What’s in your colon?
There’s a popular myth that actor John Wayne had nearly 40 lbs. of undigested steak in his colon when he died. While this is most certainly untrue, Fox News reported on a story in May 2010 about how Elvis Presley actually died from an “Embarrassing Case of Chronic Constipation.1” According to Elvis’ doctor, his autopsy “found stool in his colon which had been there four of five months because of the poor motility of the bowel.” Clearly, what “The King” himself experienced was not normal, as anyone can suffer from occasional constipation. While there is no real way to know what could have helped in his situation, medical treatment was certainly in order. But it’s still not a stretch to assume that digestion plays a huge role in overall health and wellbeing.
So why is digestion such an important aspect of overall good health? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human services, “digestion is important for breaking down food into nutrients, which the body uses for energy, growth and cell repair.2” And while digestion is often a “behind the scenes” process that most people don’t think about on a daily basis, even a small upset to the overall digestive process can be hard to ignore (just think of what happens when a gluten intolerant person ingests wheat).
Since breaking down food is so critical to the digestion process and overall health, the amount of undigested food that makes it to your colon can have an “uncomfortable” impact on your gut. Case in point, high-protein diets have been a mainstay for the last decade, but proteins, which are complex molecules, are difficult to digest, especially if you’re eating them in large quantities. And, undigested proteins can cause some pretty uncomfortable side effects like occasional gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea—just to name a few.
But how are foods, including the protein-rich variety, actually “broken down” and how can you improve digestion? The answer lies within the power of digestive enzymes and how their primary role is to break down food into useable components. Under normal circumstances, there are enough digestive enzymes to keep your digestive system humming. However, age, food intolerances (like lactose and gluten), and dietary choices such as increased protein intake, can all do a number on this critical process. Unfortunately, when your body isn’t breaking down food effectively, it can eventually end up in your large intestine or colon creating some potentially embarrassing digestive concerns—no one really wants to be constipated or have gas, even occasionally.
When your body doesn’t have the proper amount of digestive enzymes, supplementing can help. Although, they would not have helped Elvis’ “not so” glamorous last moments, supplemental enzymes can help avoid potentially embarrassing moments and discomfort when your body doesn’t have the proper amount of digestive enzymes to handle that big steak dinner. Products such as BioCore AminoTap®, which are specifically designed to break down proteins and release BCAAs can really be beneficial for high-protein dieters. Additionally, multi-enzyme blends such as BioCore® Optimum Complete can aid in digesting a wide array of foods, which include proteins, fats and starches. Digestive issues, although often a source of humor, can really be some pretty serious business. Remember, your body is breaking down food so it can support its most basic life processes, and keep everything running properly. What ends up in your colon, whether its unabsorbed nutrients, undigested proteins, or anything in between, is a key indicator of overall health. Digestive enzymes help the body keep and use more of what it needs for survival, while also helping the body effectively breakdown and get rid of what it doesn’t need—making for a happier, healthier body (and colon).
1. EXCLUSIVE: Elvis Presley’s Doctor Claims He Died of an ‘Embarrassing’ Case of Chronic Constipation. http://www.foxnews.com
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information