit margin
No wonder nearly half of the U.S. population has at least one chronic condition, and 60 million have more than one
How to maintain health and vitality?
Understanding that our quality of life is determined by our daily choices, we have the power to improve our health and well-being quickly and dramatically. Optimum nutrition is a key factor, but our health depends not only on what nutrients we eat, but how much of those nutrients are absorbed and how well and regularly the body's waste products are eliminated.
"Through my 25 years in medical practice and health care. I have come to believe that the cleansing/detoxification process is the missing link in Western nutrition and one of the keys to real healing. I have seen hundreds of patients over the years transform regular or persistent illness into health and greatly improved vitality."
- Elson M. Haas, M.D. founder and medical director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin and author of several popular health books
With the proper use of cleansing and detoxification we can maintain health and vitality, even as we age.
Where to start?
Any cleansing program should begin in the colon, the last portion of the digestive system. The colon's job is to compact the chime, absorb water, and receive B-vitamins that are produced by healthy intestinal bacteria. One of the most renowned nutrition experts in the world, Dr. Bernard Jensen, D.C., Ph.D., author of many popular health books, states:
"In the 50 years I've spent helping people to overcome illness, disability and disease, it has become crystal clear that poor bowel management lies at the root of most people's health problems. In treating over 300,000 patients, it is the bowel that invariably has to be cared for first before any effective healing can take place."(6)
We could actually compare the function of the colon in our bodies to a sewer system in a large city. Just imagine for a second what would happen if the sewers in our area became clogged by some debris. Undoubtedly, within a short time the whole neighborhood would be filled with filth and an unbearable stench. This is the same process that occurs in our bodies when the elimination system is not functioning properly. When the colon is clean and healthy, we experience an overall well-being. When it is congested with stagnant waste, poisons back up into the system and pollute the inner environment. This is called autointoxication or self-poisoning.
Signs of self-poisoning
In her best-selling book, Internal Cleansing, Dr. Linda Berry, a chiropractor and clinical nutritionist, summarizes the symptoms of self-poisoning.
"If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing autointoxication (a process whereby you are poisoned by substances produced by your own body as a result of inadequate digestion and elimination), and therefore you might want to consider some type of internal cleansing program:
Allergy or intolerance to certain foods
Bad breath and foul-smelling gas and stools
Constipation, diarrhea, sluggish elimination, irregular bowel movements
Frequent congestion, colds, viruses
Flatulence or gas and frequent intestinal disorders
Frequent headaches for no apparent reason
General aches and pains that migrate from one place to another
Intolerance to fatty foods
Low energy; loss of vitality for no apparent reason
Lower back pain
Lowered resistance to infections
Needing to sleep a long time
Pain in your liver or gall bladder
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), breast soreness, vaginal infections
Skin problems, rashes, boils, pimples, acne
If you have severe symptoms or any serious disorders, seek the attention of a competent health care provider. The above pst is only meant to indicate some of the symptoms of autointoxication. Anyone who has been on a Standard American Diet for more than two years would benefit from periodic cleansing, especially if you live in an urban area."(7)
Every cell of our body is affected by self-poisoning. When the toxins accumulate in the nervous system, we feel irritable and depressed. We feel weak if they back up into the heart, bloated if they reach the stomach and our breath is foul if they reach the lungs. If the poisons try to escape through our skin, rashes and blotches develop, or we look pale and our skin appears wrinkly. If the toxins make it to the glands, we feel fatigued, lethargic, our sex drive may cease and we appear to look much older than our actual age.
Constipation - common sign of a toxic colon
The most common sign of a toxic colon is chronic constipation. Constipation is commonly defined as a condition where the fecal matter is so tightly packed together that bowel movements are infrequent and incomplete, causing much difficulty and straining, and producing dry, hardened feces. The accumulation of this old, hardened feces sticks to the walls of the colon, inhibiting its proper function of absorbing the remaining nutrients. Instead it is forced to absorb the toxins from the build-up and fight the parasites that make this debris their breeding ground. The passage through which the feces are forced to travel is also greatly reduced in diameter so the stools become much narrower, even as thin as a pencil sometimes. In our society, bowel movements of the chronically constipated may be looked upon as normal. But going to the bathroom once every few days, sitting there straining for half an hour and passing black, hard pebbles that drop to the bottom is not only abnormal, it is also serious trouble waiting to happen.
Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis
Many people have small pouches in their colons that bulge outward through weak spots, like an inner tube that pokes through weak places in a tire. Each pouch is called a Diverticulitis while the condition diverticulosis. About 10 percent of Americans over the age of 40 have diverticulosis. The condition becomes more common as people age. About half of all people over the age of 60 have diverticulosis. When the pouches become infected or inflamed, the condition is called Diverticulitis(8) The main cause of diverticular disease is a low-fiber diet.
The role of fiber
Our widespread colon problems begin with our unhealthy Western diet that is deficient in plant fibers. Fiber is indispensable in maintaining a healthy colon. A person with a healthy colon should in fact have two to three bowel movements per day. With the help of fiber, elimination should be complete, fast and easy. (See transit time graph.)
Dietary fiber plays a crucial role in the proper function and maintenance of the colon. "Increasing the amount of fiber in the diet may reduce symptoms of diverticulosis and prevent complications such as diverticulitis Fiber keeps stool soft and lowers pressure inside the colon so that bowel contents can move through easily. The American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day." (9)
For colon cleansing it is best to use a fiber supplement designed specifically for this purpose. Good-quality supplements contain both soluble and insoluble fiber and are formulated to loosen the stool, absorb and sweep away fat and toxins, reduce transit time, and make elimination effortless and complete.
What to expect during cleansing
When we start using an effective fiber supplement, we can expect some startling occurrences within a few days. The fiber goes to work immediately by loosening the hardened feces on the walls of the large intestine and gradually sweeping it out of the body. If we are not repulsed to look at what's leaving our body, we'll be surprised to see a lot of mucus and all the different colors of debris. It's hard to believe that all these things could actually be lurking inside us. What's even more shocking is that among the different colors and shapes people often notice various forms of parasites.
Are you carrying parasites around in your body?
This is unfortunately a lot more frequent than most would like to believe According to United Nations data:
"Overall, about 1.5 billion people have roundworms, making it the third most common human infection in the world. Whipworm infects 1 billion people. More than 1.3 billion people carry hookworm in their gut, and 265 million people are infected with schistosomes."(10)
It is true that most of these infections occur in developing countries, but the rate of parasitic-related disorders in North America is skyrocketing. An astounding number of people would test positive for parasites. This is from the Parasitology Department of the University of Cambridge, England: "Pinworm. An extremely common nematode infection, particularly in temperate areas such as Western Europe and North America. It has been estimated that the annual incidence of infection is over 200 million, this probably being a conservative figure. Samples of Caucasian children in the USA and Canada have shown incidences of infection of 30% to 80%, with similar levels in Europe."
Humans can actually play host to more than a hundred different types of parasites, ranging from microscopic ones to tapeworms that are several feet long. Contrary to popular belief, parasites are not restricted to our colon alone, but can be found in any other part of the body - in the lungs, the liver, in the muscles and joints, in the esophagus, the brain, the blood, the skin and even in the eyes!
"Parasites are the missing diagnosis in the genesis of many chronic health problems, including diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and endocrine system. Most individuals would be truly amazed if they knew the extraordinarily high number of Americans who are unknowingly infected by parasites."
- Dr. Hermann R. Bueno, Fellow of Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene of London
It is extremely easy to come in contact with parasites. Contaminated water, undercooked meats, improperly washed fruits and vegetables, are just some of the common sources of infections. Transmission from pets or other infected persons is also quite common. Overuse of antibiotics further adds to this problem as this can interfere with normal intestinal flora and lower the body's resistance.
Fiber supplements help to get rid of parasites, but they are not enough. We need to use specific herbal formulas to deal with this issue. Some of the most potent herbs for parasite cleansing include Black Walnut hulls, Wormwood, Pau D'Arco, Garpc, Yellow Dock, Pumpkin seed, Male Fern root, False Unicorn, Fenugreek, Grapefruit Seed extract and Prickley Ash bark.
To better explain what one might expect during an internal cleanse, I will share some personal experiences of others who have already been through it. Cleansing and detoxification played a fundamental role in my studies to become a Naturopathic Doctor. It is also something that I have been actively engaged in for many years. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say, "I'll never forget my first colon cleanse". (To read my personal story please click here.)
Once I completed my first cleanse, which consisted of a fiber supplement, anti-parasite capsules and a detoxifying tea, I managed to convince my husband to also give it a try. He ended up continuing the program for three months and throughout this period not a day went by without something rather "unusual" leaving his body. His stools contained a lot of mucus, chunks of debris that resembled cooked liver, long black twisted like pieces, and the things he was most ashamed of - parasites.
My husband's childhood friend was also on the program for a couple of weeks when interesting things started happening. He was beside himself when he called us late one evening:
"I've been standing over the toilet for an hour. I can't imagine where these things could possibly be coming from! One is about 25 inches long, the other looks to be about 15 inches. I don't know what they are, but I do know that I've never eaten anything that resembles these!"
He was only 33 years old at the time and for three weeks straight he kept passing the strangest and grossest things one could imagine. If this happens to such a young person, what "surprises" could someone much older be harboring?
The Lochness Monster
I've received letters and emails from a great number of people who have completed the same cleansing program. One of the most typical letters came from Eva Reichert of London, Ontario, whose entire family started detoxifying at the same time. She wrote the following:
"The first week was a little difficult. We have never drunk so much water before. We kept asking one another about the results but there wasn't much to report during the first week. Then various forms of 'creatures' began appearing in the toilet. We are now on the 30th day and so far each day brought on a new surprise - sometimes smaller and other times quite large ones.
One family member reported the other day, 'This is very strange! I'm sure I've never eaten anything resembling this my whole life. The things I did eat, I always chewed really well. And still, something the size of my hand resembling a rubber glove came out of me.'
Another observation from a different family member, 'At first I saw only tiny little creatures and then a few days later the Lochness Monster arrived!'
We are all thrilled to have completed this program. The final results have surpassed all our expectations. In my personal opinion, if these creatures suck away all the vitamins from us than they must be nice and fat from all the vitamins we've taken. (One of us was taking six different supplements a day, which he stopped for the duration of the cleanse.) I'm pretty sure that we all need to continue our detoxification since after 30 days we still see plenty of 'surprises'. Please accept our gratitude for this priceless program!"
More energy - better state of mind
Lack of energy is among the most common complaints today. While fatigue can be caused by many different factors, it can also be a key symptom of inner toxicity. Even if you're eating a fairly healthy diet, a toxic build-up may prevent your body from converting the essential nutrients you consume into the energy you require. Almost everyone who's completed this program boasts about having increased energy and a better state of mind. Dr. Persanyi of Ottawa, Canada writes:
"My disposition is much better, I feel rejuvenated both physically and mentally. The cleanse was surprisingly comfortable. I didn't experience any unpleasant side effects. I was able to continue on with my work and didn't have any sudden urges to run to the bathroom. I am very grateful to you for writing this article about the toxins and parasites that lurk inside our bodies. This was the first time I've heard of such things, which prompted me to try the program right away."
Here's what Mr. Takacs of Norwalk, Ohio experienced:
"I ordered my first pack of the internal cleansing program in May 1997. I must say that the results were very surprising! I had a lot of build-up in my bowels and I had clumps of mucus the size of my hand leaving my body. My body has changed completely. I feel rejuvenated, healthy and youthful. Despite being 82 years old, I ride my bike, swim and maintain a beautiful garden. I would not have been able to do all this without your help."
Despite the sometimes shocking effects of this program, all of us who've tried it have become big fans of internal cleansing and would not let a year go by without repeating it. Only when we see with our own eyes the many years of built-up debris, not to mention the parasites, do we realize the possible serious consequences of not eliminating these toxins. This also helps remove any doubt that detoxifying our colon on a regular basis is an indispensable part of maintaining our good health.
Weight Loss Is Almost Guaranteed with Internal Cleansing
There's an important added benefit to internal cleansing that most people experience: weight loss. With a sluggish, toxic digestive system, metabolism slows down, the energy level drops and we're simply not strong enough to start burning off stored fat through exercise or other means. An internal cleansing program can help restore balance in the body and increase the metabolism, reactivating the body's fat-burning mechanism. Plus, after a thorough detoxification program, you'll find yourself much more inclined to make healthier dietary and lifestyle choices. Through a detoxified system, improved digestion, balanced metabolism and a healthier diet you will have no trouble maintaining a healthy weight.
High energy and weight loss are just some of the many benefits you can achieve through a comprehensive cleansing program. In her excellent book, The Detox Solution - The Missing Link to Radiant Health, Abundant Energy, Ideal Weight, and Peace of Mind, nutritionist Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald lists the following added benefits of an effective detoxification program:
The Prevention of Illness
An Improvement in Physical Appearance
A Boost in Emotional Well-Being
A Sharpening of Mental Capabilities
An Enhancement in Digestion
The Elimination of Unhealthy Food Addictions & Allergies
The Attainment of Ideal Weight
A Minimizing of the Effects of Aging
Spiritual Renewal (11)
"The secret to great health"
In my opinion, we are not going to change the catastrophic situation where every second person is chronically ill until we place as much emphasis on internal cleansing as we do on external hygiene, such as brushing our teeth or washing our hands. If you are middle-aged, you've taken about 15,000 showers in your lifetime, and you've brushed your teeth close to 30,000 times. Still, you won't stop doing that just because you've done it so many times. Here's an interesting question: If you have to keep cleansing your skin and teeth daily, then wouldn't you think it makes equal sense to clean the inside of your body at least periodically?
Of course detoxification should not be limited to the colon. It is just as important to detoxify the liver, kidneys, arteries, and in general, every cell in the body. [You can read an excellent article about this here.] But internal cleansing must start with the colon, because if this region is kept unclean, it will contaminate every other part of the system.
The importance of internal cleansing can best be summed up in the words of Dr. Paul Bragg, one of the "fathers" of natural medicine in the U.S. and the author of dozens of highly successful health books:
"The secret to great health can be described in three words: Cleanse Your Body! Engrave these three words permanently in your memory."
[If you'd like to read more about the specific cleansing program used by Dr. Hardy, click here.]
Copyright C 2003 by GIFAM. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Hardy is a Naturopathic Doctor and Certified Nutrition Consultant. Currently she is pursuing a degree in homeopathy. She is the Director of the Global Institute For Alternative Medicine and a member of the American Naturopathic Medical Association and the American Association of Nutritional Consultants.
(1) Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH: Soft Drink "Pouring Rights": Marketing Empty Calories
(2) United States Department of Agriculture: Agriculture Fact Book 2001-2002
(3) Dr. Robert Osgoodby: Food For Thought
(4) New York Post: Arch Enemy, 01/22/2004
(5) Russel L. Blaylock, M.D.: Excitotoxins, The Taste that Kills; Health Press 1997
(6) Bernard Jensen, D.C., Ph.D.: Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management, ISBN 0960836071
(7) Linda Berry: Internal Cleansing; Prima Pubpshing 1997
(8) National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, part of the National Institutes of Health
(9) National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, part of the National Institutes of Health
(10) UNICEF: The State of the World's Children 1998
(11) Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald: The Detox Solution, Illumination