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Ageless-Part 2

Healthy bodies lead to healthy aging. Feeling “Ageless” is a primary goal for most of us who are, day by day, year by year full filling our natural biological process of aging. My goal is to provide basic, practical insights into what we can do individually to offset that inevitable process of Aging.

Key 2: Cleaning up the Elimination Systems:

Let’s start with a very simple anatomy lesson. The 2 primary filters for a healthy body are the liver and the intestinal track.  A very simple way to look at the function of these two organs is to understand that the liver’s primary functions is to  filter the blood of ingested, inhaled, and manufactured toxins. Toxins eliminated from the liver are carried to the intestinal track for final discharge in the stool.  

What is Elimination?

The intestinal track filters for nutrients and water from the foods you eat, along with creating and moving those nutrients into the blood stream. The toxic waste from the liver function is attached to a fat or fiber in the intestinal track and discharged in the stool.

Our intestinal track is in a constant state of movement.  The technical term is “peristalsis”, this peristalsis is triggered by eating and drinking.  It makes sense that what goes in must come out on the other end, right? Why is this important you ask?

Think about how many times per day an infant has a bowel movement. A breast fed baby is eating approximately every 2 hours.  This healthy infant passes a stool 6-12 times per day.  Now, as adults we are not generally eating a pre-digested, easily assimilated meal every 2 hours and so it is fair that we would not and should not have a bowel movement 6 times per day.  The system doesn’t change when we get older we simply add more complexity do to the volume and variety of foods that we eat.  A healthy system should trigger a bowel movement within 20 minutes following a main meal.  If you eat 3 times per day that means you should be headed to the bathroom to eliminate the stool which is spent. 

How many of us actually have a bowel movement 3 times per day?  When I ask folks about their bowel habits they tell me they are not constipated because they go to the bathroom one time per day or one time every other day.  Based on the information that we have now-that actually qualifies as constipation.

The most common causes of liver and colon dysfunction are:

  • Poor diet           
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Environmental toxins
  • Hormonal changes
  • Overworked under supported elimination systems
  • Medication use both prescription and over the counter
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of exercise

The elements that contribute to poor elimination can individually impact or a combination of issues can be the cause. Eating poorly and excess alcohol consumption directly impact hydration, cellular regeneration, and elimination.  Everything our body comes into contact daily is filtered through the liver and colon, excess toxins due to poor eating habits, medication, and environmental toxins, will impact our hydration, filtering through the liver and elimination via the intestines.  There is certainly a lot of physiology I could share, knowing it may help make it easier to be more conscientious but suffice it to say practicing good dietary habits is really what makes the difference. Remember: a healthy body means healthy aging!

If either of these two systems is out of order, sluggish, or over taxed we are going to experience the symptoms of systemic toxicity.  How do I know if I am experiencing toxicity you ask?

Here are a few of the most common symptoms.

  • Fatigue and physical sluggishness
  • Brain fog
  • Poor sleep
  • Water retention and bloating
  • Bad breath in the morning and bleeding gums
  • Joint pain and body aches
  • Inability to concentrate or issues around memory
  • Skin changes such fine wrinkles and crepe texture

 What Can You Do?

  • Water:  Drinking ½ your body weight in good clean water will:
  • Flushing your system of toxins efficiently
  • Maintain your skin hydrated, reducing fine lines and puffy eyes.
  • Hydration keeps your bowels moving more efficiently allowing for less re-absorption of eliminated toxins
  • Addressing constipation by eating more whole foods and fiber.

Why Fiber you ask? It is the most common missing ingredient in the average American diet and is a critical factor for maintaining a healthy system.  Most toxins including excess hormones, and other environmental toxins need a fiber to attach to in order to be eliminated.  When your body gets enough of the right kinds of fiber and hydration, toxins are eliminated more efficiently.

Here are the top benefits of fiber

  • Insolvable fiber keeps the intestinal track scoured,
  • Both insolvable and soluble fiber supports healthy flora balance.
  • Soluble fiber provides the medium for toxins and normal elimination waste to attach to (especially by products of medication and excess estrogen)
  • Fibers provide the necessary ingredients for the conversion of Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) which in turn support nutrient absorption. 
  • Fiber slows digestion and lowers blood sugar.
  • Fiber is a necessary part of healthy weight management.

To summarize what we have talked about in the past two parts of this article:

Healthy bodies lead to healthy aging.  Cleaning up the elimination system by removing processed foods and simple carbs, reducing alcohol, managing the external toxins that you are exposed to is one half of the equation. The other half in to optimize the two primary filtering systems by increasing your water and fiber consumption and reducing your exposure to toxins that can over load the liver specifically.