INTRODUCTION.

Colon health is often overlooked when dealing with overall body health. A lot of people are more concerned with health issues that show symptoms visible to the eyes or one that directly affects day to day activities. Skin health issues is a good example of such problems. Health problems that have to do with internal organs rarely get any attention until there are visible symptoms.

The colon is a very important organ in the body and it’s a member of the digestive system. It deals with food substances daily which makes it easily susceptible to developing certain health issues. Vitamin D is one of the core supplements to care for when looking to care for the colon.

UNDERSTANDING COLON HEALTH

There’s a need to understand the importance, functions, and how to take proper care of the colon.

The Colon

The colon is also known as the Large intestine. It is an important part of the digestive system because of its key role in the digestion process.

Digestion Process

Digestion of food substance starts in the mouth when you chew. Two important digestive enzymes; amylase and lipase begin the process of breaking down carbohydrate and lipid substrates respectively. When chewed food is swallowed, it moves down into the esophagus (a linking tube between the mouth and the stomach).

The substrates are further broken down and formed into boluses before moving down into the stomach. The stomach contains gastric juices and other digestive enzymes that act upon the boluses as it’s being grinded into tiny bits (oftentimes, in form of liquid). The grinded contents then proceed into the small intestine where more juices from the pancreas and the gall bladder further breaks it down.

Nutrients are then absorbed into the blood vessels through the microvilli on the small intestine. Leftovers that were not absorbed moves into the colon are acted upon by good bacteria. The colon absorbs the water and passes the waste contents into the rectum.

Parts Of The Colon

The colon is mainly divided into five parts:

  • The cecum: This is the first part of the colon and it connects the entire colon with the ileum; the last part of the small intestine.

  • The ascending colon: This is the second part of the colon and it goes up the right side of the abdomen.

  • The transverse colon: This is the third part of the colon and it travels across the abdomen.

  • The descending colon: This is the fourth part of the colon and it goes down the left side of the abdomen.

  • The sigmoid colon: This is the last part of the colon and it has a short curved shape. It’s position just above the rectum.

Functions Of The Colon

The colon performs a number of important functions in the digestion process and the entire body system. Its two main functions include:

  1. Waste content filtration: Leftovers passed down from the small intestine still contain water, salts, and other nutrients that the body requires. What the colon do, is act as a filter to separate the unwanted contents from the nutrients. After separation, it absorbs the water and nutrients, then transfers the waste into the rectum where it will be passed out as stool from the body.

  2. Increased bacteria action: There are billions of bacteria present in the colon. These bacteria act upon the nutrients in the colon and are absorbed into the bloodstream. The bacteria are instrumental in balancing certain hormones in the body and better health generally.

Why Should You Take Care of The Colon?

Taking care of the colon is very important. When it is not cared for, it can develop certain conditions. These conditions can be mild or life-threatening. Below are possible conditions the colon can develop:

  • Colitis: This is a condition where there’s inflammation on the linings of the colon. It’s mostly caused by inflammatory bowel disease or other bacterial infections.

  • Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis: Diverticulosis is a condition where diverticula are present in the colon. Diverticula are formed when tiny pouches bulge out from weak muscular wall linings of the colon. Diverticulosis is not a severe condition but can cause bleeding.

Diverticulitis is a more severe form of diverticulosis. It is developed when the diverticula get infected or inflamed. It often causes abdominal pain, constipation, etc.

  • Ulcerative colitis: It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that mainly affects the colon and rectum. It’s developed as a result of inflammation in the linings of the colon. It causes bloody diarrhea.

  • Crohn’s disease: This is also a type of inflammatory bowel disease. Unlike ulcerative colitis, it affects the colon and other parts of the digestive tract. It causes abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.

  • Salmonellosis: This happens when the bacteria, Salmonella, contaminate food. This in turn infects the colon and causes diarrhea and stomach pain.

  • Colon cancer: It is also known as colorectal cancer.

  • Other conditions include colon polyps, Shigellosis, acute diarrhea, etc.

How to Detect Colon Health Issues

There are various tests a doctor can perform to examine the state of the colon. The most common ones include:

  • Colonoscopy: In this test, an endoscope will be inserted into the anus and taken down the colon. An endoscope is a long thin tube, with a micro camera attached. When fully inserted into the colon, the camera will show the entire colon and the doctor will be able to detect any form of irregularities.

  • Colon biopsy: For the colon biopsy test, a small part of the colon tissue is extracted. This tissue is then further examined to test for cancer, inflammation, and the likes.

  • Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT): This test helps spot blood in the stool, that’s not visible to the eyes. The diagnosis helps suggest if there are damaged tissues in the colon.

  • Sigmoidoscopy: Just like the colonoscopy, an endoscope is also inserted into the rectum in this test but it is only used mainly for the sigmoid colon.

  • Other tests that can still be performed for further testing are virtual colonoscopy, stool DNA test, and stool occult blood testing.

Ways to Take Care of the Colon

There is Non-surgical treatment for the colon. These involve simple home remedies, lifestyle changes, a healthy diet, and over the counter medicines. Some of them include:

  • Drink Water: The body needs a lot of water to stay hydrated, so does the colon. The water helps the colon separate waste contents properly.

  • Eat Fibre-Rich Foods: A good fiber diet and lots of vegetables help the colon to stay healthy.

  • Avoid Red meats: Red meats and processed meats can cause colon cancer if consumed too much.

  • Eat Calcium and Vitamin D rich foods: Vitamin D and Calcium strengthens the colon.

  • Take Probiotics: Probiotics will increase the bacterial action in the colon. You shy consider, taking a regular dose.

  • Use Enema: Enemas are used to rush liquids into the colon through the anus to each constipation and inflammation in the colon.

Surgical treatments are often recommended when colon health has deteriorated and might develop life-threatening complications.

Such treatments that can be recommended include:

  • Polypectomy

  • Colon surgery

  • Colonoscopy

VITAMIN D FOR COLON HEALTH

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It plays a key role in protecting the body against diseases. When there’s inadequate Vitamin D in the body, it can cause a breakdown in the immune and nervous system. It can be naturally gotten in foods and other supplements.

Vitamin D Rich Foods

Vitamin D can be gotten from whole foods or fortified foods. There are a few whole foods with Vitamin D that’s why there’s a need for the formulation of fortified foods. Fortified foods are made from nutrients that are mostly not naturally occurring. Some of the ingredients in fortified foods are vitamin D, iron, fiber, zinc, calcium, vitamin A, etc. Some of the top foods rich in Vitamin D are:

  • Fishes like Salmon, Herring, Mackerel, Tuna, Tilapia, etc.

  • Dairy products like egg yolk, yogurt, cheese, milk, etc.

  • Supplements like Cod liver oil, probiotics, etc.

  • Plants like mushrooms, spinach, etc.

  • Cow beef and liver.

  • Other Fortified foods like cereals, soy milk, oatmeal, orange juice, etc.

Benefits of Vitamin D Rich Foods
  1. Bone growth and development: Vitamin D aids the proper growth of bones and teeth in the body.

  2. Resistance to diseases: Vitamin D fights against infections and foreign bodies that can cause harm in the body.

  3. Nutrients regulation: It helps in how certain nutrients like calcium and phosphorus are absorbed into the body.

  4. Better immune and nervous system: Vitamin D helps the immune and nervous system to function properly. Lack of it can cause a breakdown in those systems.

  5. Colon health: it also improves the health of the colon.

Why You Need Vitamin D for Your Colon

Research has shown that Vitamin D reduces the risk of developing Colon cancer. It also aids bowel movement in the colon and reduces constipation. Vitamin D allows the colon to reabsorb water and other nutrients easily as a difficult absorption process can result in complications.

Finally, vitamin D boosts the immune of the colon and allows it to fight against all forms of infections.

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