By BERNARD JENSEN D.C., Nutritionist




This is a subject that everyone talks about, usually experiences, and spends a good deal of money trying to overcome or avoid. Last year, laxative sales were conservatively placed at $350 million. Now that’s a lot of constipation! What’s going on here? Over 70 million Americans suffer from bowel problems. The number 2 cause of death in the United States is cancer. Of these, 100,000 give up their lives every year due to cancer of the colon. Here is a quote from the American Cancer Society, “Evidence in recent years suggests that most bowel cancer is caused by environmental agents. Some scientists believe that a diet high in beef and/or low in fiber is the cause.” Colon problems such as colitis, ileitis and diverticulitis affect a conservative number of two million people. The medical profession reports that “Despite decades of research in these diseases, their cause and cure for the most part is still unknown.” Colostomy is a surgical procedure whereby the intestine is severed from the colon due to that organ’s functional breakdown. The colostomized individual is then faced with the lifetime elimination of feces through an opening in their side into an attached pouch. There are 100,000 people who undergo this radical approach each year. Needless to say, bowel difficulties such as autointoxication and constipation are a growing concern to almost everyone. Out of these two conditions, which are actually symptoms of an-other problem, come a plethora of evils that are ruinous in their consequences. Constipation is a clogging up of the large intestine. It occurs in several ways. One of these is by a natural building up of the irritated mucus membrane and bowel wall to such an extent that feces can hardly pass through. One autopsy revealed a colon to be 9 inches in diameter with a passage through it no larger than a pencil! The rest was caked up layer upon layer of encrusted fecal material. This accumulation can have the consistency of truck tire rubber. It’s that hard and black. Another autopsy revealed a stagnant colon to weigh in at an incredible 40 pounds! Imag-ine carrying around all that morbid accumulated waste. When the bowel is that dirty, it can harbor an amazing variety of very harmful bacteria and parasites. It’s interesting to note that worms outrank cancer as man’s deadliest enemy on a world-wide basis! It is estimated that 200 million people are infected by these intestinal para-sites. These worms range in size from microscopic single-celled animals to 20-ft-long tapeworms! These parasites kill more people annually than does cancer. One in four peple in the world today is infected by roundworms. The U.S. is not immune to these parasites, as the number of cases has increased in the past few years. The need for bowel sanitation and cleanliness has been sadly neglected for some time now. Bowel movements every two to three days are considered normal and acceptable. We of the wholistic, nature-cure professions, know better. Our experiences prove beyond a doubt that poor bowel condition is the source for many, many disorders in the body. Recently medical re-searchers in African countries have had a first-hand opportunity to verify these beliefs..22 Both British and South African medical scientists strongly insist that what is usually re-ferred to as “regularity” may be a matter of life and death. Insufficient numbers of bowel movements and too little fiber and bulk in the feces may often explain the existence of gall bladder disorders, heart problems, varicose veins, appendicitis, clotting in deep veins, hiatal hernia, diverticulosis, arthritis and cancer of the colon. This complete turn-around in medical orientation comes from top-notch surgeons and biochemists. In less than a century, there has occurred an incredible increase in certain diseases which these researchers have attempted to explain by comparing Africans living under tribal conditions and people living under the conditions of Western countries. Their research indicates that the increase in disease rates in Westerners were caused by changes occurring in the food makeup that reaches the large bowel. In former times, ingested food was much coarser, contained more bulk and indigestible fiber. The processing of foods today makes them mushy, soft, fiberless and bulkless. These researchers claim that this situation is having a detrimental effect upon the American and British health. In England, Africa and India experiments were conducted to compare eating habits, foods and bowel waste products. These studies indicated that people living under primi-tive conditions on diets high in indigestible fiber passed from 2-1/2 to 4-1/2 times as much feces as those in the Western countries, and these people were found to be relatively free of most of the diseases studied. Those studies concluded that diverticulosis appears to be directly related to a high carbo-hydrate diet such as one containing white flour and sugar. The long retention of feces is also claimed to be a source of heart disorders, as the removal of fiber from the diet raises serum cholesterol levels and predisposes the body to coronary disease. The accusation is made that the removal of fiber from the diet is also responsible for tumors and cancer due to biochemical changes associated with poor bowel elimination. Constipation is often referred to by those who have studied the situation as the “modern plague.” Indeed, it is the greatest present-day danger to health. Intestinal toxemia and the result-ing autointoxication is a direct result of intestinal constipation. Constipation contributes toward the lowering of body resistance, predisposing it to many acute illnesses and the creation of a great many degenerative and chronic processes. It cripples and kills more people in our country than most any other single morbid condition having to do with deficient function of life. For a lack of the colon to attend to its normal, regular and efficient function almost every human ailment has been attributed. What disturbs proper intestinal function? It involves a major factor in life-abnormal nutri-tion. Nutrition is of paramount importance to the general welfare of the body. Unless the individual educates himself in the art of conscious living, acquires rational habits and lives up to them consistently, nothing but physical and mental catastrophies can be the re-sult. Intestinal constipation causes cellular constipation. It also increases the workload of the other excretory organs-kidney, skin, liver, lungs and lymph. The functioning of these organs becomes depleted and overworked. The cellular me-tabolism becomes sluggish, repair and growth are delayed and the ability to eliminate waste.23 materials is lowered. The cells, instead of being alive and active, become dead and inactive. This process results in a decline in tissue and organ functional ability. Dr. Alexis Carrell, at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, took small pieces of heart tissue from a chicken embyro to produce one of the most remarkable experiments in medi-cal history. He attempted to demonstrate that under suitable conditions, the living cell could live a very long time, perhaps indefinitely. The heart tissue was immersed in a nutrient solution from which it obtained its food. Like-wise, waste material was secreted into this same solution. Everyday the solution was changed, taking away waste substances and providing fresh nutrients. It is amazing to report that this chicken heart tissue lived for 29 years in this fashion. It died one day when the assistant forgot to change the metabolized polluted fluid! In other words, autointoxication claimed this great mas-terpiece of experimental scientific investigation. Said Carrell of this experience, “The cell is immortal. It is merely the fluid in which it floats which degenerates. Renew this fluid at intervals, give the cell something upon which to feed and, so far as we know, the pulsation of life may go on forever.” The primary causes of constipation can be summarized as follows: faulty nutrition, ignoring the call to eliminate, lack of physical activity, emotional and mental distress, extrinsic poisons and medications and lack of adequate amounts of water. Faulty nutrition, as we have already seen, is a major underlying factor in constipation. Pro-cessed, devitalized foods low in fiber or bulk are not suitable substances to promote health and well-being. Ignoring the call to eliminate feces or urine contribute greatly to cellular congestion, autointoxication and eliminative organ distress. The lack of physical exercise makes weak and flaccid muscle tone incapable of holding up under the demands of poor diets and extra eliminative duty. Emotional and mental strain and tension produce unfavorable conditions in the digestive and eliminative organs, causing them to become tense and underactive. These also cause chemical imbalances and abnormal secre-tions to occur, generally upsetting the whole organism. Extrinsic poisons, such as tobacco, coffee, alcohol, chocolate and sugar, have unfavorable effects upon digestion and elimination by upsetting gastric secretions and nerve responses. Medications have a very upsetting effect upon these life-giving functions. They cause many, afflictions in the bowel. Antibiotics, such as penicillin and sulfa, can completely eliminate the favorable intestinal flora, leaving the opportunity for reinfestation by harmful bacteria and virus. Laxatives are irritating to the bowel and are dangerous if used frequently. Most people do not drink enough water; they are chronically dehydrated. This causes all body tissues and fluids to become thicker and more viscid. The mucous lining in the colon changes in consistency, failing to provide a slick lubrication for the movement of feces. Poor living habits contribute a great deal to poor bowel function. Not following a good program denies the body regularity and consistency. It never knows what’s coming next and can’t depend upon a regular routine. It is always on the defensive. This situation results in a depletion of vital nerve force and undermines the body’s ability to set periods of rest and activity. Today, there are more than 45,000 laxative and cathartic remedies being manufactured and used by Americans alone. Even when used sparingly and in an emergency, these sub-.24 stances should be used with great caution, if at all. The mechanism of elimination is very delicate and easily upset. Once disturbed, it will often require weeks, maybe months, before it becomes regular again. These substances, in order to evacuate the colon, are essentially poisons and irritants. They contribute nothing to restore normal or natural processes of defecation. The poisoned colon tries to evacuate the offending substance as quickly as possible, and pushes everything out including the compacted feces. Oftentimes, these harsh poisonous substances are absorbed through the lymph and blood vessels and find their way to all parts of the body. This situation contributes to addiction and overuse of these substances. Dependency upon laxative compounds will in time, permanently destroy the normal ability of the bowel to eliminate naturally on its own accord. Laxatives tire out the bowel muscle by keeping it constantly working. Without rest, it will soon fail and produce some of the conditions I will discuss in the next chapter. The only stimulation that the body should have is through exercise. Any time we artificially stimulate the bowel, there is an opposite effect ^at manifests in which there is a lack of tone in the muscle producing a weakness in that muscle structure. It is becoming increasingly clear that bowel troubles have a reflex effect upon specific or-gans in the body. For example, Sir Arbuthnot Lane, who was a surgeon for the King of England, spent many years specializing in bowel problems. He was an expert at removing sections of the bowel and stitching it back together. He taught this work to other doctors and gained an interna-tional reputation for his efficiency. During the years of this work, he began to notice a peculiar phenomenon. During the course of recovery from colonic surgery, some of his patients experi-enced remarkable cures of diseases that had no apparent connection with his surgery. For in-stance, a young boy who had arthritis for many years was in a wheel chair at the time of surgery. Six months later, this boy had recovered entirely from the disease. Another case involved a woman with a goiter. When a specific section of the bowel was removed in surgery, there en-sued a definite remission of the goiter within six months. These and similar experiences impressed him so much because he saw the relationship between the toxic bowel and the functioning of various organs in the body. After much thought about this relationship, he became very interested in changing the bowel through dietetic meth-ods and spent the last 25 years of his life teaching people how to care for the bowel through nutrition and not surgery. Sir Lane has said, “All maladies are due to the tack of certain food principles, such as mineral salts or vitamins, or to the absence of the normal defenses of the body. such as the natural protective flora. When this occurs, toxic bacteria invade the lower alimentary canal, and the poisons thus generated pollute the bloodstream and gradually deteriorate and de-stroy every tissue, gland and organ of the body.” I am absolutely sure that what Dr. Lane discovered through his surgical explorations is in-deed an accurate description of how the bowel functions in relation to the other organs in the body. We know that every organ and tissue is dependent upon the healthy well-being of every other organ and tissue in order for there to be a total well-being. When one tissue or organ fails, it affects the whole body. If there is faulty functioning in the bowel, this deficiency is passed along to the rest of the body. We could call this the intestinal domino effect..25 The frequency or quantity of fecal elimination is not an indication of the lack of constipation in the bowel. I know of cases that had three and four movements a day and yet the bowel was quite encrusted and very constipated. Most people don’t know the condition of their bowel. Un-fortunately those who are not aware of their bowel function or condition are sometimes the ones who are developing the worst cases of bowel troubles. I find that constipation is usually going along with those bowels that have diverticulosis. Very few people eat in an organized way, and for this reason, they have loose bowels one day, stiff bowels the next day, a smelly bowel one day, and so on. When regularity is absent in the diet, there is chaos in the bowel. In most cases, simply changing the diet and eating habits will allevi-ate many bowel problems without surgery.


I am convinced that the bowel holds onto waste materials longer than anyone realizes. When we clean out the bowel and release all this old, rotting material, there will be a lessening of the gas, pain and autointoxication taking place. I believe that this toxic material decaying away in the sigmoid colon is a good place for degenerative diseases to get started. Starches that haven’t been digested properly by the pancreatic secretions are not readily taken up by the body and made into good tissue. These, in turn, can come back to the colon and keep the body from having the proper colonic tone because of a lack of proper chemical devel-opment. In addition, drugs can settle in the tissues of the body and it is the colon that catches a good deal of these. By way of the mucus membrane, the colon is used as an eliminative channel. When the membrane does not function properly, these drug deposits accumulate in the bowel indefinitely and can produce a time-bomb effect; irritations, inflammations and ulcerations. Here again, food is very, very important to recognize because this is the one thing that brings back a chemical reserve and gives the power and chemical structure to have good healthy tissue. The dietary program that I have developed is probably one of the most important things I can give to you. It has proven itself well in 30 years of sanitarium experience and has helped many people to regain their health. It takes care of the bulk, it takes care of the fiber, it takes care of the natural mucus membrane through proper chemical replacements. This program, coupled with an exercise routine, will produce very good results for those afflicted with bowel disturbances.


We have to stop and think that when we eat there is peristaltic action in the bowel which moves the food down to the last part of our elimination system, the large colon. Whenever we have three meals a day and a bowel movement once in five days, we’re fifteen meals behind. Normally it takes eighteen hours for food to go through the body and be eliminated. What is required to move it along on time? Good bowel tone gives the power to the intestinal tract to move waste materials properly through the system. If we don’t have good bowel tone, we have to have an inciting measure, and one way of doing this is by using laxatives. But we find that 95% of all laxatives are irritating to the bowel, and this is what forces the peristaltic action. It is caused by irritation. Wouldn’t it be better to have a bowel that could move along because you have the right power and bowel tone? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a bowel wall that has all the potassium and all the right chemical elements to work normally?.26 We find there are other factors involved here, such as the liver activity. We have to have enough bile coming from the gall bladder and the liver to give the bowel its natural incentive to produce bowel movements. The bowel is dependent upon other organs too. There is also the thyroid gland which is important to the body’s metabolism. The thyroid regulates a number of organ functions and keeps them normal by releasing thyroxm into the body. The adrenal glands may be underactive. A person can feel so tired and fatigued that he won’t exercise. You have to feel lively to move and get going. An underactive thyroid can bring on low blood pressure and anemia can keep us from a healthy level of physical activity. If the blood is anemic, the body tissue is anemic and cannot do its job. We are tired “all over,” so to speak.


Above all, we now have to make amends for some of the things that happened in the past. I think accumulations in the bowel have to be looked after. The bowel is underactive. It hasn’t been fed properly. The bowel itself is probably the most abused organ in the human body. The reason I say this is if you ever go through a cleansing program, you will see things you’ll find hard to believe. You don’t realize what can come out of the bowel. After just one cleansing treatment, I’ve seen as much as three gallons of hard toxic material come from a person. How is it pos-sible? I know, for instance, of one woman who said she had five bowel movements a day; but after she passed away, it was found that there was only room enough for a pencil to pass through parts of her bowel. Her bowel was 9 inches across. We found that it had an extreme accumula-tion of hard toxic material encrusted on the bowel lining. Constipation is a serious menace to health and vitality as I have discussed with you. The consequences of this common but subtle malady are becoming more and more prevalent in our society. It is a root cause for many troubles in the body. It is also a symptom of a larger picture that many doctors haven’t taken into consideration as yet. The following illustrations show how food moves through the gastrointestinal tract in a 24- hour period and what happens when the bowel doesn’t eliminate on time: