A Magnificent Solution for Colon Health
By Nancy Webster
I don’t get as much reading done these days as I used to. Andeven though I love to read, I don’t mind the change in lifestyle. Magnesium Citrate has come between me and my reading. Along with Aloe Vera, it came into my life through a colon therapist a while back, when my innards were in crisis. Now I wish we’d known each other a long time ago. But if you’re still keeping a small library in your bathroom, maybe I can help you move on to better places for reading.
A History of Colon Abuse
My story goes back fifty years to Mama’s kitchen, where my digestive system was assaulted by regular courses of white flour cakes and cookies after lunch and supper. To help the inevitable problem that resulted, Mama kept books beside the potty. It took so long for my tummy to do its things, I think I learned to read there.
In those early days, my only “supplement” was penicillin for chronic ear infections and later, long stretches of tetracycline for teenage skin. These, plus cookies and Fritos, continued to assure me of throne room study time. Then, laxatives and fiver supplements got me semi-comfortably through late night trips to Dunkin Donuts and vending machines during college.
Finally, in our early homeschooling days, the children and I began baking golden loaves of fresh-ground, whole wheat bread. That reduced my time in the reading room but we didn’t yet know about pre-soaking or fermenting grains for better digestibility. The benefits backfired after awhile, giving me gas and bloating.
A visit to a naturopath shifted me into my “raw phase.” Along with 50-pound bags of carrots for juicing, I bought organic coffee-but not to drink. Much to my coffee-loving husband’s dismay, I used it for enemas! But at last my mid-section stayed flat and comfy.
The naturopath taught me the importance of keeping my bowels clean. Removing stagnant waste material and hardened, impacted toxic residue rejuvenates the ummue tissues in the intestines so beneficial bacteria can take hold.
Love Thine Enemas
Enemas have been used as medicine for centuries but went out of bogue with the invention of easy-to-swallow laxatives. Now, alternative health providers are re-popularizing them as a treatment for headaches, backaches, fatigue, bad breath, body odor, irritability, confusion, skin problems, abdominal gas, bloating, diarrhea*, sciatic pain—oh, and constipation-all related to toxic build up in the colon.
If you don’t have a few easy moments in the bathroom at least once-and preferably two or three times-a day (after meals), your colon may benefit from a good washing. Enema kits are sold for $10 to $300 in drugstores and online, where you can find all sorts of “how to” information. Avoid the boxed, ready-to-go enemas, as they contain salts, which trigger elimination by irritating your bowels rather than stimulating their natural action.
A few months after starting regular enemas, I became pregnant with our eighth child. Since I had previously experienced the flashing colorful auras of migraines during early months of pregnancy, the naturopath suggested I do an enema at the onset of symptoms. He theorized that migraines are a sign of the body having trouble detoxing, and his idea worked for me-the symptoms stopped immediately!
Once the bowels have been cleansed with an enema using either coffee or simply warm water, periodically repopulate the bowel with good bacteria with a retention enea. Dissolve plain yogurt or about a teaspoon or two of probiotic supplement like Beeyoutiful’s Tummy Tune Up (open a couple of capsules) in warm water and hold the enema as long as posbbile to help the good bacteria settle in.
Enemas were a welcome relief to a lifelong problem for me. But because I used them as a crutch more than a tool, they started another problem that was just as bad: I became enema dependent. Too late, I learned an enema should be taken after the body has tone its thing on its own.
After years of daily enemas, they stopped working for me. I thought I was going to explode! In desparaion, I sought out a colon hydrotherapist** who told me to take magnesium, Aloe Vera, and probiotics. A few colonics and a week of supplements later, I was a new woman, on my way to better gut health. To rebuild the gut after overuse of enemas, easting well, oral probiotics like Beeyoutiful’s Tummy Tune Up, and digestive enzymes like those available from Beeyoutiful under the name Disgestive Enzyme and Yeast Assassin Lite are needed.
I knew Aloe Vera helped lubricate the intestines and that probiotics filled them with a good bacteria, but the importance of magnesium was new to me.
About half of the magnesium in our bodies is combined with calcium and phosphorus in our bones while the other half helps cell functioning in the body tissue and organs. A crucial mineral for overall health, magnesium plays a major role in muscle and nerve function, heart rhythm, blood pressure, immune system functioning, and maintenance of blood sugar level. Good sources of dietary magnesium include dark green leafy vegetables, some legumes, nuts and seeds, whole unrefined grains, and-get this-dark chocolate, especially raw chocolate.
A deficiency in magnesium is hard to detect from a blood sample, because only one percent of our body’s magnesium supply is found in blood. However, a deficiency is likely in most of us due to depleted, processed foods and chronic stress of modern life.
When stressed, the body puts stress hormones, including magnesium and calcium team, into the bloodstream. Calcium excites nerves while magnesium calms them. Calcium makes muscles contract but magnesium is needed for muscles to relax. Calcium helps wounds clot but magnesium keeps blood flowing freely enough to prevent dangerious clots. It’s a blancing act between the two that can get of kilter easily.
Todays’ diets are low in magnesium and , what’s worse is that unhealthy guts cannot absorb it well. Plus, to prevent osteoporosis, extra calcium is added to many supplements and foods. Yet we can’t even absorb calcium properly without a balanced portion of magnesium.
So, most of us are getting inadequate magnesium plus too much calcium. This imbalance has been linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and ultimately, to heart disease.
A variety of other problems also, have been linked to magnesium deficiency: emotional stress, phobic anxiety, depression, panic attacks, irritability, hyperactivity, and over-sensitivity to loud noises. As we age, we get bone spurs and bunions (calcium deposits-which magnesium helps dissolve), insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrome, and …. Constipation. Maybe the reason isn’t just that we’re “getting older,” but that we need more magnesium!
Magnesium deficiency was my problem. Within a few days of starting the supplement, I had immediate relief from wakeful nights I had thought were from my changing hormones. I also was free from the jumpy legs that wouldn’t let me relax and from irrational panic that hit me when driving over bridges.
Best of all, I finally “work”-easily and completely! No reading material or (regular) enema kits required! Magnesium relaxes muscles in the intestines, establishing a smoother rhythm of peristalsis (waves of muscle action which move the stool out of the body). It also attracts water to the colon to help soften stools.
The recommended usage per day is about 300 mg/day for women over 20 (roughly the same if lactating) and about 350mg/day if pregnant. Males 19-30 should take 400mg/day, increasing to 420mg/day after age 30.
In cases of depletion like mine, it may be necessary to take extra until things get stabilized. Your bowels will let you know what’s right. You don’t want diarrhea, which will result if you take too much. And be sure to drink a full glass of water when you take a magnesium supplement.
Bear in mind, though, that just because the label reads Magnesium on the drugstore brand, I have not found anything but magnesium oxide at chain drugstores, and that form is not especially bioavailable and will irritate your bowels. All oral magnesium supplements must be combined with another substance for expedient delivery, and Beeyoutiful’s Magnesium Citrate offers an excellent delivery system.
Magnesium supplements work best, of course, in the context of better eating. The bone broths, healthy fats, cod liver oil, and lacto-fermented, probiotic rich foods explained in the info-cookbook Nourishing Traditions should accompany your gut healing program.*
Try some occasional cleansings from enemas plus regular Magnesium Citrate supplementation and those of you who have suffered as I used to do might begin doing more of your reading on the front porch, in bed, or on the beach!
Important: Magnesium is excreted through the kidneys. If your kidneys do not function normally, as your doctor before supplementing with magnesium.
Although diarrhea may seem like the opposite of constipation, it can be caused by a blockage, around which still-liquid feces leak uncontrollably. This condition is called encopresis. We took one of our children to a pediatric gastroenterologist repeatedly to treat this condition, but ultimately went away thanks to regular enemas allowing the colon to regain its natural tone and start working on its own.
*For serious bowel problems, a colon hydroptherapist administers colonics using 40 to 80 quarts of water—compared to only two quarts for a typical home enema. This high volume is administered in a sequence that should be done only by a trained professional.
**Notice I’m not advocating increased fiber intake. In Fiber Menace, Konstantin Monastyrsky details how high-fiber diets produce large stools which stretch the intestinal tract beyond its normal range-eventually resulting in intestinal damage-and a drastic upset of the natural bacterial flora of the gut. You can read more about this politically incorrect approach to digestive health at www.gutsense.org.
Nancy Webster is a freelance writer and homeschool mother of eight. She now does most of her nutritional and health research online in the family room instead of the bathroom library.