Tag Archives: Intestine

Straight, No Chaser: About That Vomiting and Diarrhea…

gastroenteritis.jpg.mid

You’ve all been there and done that. It’s always a bad day when you get the so-called stomach flu… First of all ‘the flu’ is a respiratory disease (affects the lungs, not the stomach and intestines), and the influenza viruses don’t cause that syndrome of vomiting and watery diarrhea. So, what you’re actually getting is gastroenteritis (gastro = stomach, entero = intestines, and itis = inflammation), an inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the stomach and small and large intestines. Most cases of gastroenteritis are infections caused by a variety of viruses that results in vomiting or diarrhea (other symptoms may include belly cramping, fever and headache from all that retching). There are other (bacterial) causes of vomiting and diarrhea, but the overwhelming number of cases is due to viruses. Your physician will know when the other considerations come into play. Here’s a few points you really want to know.

1. Is it serious?

  • In most cases of viral gastroenteritis, the symptoms and condition are rate limited and will come and go without much further ado. Your symptoms will last up to 10 days in most cases.
  • The concern isn’t nearly as much with the vomiting and diarrhea as it is with the dehydration that can result from all those fluid losses. Dehydration can cause all manner of electrolyte abnormalities, leading to serious acute illness and even death. In fact, diarrhea and dehydration have long been the number one cause of death worldwide outside of the United States.

2. Is it contagious?

  • Absolutely. This is one of the main reasons you’re always being told to wash your hands, especially after using the bathroom. Fecal-oral (yes, anus to mouth) transmission of viruses makes gastroenteritis and many other illnesses contagious. Hand shaking and other forms of contact (including eating food poorly handled or undercooked) extend the risk of transmission.

diarrheaemergency

3. How can I avoid gastroenteritis?

There are good options available to you.

  • Avoid food and water that you believe to be contaminated, perhaps because others have had problems with it.
  • Frequent hand washing is very important.
  • Similarly, take steps to wash and disinfect possibly contaminated clothing and surfaces, preventing this before it gets started.
  • A vaccine is available for two of the more common causes of gastroenteritis. Discuss whether it’s appropriate for your child with his/her pediatrician (it needs to be given during your child’s first year of life).

4. How will it be treated?

  • Fluids, fluids and more fluids will be given, and unless you can’t keep anything down at all, the fluids should be given by mouth. It’s interesting to note that the U.S. overuse intravenous (IV) fluids much more in these instances than the rest of the world. Learn about oral rehydration therapy (ORT). It’s how the rest of the world (very successfully) treats most cases of vomiting and diarrhea, and it’s roughly approximated by all those popular rehydration brands. The key is to take in enough fluids to stay ahead of the fluid losses. ORT is available over the counter, and remember that you don’t have to guzzle it. As little as a teaspoon at a time still can keep you hydrated.

It’s important to discuss some other treatment considerations.

  • Antibiotics don’t work against these viruses, so in this example, they won’t be helpful.
  • In select instances, your physician may provide symptomatic treatment for vomiting and diarrhea, but in the absence of this, they should be avoided. There are significant consequences to taking these medications, and a physician should be involved in taking that risk.

In summary, you don’t always have to run to the ER when you get the runs. Stay hydrated, my friends.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention, Infectious Disease

Straight, No Chaser: Toxin and Detoxification Series Summary

bigstock_Smiley_ball_sending_message_ab_25677302

I want to thank you for all the positive responses to the series of posts on toxins and detoxification. You have shared many personal stories and asked many great questions. I guess I’ll continue to accept your being shy (especially on these topics) about asking personal questions publicly, but keep contacting me here. To that end, I’ll summarize by sharing some of your thoughts and making a few final comments.

You can’t escape toxins, but you can pretty easily reduce your exposure to them. For the things you can control, “everything in moderation” is a pretty good rule of thumb for most, except for cigarette smoke into your lungs. That just needs to stop.

Your body does a great job of detoxification through the lungs, kidneys, liver, intestines and skin. This process is retarded by age and the effects of toxins on these systems.

There are a lot of fad diets and questionable methods of detoxifying. Most have risks that should make you cautious. None are more effective than tuning your body to do its best work. Furthermore, these methods are invariably more effective in the short-term than the long-term.

Now, to some of your questions.

1. So are you saying bowel movements are good enough to detox the intestines?

Until and unless your bad habits catch up with you, yes. Consider the ways the large intestines (the colon) handle toxins.

  • If healthy, the colon sheds old cells about every three days, preventing a buildup of harmful material. It regenerates new healthy cells in their place. It’s lining includes mucus membranes that can keep toxic substances from reentering the blood and tissues.
  • You have “natural” bacteria that reside in the colon. They actually detoxify food wastes for you. (One of the potential issues of colon cleansing is the removal of these bacteria.)
  • The liver’s main function is to neutralize toxins.
  • Your bowel movements remove waste and toxins from you. Although the number of bowel movements vary between individuals, your body (if healthy) is able to regulate when you defecate based on your needs.
  • Increasing the number of bowel movements doesn’t improve weight loss. That’s because the body absorbs most calories before they reach the large intestine.

Nothing in a colonic or juice fast will match this level of effectiveness. Spend your efforts keeping your body healthy. Increase your fiber, water, fruit and vegetable intake. Lower or eliminate the intake of red meat, cigarettes and alcohol. There’s your detox program all day long.

2. So what’s the verdict on the detox diets and colon cleansing?

Consult with your physician. I’d imagine that using the diets as a starting point for lifestyle changes would be endorsed. I’d doubt that any fad diet would be endorsed.

3. You said tap water is no longer good? Should I exclusively drink bottled water?

Actually filtered water is even better.

4. Are you suggesting I stop wearing makeup?

You’re beautiful just the way you are.

5. Have you ever had a colonic?

Yes, and it made me feel dirty. (Was that serious, or a joke?)

6. I’d never do that.

Actually, you will. (Well, almost.) Many men over 50 will have a colonoscopy to evaluate for the possibility of colon cancer at some point. If and when you get that, you’ll get your colon cleanse solution one to two days before the procedure and maybe an enema in addition. At least you’ll be under the care of a physician, and you’ll get a sedative first!

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Health Prevention, Medical Treatment

Straight, No Chaser: Natural Colon Cleansing (Colonics) as a Means of Detox

C’mon. Be honest. You knew we’d end up here (no pun intended). Isn’t colonic cleansing one of those things that makes you wonder who the Greek guy was who first thought of this centuries ago? Perhaps even more interesting would be talking to the first guy who volunteered for this …  I promise to (try to) do (most of) the rest of this post with a straight (no chaser) face.

What Is It? Colon cleansing is done primarily via two methods.

  • You can take supplements by mouth that will stimulate expulsion of the contents of your intestines.
  • You can have a tube inserted through your rectum to irrigate your intestines.

Why Do It?  Allow me to set the table by explaining the premise for colonic cleansing. It’s actually a pretty simple and linear train of thought.

  • You have toxins in your intestines from undigested food.
  • Over time, those toxins can get reabsorbed back into your blood and cause damage to your organs (as previously discussed here).
  • You’d like to get rid of the toxins by flushing and irrigating them out of your system.

Proponents of colonic cleansing claim potential benefits such as weight loss, improved immunity and mental outlook and reduction of the risk of colon cancer.

The Methods

Oral colon cleansing (through supplements, oral laxatives, or enzymes) and colonic irrigation (through inserting of a tube) are variations of the same theme. Oral cleansing stimulates massive contractions of your intestines with subsequent massive bowel movements. (Think of the effects of Draino – and please don’t try taking any Draino and say I told you to; it’s just an analogy.)

Colonic cleansing involves placement of a tube through the rectum into the colon and irrigating the colon with several gallons of the chosen solution (sometimes including herbs, enzymes, caffeine or probiotics) until the contents are clear, suggesting the stool has been removed (like a high power wash or enema – again please don’t do that at home…).

At the end of either process, all we can say for sure is that you will have a lot less stool in your intestines.

The Risks

I love the phrases “Natural doesn’t necessarily mean safe” and “Safe doesn’t necessarily mean effective.” They especially come to mind when I see the phrase “natural colon cleansing.” Colonic cleanses, even if effective, are risky. Keep in mind the following.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate these colonic procedures.  Don’t ask me why, but that means that nothing about the procedure has been quality checked in the same way medicines and medical procedures have to be. To be fair, there is a massive case history of these procedures being done safely in the overwhelming number of cases.
  • If you decided to get a colonic, you may be receiving one from someone who’s not licensed, depending on the state or country. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but ask to see credentials before you allow someone to give you a colonic … and please speak with your primary care physician about options.
  • Consider the fact that this is a medical procedure. Even in the hands of the best therapists, things go wrong. If and when something happens, will the therapist be able to address the issue? Ask your therapist what will happen if you have an allergic reaction to any solutions being used.
  • Other risks include dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, infection, rupture of the intestines and depletion of probiotics. (You may recall that in my previous post that I discussed that the intestines have toxin-repellent mechanisms already in place. Probiotics are part of that internal process.)

You should not be undergoing colonics without your physician’s approval under any circumstance and not even then if you suffer from any of the following:

  • Any lower digestive tract tumor (cancer)
  • Any recent surgery, especially of the intestines
  • Specific digestive tract conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis or diverticulitis
  • Bad hemorrhoids (as opposed to the good ones)
  • Significant heart, lung or kidney disease (You will be receiving a medical procedure in a place not equipped to deal with emergencies should one occur, and no one can tell you that one won’t happen while you’re on the business end of a rectal tube.)

Does it work?

I can make the following comments with complete confidence and no equivocation.

  • There has been very little medical research on the benefit of colonic cleansing. Therefore, any global claims of benefit, include those listed above, are unjustified when placed against the standard by which the medical community judges these things. It is very unlikely that will ever change, as I don’t exactly foresee a sufficient number of research subjects lining up (or backing up) for a randomized, double-blinded study anytime soon … That’s not to say it doesn’t work, and there is a theoretical basis for why it would work. It’s just that sufficient medical evidence that it works hasn’t been put forth.
  • I know individuals (and not just the colonic hydrotherapists/hygienists who are obviously incentivized to promote the procedure) who swear they feel better getting this done. Of course, this could be attributable to a placebo effect. Alternatively, here’s something that proponents of colonics don’t seem to discuss that is quite reasonable. There are specific medical ailments related to the nervous system (which has several trigger points in the intestines) that are improved by relieving constipation; clearly colonics do that. Perhaps proponents don’t want to see the procedure reduced to a complex way to provide an enema.
  • I know there are natural methods of cleansing that are at least as effective as colonics.  I’ve discussed these here.

So what does all this mean?  Given the last bullet point above, the issue can be addressed with either of two analogies.

  1. If you wash a car that already has rust on it, you aren’t really fixing anything.
  2. If you repair a car that still functions as new, you aren’t really improving anything. I’m all for maintenance, but when you’re discussing the body, if you take care of it, it sustains itself rather well.

In my “toxin summary post” tomorrow, I will answer your questions on the entire toxin and detoxification series and add a few final thoughts.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

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Filed under General Health and Wellness, Medical Treatment, Toxicology/Drugs

Straight, No Chaser: Natural Methods of Detoxification

Natural-Detox

It seems that at least once a week I get asked to comment on colonics, detox diets, juice fasts, etc.  It seems to me that these are all rather extreme places to start.  How about we just talk about the threats that exist, how to avoid them, how to understand the natural detoxification process and how to optimize it?

On some level, our body is at constant war with our surroundings.  We are finely tuned machines (until we’re not).  We are well designed and equipped to filter the air we breathe and the food we eat, and to repel external poisons from penetrating our bodies.  That’s a very good thing, because toxins are everywhere.  We eat and drink them.  We inhale, absorb and ingest them.  Usually we do these things unwittingly, but for various reasons, a good number of us do these things intentionally.  By definition, toxins have harmful effects on our bodies.  Buildups of these substances can cause damage and eventually death.

In the first part of this five-part review of toxins and how they affect us, I want to point out how the body is equipped to combat and eliminate toxins – until and unless we poison it.  In the second part, I’ll offer Quick Tips to enhance your ability to naturally detoxify.  In the third part, I’ll discuss what and where the toxins are that we must combat.  In the fourth and fifth parts, I’ll discuss some of the exotic (or should that be esoteric?) methods promoted to detoxify the body.

Let’s start not by talking about toxins, but by discussing how the body protects you.  There are four areas in particular to review: the skin, the lungs, the kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract (particularly your liver and intestines).

Skin: The skin is actually the body’s largest organ, and it’s the largest organ of elimination.  It is in constant contact with the environment and is our primary barrier against disease, keeping out microorganisms, dusts, pollens and other substances with no good intentions.  The constant battle leaves your skin’s pores clogged, subject to infection, lacerations, and premature aging.

Lungs: The lungs are the vessels of life, bringing oxygen into the body to supply the needs of all your organs and systems.  However, have you looked at the atmosphere lately?  Smog’s everywhere, not to mention allergens and cigarette and cigar smoke.  If the air you’re breathing is poisoning the lungs themselves, your ability to keep poisons out of you and exhale away carbon dioxide incrementally become diminished to disastrous effect.

Kidneys: Your kidneys are one of the two primary ways you visibly eliminate waste.  Consider them the blood’s strainer.  You really should learn to watch your urine.  It tells a story about your health.  If your urine is not clear to light yellow, something’s going on.  If you come to me with cloudy, straw-colored, bloody, pink, or brown urine, those all tell me about different medical conditions you could be experiencing.

Your liver and intestines: Now we’re looking at your stools.  Consider that if you were ideally healthy, you’d have a bowel movement with the same frequency with which you ate.  At the other end of the spectrum (no pun intended), you could be constipated, or your bowels could be obstructed.  You have bacteria that live in your intestines that also help naturally detoxify wastes, but that only works as intended if you continue to have stools.  The more contact time your body’s intended waste has with your intestinal tract, the more of it that will be absorbed.  Fortunately, the intestines have additional barriers in its membranes that fight against toxins reentering the body.  Your liver serves a vital function in detoxifying many directly poisonous substances. It uses its natural chemicals to facilitate excretion of toxins by the kidneys.

Most everything you think you know about extrinsic supplemental ways to detoxify are poor substitutes for what a healthy body will achieve.  If you focused on your health and fitness, you could rest assured that your body would protect you, and you could also save a ton of money avoiding all those fad diets and other ‘previously secret’ methods of detoxification.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Detoxification, General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention

Straight, No Chaser: Hernias Are Why Your Doctor Asks You to Turn Your Head and Cough!

Hernias

Hernias are an uncomfortable topic (no pun intended, for many reasons). Hernias are yet another example of body parts not being in their proper place. They are caused by weak muscles or tissue allowing other tissue to push through in the face of pressure.  Hernias can be found in many places and can be caused by many things.

Here are some examples of places hernias occur:

hernias

  • In your groin, different types of hernias occur when either the intestine or bladder pushes through groin (inguinal canal) or the abdominal wall.  The most common type of hernias here are called inguinal hernias.
  • In the upper thigh, the intestine can push through a different space where arteries are normally carried.  These are called femoral hernias.
  • In your abdomen, your intestine may protrude through an area where you’ve had surgery (rendering that area relatively weak).  These are called incisional hernias.
  • The small intestine can protrude through the area immediately at or near your belly button. These are called umbilical hernias.
  • Part of your stomach can push through an opening in your diaphragm near the end of the feeding tube (your esophagus). These are called hiatal hernias.

The ‘so-what’ of hernias is similar to other outpoutchings throughout the body. Prolapsed intestines (to use one example) can become unable to be relocated into the proper area (an irreducible or incarcerated hernia) or once trapped, it may have blood flow cut off from that part of your intestine (a strangulated hernia).  This could lead to death of that tissue. Given the contents of your intestines, any such situations could lead to rupture and infection throughout your body (sepsis). Such complications are life-threatening and require immediate surgery.

Here are causes and risk factors (remember the common denominators are pressure and weakness of the affected area):

  • Lifting heavy objects is a particular risk if your abdominal muscles are weak. Men are structurally weaker in the groin anyway.
  • Pregnancy and obesity lead to femoral hernias and umbilical hernias (although this type is most common in newborns).
  • Surgery obviously places you at risk for an incisional hernia, particularly if you’re inactive.
  • Pressure within the abdomen is also increased by sneezing, coughing, diarrhea and constipation (Don’t strain!).
  • Smoking, obesity and poor dietary habits also increase the risk by lessening muscle strength.

Don’t let this happen to you! I welcome any questions.  Hold the comments!

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Genital/Urinary, Surgical Care

Straight, No Chaser: About That Vomiting and Diarrhea…

gastroenteritis.jpg.mid

You’ve all been there and done that. It’s always a bad day when you get the so-called stomach flu… First of all ‘the flu’ is a respiratory disease (affects the lungs, not the stomach and intestines), and the influenza viruses don’t cause that syndrome of vomiting and watery diarrhea. So, what you’re actually getting is gastroenteritis (gastro = stomach, entero = intestines, and itis = inflammation), an inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the stomach and small and large intestines. Most cases of gastroenteritis are infections caused by a variety of viruses that results in vomiting or diarrhea (other symptoms may include belly cramping, fever and headache from all that retching). There are other (bacterial) causes of vomiting and diarrhea, but the overwhelming number of cases is due to viruses. Your physician will know when the other considerations come into play. Here’s a few points you really want to know.

1. Is it serious?

  • In most cases of viral gastroenteritis, the symptoms and condition are rate limited and will come and go without much further ado. Your symptoms will last up to 10 days in most cases.
  • The concern isn’t nearly as much with the vomiting and diarrhea as it is with the dehydration that can result from all those fluid losses. Dehydration can cause all manner of electrolyte abnormalities, leading to serious acute illness and even death. In fact, diarrhea and dehydration have long been the number one cause of death worldwide outside of the United States.

2. Is it contagious?

  • Absolutely. This is one of the main reasons you’re always being told to wash your hands, especially after using the bathroom. Fecal-oral (yes, anus to mouth) transmission of viruses makes gastroenteritis and many other illnesses contagious. Hand shaking and other forms of contact (including eating food poorly handled or undercooked) extend the risk of transmission.

diarrheaemergency

3. How can I avoid gastroenteritis?

There are good options available to you.

  • Avoid food and water that you believe to be contaminated, perhaps because others have had problems with it.
  • Frequent hand washing is very important.
  • Similarly, take steps to wash and disinfect possibly contaminated clothing and surfaces, preventing this before it gets started.
  • A vaccine is available for two of the more common causes of gastroenteritis. Discuss whether it’s appropriate for your child with his/her pediatrician (it needs to be given during your child’s first year of life).

4. How will it be treated?

  • Fluids, fluids and more fluids will be given, and unless you can’t keep anything down at all, the fluids should be given by mouth. It’s interesting to note that the U.S. overuses intravenous (IV) fluids much more in these instances than the rest of the world. Learn about oral rehydration therapy (ORT). It’s how the rest of the world (very successfully) treats most cases of vomiting and diarrhea, and it’s roughly approximated by all those popular rehydration brands. The key is to take in enough fluids to stay ahead of the fluid losses. ORT is available over the counter, and remember that you don’t have to guzzle it. As little as a teaspoon at a time still can keep you hydrated.

It’s important to discuss some other treatment considerations.

  • Antibiotics don’t work against these viruses, so in this example, they won’t be helpful.
  • In select instances, your physician may provide symptomatic treatment for vomiting and diarrhea, but in the absence of this, they should be avoided. There are significant consequences to taking these medications, and a physician should be involved in taking that risk.

In summary, you don’t always have to run to the ER when you get the runs. Stay hydrated, my friends.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

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Filed under Gastrointestinal, Health Prevention, Infectious Disease

Straight, No Chaser: Toxin and Detoxification Series Summary

bigstock_Smiley_ball_sending_message_ab_25677302

I want to thank you for all the positive responses to the series of posts on toxins and detoxification. You have shared many personal stories and asked many great questions. I guess I’ll continue to accept your being shy (especially on these topics) about asking personal questions publicly, but keep contacting me here. To that end, I’ll summarize by sharing some of your thoughts and making a few final comments.

You can’t escape toxins, but you can pretty easily reduce your exposure to them. For the things you can control, “everything in moderation” is a pretty good rule of thumb for most, except for cigarette smoke into your lungs. That just needs to stop.

Your body does a great job of detoxification through the lungs, kidneys, liver, intestines and skin. This process is retarded by age and the effects of toxins on these systems.

There are a lot of fad diets and questionable methods of detoxifying. Most have risks that should make you cautious. None are more effective than tuning your body to do its best work. Furthermore, these methods are invariably more effective in the short-term than the long-term.

Now, to some of your questions.

1. So are you saying bowel movements are good enough to detox the intestines?

Until and unless your bad habits catch up with you, yes. Consider the ways the large intestines (the colon) handle toxins.

  • If healthy, the colon sheds old cells about every three days, preventing a buildup of harmful material. It regenerates new healthy cells in their place. It’s lining includes mucus membranes that can keep toxic substances from reentering the blood and tissues.
  • You have “natural” bacteria that reside in the colon. They actually detoxify food wastes for you. (One of the potential issues of colon cleansing is the removal of these bacteria.)
  • The liver’s main function is to neutralize toxins.
  • Your bowel movements remove waste and toxins from you. Although the number of bowel movements vary between individuals, your body (if healthy) is able to regulate when you defecate based on your needs.
  • Increasing the number of bowel movements doesn’t improve weight loss. That’s because the body absorbs most calories before they reach the large intestine.

Nothing in a colonic or juice fast will match this level of effectiveness. Spend your efforts keeping your body healthy. Increase your fiber, water, fruit and vegetable intake. Lower or eliminate the intake of red meat, cigarettes and alcohol. There’s your detox program all day long.

2. So what’s the verdict on the detox diets and colon cleansing?

Consult with your physician. I’d imagine that using the diets as a starting point for lifestyle changes would be endorsed. I’d doubt that any fad diet would be endorsed.

3. You said tap water is no longer good? Should I exclusively drink bottled water?

Actually filtered water is even better.

4. Are you suggesting I stop wearing makeup?

You’re beautiful just the way you are.

5. Have you ever had a colonic?

Yes, and it made me feel dirty. (Was that serious, or a joke?)

6. I’d never do that.

Actually, you will. (Well, almost.) Many men over 50 will have a colonoscopy to evaluate for the possibility of colon cancer at some point. If and when you get that, you’ll get your colon cleanse solution one to two days before the procedure and maybe an enema in addition. At least you’ll be under the care of a physician, and you’ll get a sedative first!

Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

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