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Function of the Intestines
Formation of Mucoid Plaque
Removing Mucoid Plaque
Limit Mucus Producing Foods
Smaller Portions, Eat When Hungry, Proper Chewing and Food Combining
Expectorants and Demulcents - Mucilage-containing Herbs
Psyllium & Bentonite Shakes
Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.)
Herbs to Stimulate Peristaltic Action - Expectorants and Demulcents
Enzymes and Juice Fasts
Sufficient Blood Circulation to the Digestive Tract
Colonic Irrigation/Hydrotherapy and Enemas
Irritable Bowel Disease and Mucoid Plaque
Function of the Intestines:
After food leaves the stomach, it passes through 6.5m (22ft) of small intestine, followed by 1.5m (5ft) of large intestine.
The latter part of the large intestine is also known as the colon or bowel. Together the small and large intestines are collectively known as the intestines. The large intestine is separated from the small intestine by a valve which periodically allows matter through (similar to the valve between the stomach and the small intestine). The large intestine consists of five basic parts, the ascending colon, the transverse colon, the descending colon (the colon is basically a large inverted U shape), the sigmoid colon, and the rectum. The anus is merely the aperture at the end of the rectum.
The small intestine is 3-4cm in diameter (1.25-1.5") and the large intestine is 5.5cm in diameter (2.5"). The walls of the intestines are not flat but are made up of individual villi, which in turn are covered with tiny microvilli. This helps to increase the surface area for absorption.
About 80% of all nutrient absorption from food takes place in the small intestine. Only 20% takes place in the stomach and large intestine. The main function of the small intestine is digestion and absorption of nutrients. The main function of the large intestine (colon) is to reabsorb water from the stool and also to prepare the stool for expulsion from the body. Because stools contain products of putrefaction (anaerobic decomposition by micro-organisms), liquids and nutrients that are absorbed through the intestinal villi and into the blood enter the Hepatic Portal System - a circulatory system that connects the GI tract directly to the liver, where toxins can be filtered out, before onward circulation to the rest of the body. This is to prevent toxins from the large intestine and indeed any toxins ingested in general from being absorbed directly into blood and damaging organs such as the brain. The liver is thus fed with both oxygenated (arterial blood at the capillaries) blood and deoxygenated (venous) blood (from the GI tract).
The liver also produces bile using the gallbladder to expel bile into the digestive tract, to the small intestine, in order to aid in the digestion of fats in the small intestine and also a pathway to expel toxins from the body (via the GI tract and stool). This direct circulation of biliary salts from the liver is known as the Enterohepatic circulation.
As food passes through the intestines, it becomes progressively firmer until it becomes the familiar stool in the rectum. The walls of the GI tract excrete mucus, known as mucin, which is alkaline in nature, in order to lubricate and clean the gastro-intestinal and colon lining, to neutralise acid build up in the intestines and to protect against toxins. A healthy colon contains many residual friendly bacteria that weigh up to 2.25kg (5lbs).
The Wikipedia pages below show diagrams and definitions of the intestine, the small intestine and the large intestine (colon) respectively.
The sigmoid colon is the very last part of the colon, between the descending colon and the rectum. It is broadly S-shaped, which is where it's name comes from. By the time stool arrives in this part of the colon, most nutrients have been absorbed back into the blood stream. The sigmoid colon is rather muscular and contracts to create a pressure, squeezing stools into the rectum.
The capillaries in the mucosa lining of the rectum are not part of the Hepatic Portal System (similarly to the capillaries under the tongue in the mouth), thus any toxins present in the stools whilst one is squeezing out the stool through the rectum and out of the anus, are reabsorbed in the main body's blood supply (bypassing the liver). This is why one tends to feel slightly sick just before having a bowel movement. Stool has just moved out of the sigmoid colon into the rectum, where toxins can be reabsorbed into the main blood circulation system. This is why this nauseous sensation disappears once the stools have been expelled. That is partly why passing stools can feel satisfying! The rectum does not possess the benefit of the hepatic portal system. This is why it is important to try to expel stools when they pass into the rectum as soon as possible and not hold them in. The circulatory system in the rectum is not designed for long term or even short term storage of stools, and the body is designed to expel stools pretty much as soon as they arrive in the rectum. In addition, if you do not empty your rectum when it is starting to fill up with stool, then you will experience a great increase in wind - this is the stool telling you it wants to come out!! It is time to 'take the kids to the pool.' Of course, the sensation in the rectum is there so we can control our bowel movements and chose when and where to pass our stools, so we do not go to the toilet whilst in a dangerous situation (hopefully!) or whilst in eating or sleeping areas (translate this into the modern scenario of an anti-social place!)
This property of the rectum is utilised in suppositories, for example EDTA suppositories (e.g. Detoxamin) for chelation therapy. Enemas work via a different principle, they involve the introduction of liquids up the rectum and into the sigmoid colon. Here they are absorbed and travel via the hepatic portal system directly to the liver. Coffee enemas are used for this purpose to stimulate the liver, to speed it up, mainly through direct absorption via the rectum (to the outside of the liver via other organs in the body first) and the rest by absorption through the sigmoid colon and descending colon wall to the inside of the liver (via the hepatic portal system). Enemas are also used to treat the colon of various adverse conditions, but introducing medicinal liquids into the colon directly, without having to ingest them and have them arrived much later, partially or fully digested, e.g. herbal enemas containing soothing herbs and oils for IBD cases (slippery elm, linseed oil, aloe vera etc.)
The bottom of the ascending colon (i.e. the upper part of the colon) is most prone to congestion and stool build up, partly because of gravity and it's shape, which can impede the flow of stools through the colon and also lead to considerable reabsorption of toxins and putrefaction products. In addition, overeating can actually stretch the walls of the colon, meaning that it is larger and will fill up with more stool than before. These issues are examined below. Overeating is a Motivation problem and unwillingness to break previous negative behaviour patterns.
Sometimes one may feel a sharp pain in the anal area which may last for a couple of seconds or up to ten seconds. This is an indication that stool is moving in the colon or rectum and that it is dislodging or grinding against mucoid plaque that lines the lines of these passages. Whilst unpleasant, this is a good indication that something positive is happening (in terms of mucoid plaque removal) but also an indication that mucoid plaque and congestion is present.
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'Peristalsis is the rhythmic [wave-like] contraction of smooth muscles to propel contents through the digestive tract...In much of the gastrointestinal tract, smooth muscles contract in sequence to produce a peristaltic wave which forces a ball of food (called a bolus while in the esophagus and gastrointestinal tract and chyme in the stomach) along the gastrointestinal tract. Peristaltic movement is initiated by circular smooth muscles contracting behind the chewed material to prevent it from moving back into the mouth, followed by a contraction of longitudinal smooth muscles which pushes the digested food forward.'
Peristalsis is controlled by the nervous system, and in some individuals, who have Abnormal Spontaneous Brainstem Activations (ASBAs), dysmotility (uncoordinated movement of the muscles in the GI tract) may arise. Of course peristalsis may be assisted with the use of herbs but to what extent this helps with the coordination of muscle movements, I am not sure.
Low levels of peristalsis may be evident in those individuals who do not exercise sufficiently. Exercising more, if possible given one's health etc., generally improves peristalsis.
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Formation of Mucoid Plaque:
Modern diets are often low in natural fibre and also high in mucus producing foods, such as dairy products, white flour, meat (especially processed meats), eggs, potatoes, beans, rice, grains, fish, peanuts and fats (and low in fresh vegetables and fruit), and food, drink and drugs high in toxins, for instance coffee, alcohol, recreational drugs and pharmaceuticals. When we talk about mucus producing foods, we mean that they tend to stimulate the digestive tract to produce more mucus, rather than mucus in the nasal passages.
However, a large number of people have a very mild immune system reaction to certain food proteins that resemble viruses to the immune system, mainly dairy and wheat, which may well cause nasal congestion as well as adverse immune system activity in the digestive tract. This is a separate topic and is discussed on the Food Allergy and Intolerance page.
Such diets lead to more mucin being produced in the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract. The mucus can indeed be cleared away by pancreatic juices (from the pancreas) but mucus-forming foods form such a large proportion of modern, western diets that the pancreatic juices are not effective in clearing it away. As the mucus and food particle solution passes through the intestines, moisture is removed and absorbed back into the blood stream. As more moisture is removed and reabsorbed, the mucus becomes sticky and gluey. In passing, it leaves a coating on the intestinal wall. Layer tends to dry out over time, compacting and hardening. Over the years, layer after layer of gluey faeces builds on the intestinal lining. It gradually forms into a tough, rubbery, black substance (hardened faeces mixture) found in lumps in the corners of the intestinal tract and covering the walls and villi themselves. This is known as 'mucoid plaque', and causes constipation, a reduction in the absorption of nutrients through the intestinal wall, and is a breeding ground for candida, harmful bacteria and parasites.
Toxins are absorbed into the mucoid plaque over time, including biotoxins and heavy metals. The liver relies on the colon being clear in order to effectively eliminate toxins from the body through the digestive tract. The build up of mucoid plaque and congestion in the colon (affecting the normal passage of stool) results in the build up of large amounts of toxins in the digestive tract. Harmful micro-organism activity also produces additional toxins. The body tends to produce more mucin to try to wash away the mucoid plaque, which mixes with the mucoid plaque to exaccerbate the problem. Low fibre diets slow down the movement of food in the GI tract and do not act to remove mucoid plaque and prevent mucoid plaque formation.
A gallery of mucoid plaque can be viewed at the link below.
Please note that some mucoid plaque that one excretes will float in your toilet, partly because of the psyllium husks it contains (Psyllium being used to help remove it). Mucoid plaque tends to thick, dark and rubbery, and hard to penetrate with a set of chop sticks or fork (should one wish to have a go). It is harder than the psyllium that often accompanies it - when removing it of course. It does not tend to come out of its own volition.
Dairy products are most mucus-producing of all foods. After this comes meat, fish and eggs, which are almost as mucus-forming. Soy is the most mucus producing plant-based food. Other pulses and legumes are not quite as mucus-forming. Nuts and are also major mucus producing foods. Next come grains. Millet is the least mucus forming of all grains. Fruits and vegetables are virtually free of mucoid-forming activity, depending on which one is talking about.
Dr Richard Anderson claims to have coined the phrase 'mucoid plaque', with covers a number of different medical terms. He states that acid forming foods are a major contributor to the production of excess mucin, which ties in with the general trend observed above.
Sprouted grains, seeds and beans are closer to vegetables in composition, whilst retaining the protein content (in more complex forms) and are much less mucus-forming. However they are largely composed of water, depending on how large they have grown. As little photosynthesis occurs with sprouts (depending on how long they are left), then their growth is largely water and bean/seed nutrient conversion. So to get the same protein and fibre content, with mung beans, one would need to eat 3 to 4 times the weight of sprouted to get the same protein and fibre content of cooked mung beans. Proper length bean sprouts have up to 10 times less protein than boiled mung beans. This is why if one eats a large portion of bean sprouts, one becomes hungry much quicker than if one had eaten a large portion of mung beans. In general, the longer the sprout is left to grow, the less mucus producing it becomes (and easier to digest it becomes). Please note the comparative data below is based on different serving sizes.
Digestion times in the stomach for various food types can be found below. Soy is close to meat in its digestion time, compared with other pulses and legumes.
It is likely that fermented foods are easier to digest than their non-fermented counterparts, e.g. Tempeh may be easier to digest than soy beans etc. Predigested protein supplements may be easier to digest than their non-predigested counterparts. Soaking nuts, as discussed on the Digestion page, is very important too, as it helps to remove the indigestible compounds and enzyme-inhibitors. Thoroughly soaking, cooking and washing/rinsing beans is also important if one is not sprouting them, to ensure they are as easily digestible as possible.
Other factors that can contribute to mucoid plaque formation or excessive mucus production are overeating or eating large meals, eating without being hungry, improper chewing and inappropriate food combinations. For more information, please see the Digestive Disorders page.
Mucoid plaque formation and general clogging of the colon may also occur as a result of a lack of peristaltic movement. A lack of Peristalsis may be a result of poor diet, build up of mucoid plaque and a low blood supply and 'qi level' of the small and large intestines.
Some articles below on mucus producing foods, in particular dairy products may be found below. These may however be looking at the effects of commercially produced dairy products rather than organic or grass fed sources.
Faeces is supposed to simply pass through the colon, where moisture is reabsorbed back into the body before eliminating the faeces through the anus. Faeces is not supposed to get stuck around the walls of the colon or build up inside the colon. The liver relies on the colon being clear in order to effectively eliminate toxins from the body through the digestive tract. The build up of mucoid plaque and congestion in the colon results in the build up of large amounts of toxins in the digestive tract.
Autopsies have shown that the average person carries around 3-7kg (7-15lbs) of such mucoid plaque in his intestines. Autopsies have also shown severely encrusted colons to weigh 18kg (40lbs) or more! Sometimes there is so much mucoid plaque that parts of the colon expand from 5.5cm (2.5") to two to four times their diameter in very obese people, leaving a channel of only about a pencil's width in the centre through which faeces can actually pass for elimination through the rectum.
In the UK, bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer, with 35,000-40,000 new cases each year. These statistics come from Cancer Research UK and the BBC from August 2006.
Quoted from Dr Schulze's web site:
'According to the Merck Manual, one of the most respected medical texts in the world, colon degeneration and disease is on the rise. The incidence of diverticulosis, (herniated sacs protruding through the wall of the colon) has increased dramatically over the past 40 years in America. It states that in 1950, only 10% of American adults had this disease. In 1955, 15%. In 1972, 30%, In 1987, almost 50% and in the latest edition it states that Every American will have diverticulosis if they live long enough.
Diverticulosis is directly caused by constipation, faecal impaction and pressure. These sacs are stuffed with trapped faecal sludge. They become infected and the rotting faeces erodes the surrounding mucousa and blood vessels. This begins bleeding, rupturing and infection, and serious disease.
Colon Cancer actually KILLS 400% more people than AIDS. It also KILLS more men and women in America than Breast and Prostate Cancer.
This year in America 60,000 people will DIE from Colon-Rectal Cancer and an additional 125,000 new cases will be diagnosed.
Up to 50% of Americans have Polyps in their colon. A Polyp is just another name for a tumor. 'Most' Polyps eventually mutate into malignant cancer tumors!'
'Diverticulitis is a common digestive disease particularly found in the large intestine. Diverticulitis develops from diverticulosis, which involves the formation of pouches (diverticula) on the outside of the colon. Diverticulitis results if one of these diverticula becomes inflamed.'
NASA research scientists have found traces of mother's milk in adult colons, indicating that many adults carry impacted faecal matter in their colons throughout their entire lives, from early childhood to death. The incidence of mucoid plaque in young children and babies is not doubt a result of modern-child rearing practices, excessive reliance on cow's milk long after a baby actually requires mother's milk and low fibre diets. No other animal consumes milk after early infancy except humans. If humans actually consumed organic, raw milk and not pasturised milk (from anti-biotic fed animals) it would not be so bad.
In most western adults, it is considered normal to grow a larger and larger belly with age. People seem to take this for granted. However, the large majority of the composition of this 'belly' is mucoid plaque which builds up over decades and also excessive gas (produced by undigested food being fermented by good and bad bacteria). The volume and weight and hardened faeces that many people carry around with them 24 hours a day in quite horrific! If you pinch the skin and subcutaneous fat from your belly, what is underneath is hard and should be flat. If it is hard and still compromises the majority of your protroding 'belly', it is highly likely that most of this is mucoid plaque.
One can feel oneself how much tension there is in the intestinal muscles by slowly and gently massaging the intestinal area, either whilst lying on one's back or leaning forwards whilst sat on a chair with one's elbows or forearms resting on one's legs. If it feels uncomfortable, aches or is painful, then this is a likely indicator that there is a considerable amount of mucoid plaque and/or excessive gas (which puts pressure on the intestinal walls) in the small and large intestines. There is a good Shiatsu morning exercise for massaging the intestines and internal organs which a qualified Shiatsu practitioner can show you.
For a totally disgusting slide show, showing pictures of mucoid plaque passed from the colon, click on the link below. If you never see this, it means you are keeping it in your intestinal tract and carrying kilos of it around with you 24 hours a day. If you see it regularly in your toilet, it may be gross, but it means you are actively eliminating it from your body and it is gone forever (hopefully)! It may of course build back up depending on your dietary habits.
Mucoid Plaque Slide Show
The purpose of the above information is not to just shock people, but to educate and motivate. It is not this web site's intention to create in people negative beliefs about modern society, which people can use to feel sorry for themselves whilst they continue to allow their bodies to be abused, but to empower people to positively take control of their health.
This all sounds very horrible! So what can we actually do about it?
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Removing Mucoid Plaque:
Expectorants that act by a drying, heat action, and are not demulcents (soothing or moistening), include the following.
Expectorant and Demulcent Herbs are described in the book The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine.
Mucilage-rich herbs in general help to increase the freuquency of bowel movements and also help to absorb toxins in the GI tract.
Organic sources of the above herbs are preferable. Some of the above demulcent herbs and fibres are discussed below.
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Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.)
Diatomaceous Earth is a type of fossilised algae called Diatoms. In the fossilised form are 85% amorphous silica approximately, and their fossilised shells are extremely hard and extremely sharp edged. When ingested with water, they help to scrape mucoid plaque from the small and large intestines as well as slice up any tape worms if present. Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) also has a high mineral content and can be used in remineralisation. The DE is not digested as such, although a small amount of silica and other minerals may be absorbed. The insoluble fraction sipmly passes through the digestive tract, rather like a P&B shake.
The outside of the fossilised diatoms are negatively charged and attract heavy metal ions in the digestive tract. Many sources state that the hard, cylindrical Diatom shells can catch and trap all kinds of harmful microbes including yeasts, protozoa and bad bacteria, although this effect may be secondary and less exaggerated compared with the other properties mentioned above.
DE has advantages over P&B shakes in that it requires the minimum of preparation and will likely not cause bloating like P&B shakes can if too much is taken at once or too many are consumed in one day. A tablespoon of DE is simply placed into a glass of water and stirred. That's it. It is probably best consumed on an empty stomach, although in farming applications it is simply sprinkled on animal feed. Always rinse out your mouth after consumption so as to avoid excessive dental abrasion.
I have tried D.E. for a couple of months, and have found that it seems to work best to remove mucoid plaque when either mixed in with a thick medium (e.g. a fibre drink or 'shake'), which can give the D.E. some leverage from which to actually scrape the most effectively in the GI tract; or when taken twice a day, e.g. one tablespoon twice a day with water (between or with meals). I therefore believe that D.E. is best consumed either in a glass of water taken with food, or mixed in with a glass of water/fibre mixture, with or without an absorbant like bentonite or charcoal. If using the latter absorbants with D.E.,it is best consumed on an empty stomach. D.E. does not appear to be as efficient an absorbant or binder of heavy metals as either Bentonite Clay or Charcoal. It would be sensible not to consume D.E. for extended periods in the event that once the mucoid plaque is removed, it may well slice up your villi in your intestinal walls.
Please see the Diatomaceous Earth section of the Bacterial, Yeast and Parasite Overgrowth page for more information.
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Please note that non-digestible forms of fibre are used for a variety of purposes, including weight loss or dieting. In essence, if you are taking a non-digestible form of dietary fibre between meals or before meals, then you are missing out on the opportunity to eat a snack or meal, whilst still remaining full, or in the latter scenario, you are partially filling up the stomach so you are able to eat less at each meal. In addition, there will be some degree of mixing of fibre and food/chyme in the GI tract, even if they are taken apart, which slows the rate of absorption of nutrients, and to some extent prevents full absorption. If your digestion is already poor then you may not be getting enough energy from your diet and may lose weight uncontrollably. Excessive bloating may not necessarily just be mucoid plaque, but could also be a sign of poor digestion in general, mainly consisting of trapped gas, resulting from fermenting of poorly digested food in the GI tract. It is thus possible to lose weight, whilst taking extra fibre, whilst still not shifting one's large belly. One's large belly may likely be largely gas produced from poor digestion anyway. Be very mindful of this if you start to lose weight, as this is an indicator that you should perhaps stop the extra fibre sources and eat more actual food, preferably of a carbohydrate source, as well as taking more digestive enzymes and probiotics.
Excessive use of supplementary dietary fibre may result in looser stools, shorter transit times and retention of minerals in the fibre itself, which can result in mineral deficiencies such as Zinc and Potassium. Zinc deficiency can itself result in decreased appetite and weight loss, which can worsen the above situation.
Muscle loss may also be a result of insufficient Glutamine availability in the body, perhaps on account of insufficient protein intake/digestion/absorption or Lysine deficiency (present in all enzymes and proteins).
If the body's cells are short of Glutamine they may rob Glutamine from the muscles, thereby reducing muscle mass. Body builders often taken additional Glutamine to stop this happening. The Branch Chain Amino Acids L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine are also a major constituent of muscle together making up 33% of total muscle amino acids, and supplementation of these may also assist in recovering from muscle/weight loss. If the body is short of Lysine, Magnesium or P5P, it may not be able to produce and utilise enough digestive enzymes to digest your food properly, even though you are eating sufficient amounts, thereby resulting in weight loss and further exacerbating the problem. Also if your GI tract lining is severely inflamed and impaired, it may prevent proper absorption of nutrients and result in weight loss and bloating - and frequent diarrhea - which may be confused with mucoid plaque build up preventing absorption - however both may be occuring in different places at the same time. Please see the Leaky Gut Syndrome article for more information.
I myself had a severe L-Lysine deficiency, which developed over 5 years or so, but which was not addressed in that time, and resulted in a freefall of weight loss when it reached critical levels - where enzyme production and fat metabolism was so impaired it was hard to digest food esp. fats, making it difficult to prevent further weight loss. Heavy supplementation (between 500mg and 2g up to three times a day was needed over a period of years).
Rapid weight loss may also result in an excessive amount of fat and cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream, as bodily fats are self-cannibalised, causing the formation of cholesterol-based gallstones. One's gallbladder may then cease to function as efficiently as before, affecting digestion and detoxification capability, and may then require subsequent attention to get rid of them.
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Lecithin or Phosphatidyl Choline can also be supplemented, which may help to emulsify and loosen the mucoid plaque in the GI tract. Phosphatidyl Choline helps to dissolve fatty deposits and cholesterol in the arteries. It is high in polyunsaturated lipids and also helps to clear the cell membranes. Please see the Detox Protocols for more information.
Other oils that may help to soften mucoid plaque are flaxseed oil and olive oil. However, one may argue that taking ground sprouted flaxseed is better, because of the extra fibre and mucilage, and nutritional value.
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Herbs to stimulate Peristaltic Action
Proper peristaltic action and a sufficient blood supply to the intestines can be stimulated by various Energetic Treatments and also herbal products. Certain herbs such as peppermint, cinnamon, slippery elm, ginger, fennel seed, gentian root, papaya leaf and rhubarb may assist the intestines by relaxing the walls and encouraging food to pass through more easily. This can assist your body's ability to clear the colon also. Your specialist or shiatsu practitioner should be able to give you guidance on this. Herbs come in the form of additions to detoxification/digestive aid supplements, in digestive aid herbal teas (available in packets of tea bags from your local health food shop or supermarket) and also from specialist herb suppliers such as HerbCare (whose Ojibway Tea is prepared by boiling herbs for 20 minutes.) Herbal capsule products such as Co-Ton A are also available. Whilst such herbs may indeed help, they also have energetic properties (c/f Traditional Chinese Medicine theory) that may imbalance the body if used long term.
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Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics play an important role in digestive health, the immune system and removing mucoid plaque. Probiotic bacteria strains are important to help digest and break down food/chyme/stool, to maintain bowel movements and to absorb toxins from the GI tract. Probiotics (and Prebiotics) are examined on the Bacterial page. Many prebiotic fibre sources have been discussed above - their usage is controversial, and they may benefit one person and have the reverse effect in another person.
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Enzymes and Juice Fasts
Papain, the enzyme found in Papaya fruit. Papain helps to digest the proteins in mucoid plaque. One can simply eat fresh Papaya fruit regularly, or take a Papain enzyme supplement. Some digestive enzyme formulas already contain Papain, e.g. DigestMore Ultra.
A number of enzyme formulas exist for assisting in detoxification. These include enzymes for digesting protein and starches as well as fibrin. These are used not only for intestinal detoxification but for removing fibrin deposits in the body. Fibrinolytic enzymes are primarily used to remove fibrin deposits in order to alleviate stiff joints and remove atherosclerotic plaque (in blood vessels), however they are also used to help break down biofilms formed by bad bacteria and protozoans in the GI tract and also systematically in the body. Intestinal biofilms may overlap with mucoid plaque - there are very few studies in this area to make definitive statements.
Examples of such enzyme products include combination products such as:
- Kirkman Laboratories' Biofilm Defense
- Klaire Labs' Intefase and Interfase Plus
Dedicated fibrinolytic enzymes include:
- Nattokinase - derived from from the probiotic bacteria Bacillus subtilis fermented on soy beans
- Lumbrokinase - derived from the earth worm
- Serrapeptase (a.k.a. Serratia peptidase) - derived from the silk worm caterpillar
Raw foods, especially greens and fruits, tend to be highly enzyme-rich. Consuming such foods may potentially assist in mucoid plaque removal. Some will be better suited to mucoid plaque removal than others. One can also consume a 'greens' or other raw food supplement every day to assist in this regard.
Juice Fasts are essentially an enzymatic therapy to remove mucoid plaque. In constrast with blending, juicing is a way of removing the pulp from vegetables and consuming their nutrient rich juices. 30% of the body's energy goes to digestion, so juice fasting is a way of providing the body with most of the nutrients it normally gets but with less effort, and also flooding it with enzymes (from raw vegetables). Those who eat raw vegan food are consuming fibre with their food and the enzymes are not absorbed as readily. In addition, the volume of vegetables consumed in juices is much larger with a juice fast than can be consumed in a normal vegan raw diet. Juicing raw vegetables can be done to supplement your normal diet as well as used as part of a juice fast, which is discussed below.
Reviews of juicing vs blending can be found on web sites below. The crux of the argument tends to lie on more oxidation with blending, but additional ruffage and slow release of nutrients with blending vs fast uptake of nutrients but with no fibre and less oxidation.
Basically a juice fast involves drinking vegetable juices around the clock, mainly from green leafy or other green vegetable sources. The juices pass through the GI tract and the enzymes help to loosen the mucoid plaque. Some individuals include wheat grass juice with their juice fast, as well as soy lecithin to ensure some increased intake of protein and fat, as well as organic mineral sources. Critics of juice fasting state that Calcium deficiency can occur with extended juice fasting.
A juice fast can be combined with P&B shakes and various other anti-mucoid plaque treatments. It is a highly extreme treatment and is not meant to go on for more than a month. Some do it for just one day a week or a few days. I am not necessarily recommending this. One should also consider that whilst juices such as wheat grass juice can be consumed on a daily basis in general etc., consuming too much raw food long term may result in a build up of damp energy in susceptible individuals according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. A juice fast is of course a temporary regime, but those who have a large excess of cold or damp energy before they start may not fare so well with juice fasting as others.
Dr Richard Schulze discusses juice fasting in an interview with Sam Bizer at the link below (a written version of the audio 'Save your Life')
Juice fasting is also discussed on the Detoxification Protocols page.
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Sufficient Blood Circulation to Digestive Tract
Training the abdominal muscles will help to improve peristaltic motion, draw blood to the GI tract and assist in all of your other strategies to remove mucoid plaque. If you are physically able to do stomach/abdominal exercises, without adversely impacting your energy levels, then it will help. The traditional crunch is argued by some to be detrimental to your back and there are alternative exercises that involve keeping a straight back. Stomach exercises are discussed on the posture page here.
A tip for aiding digestion is to avoid any activity that draws blood away from the stomach and intestines for at least one hour and preferably two hours after a meal. This includes heavy exercise and taking a hot bath or shower.
Stress also causes blood to be diverted from the digestive tract - try to be more relaxed and calm within yourself!
In addition, for an impaired digestive system, it is better to avoid large meals and instead eat smaller amounts more often, spreading out one's food intake as much as possible during the day. It is not particularly helpful to starve oneself for hours and then have a heavy meal. Heathly and light snacks can be consumed between meals, for example. Large meals can not only overload the digestive system but cause 'energetic damage' to the body's meridians. Overeating can also result in stretching of the colon, which can result in excessive built up of stool in the ascending colon. It is also psychologically unhealthy and serves to mask/distract attention from underlying issues to do with stress and self-esteem.
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Colonic irrigation/hydrotherapy (which use only purified water and no anti-microbial or anti-biotic additives) has also shown to be useful, and can help in removing mucoid plaque in the colon, but is a more 'direct', quick, aggressive, intrusive, energetically destructive and expensive approach. A patient may require between one and three successive visits over a period of a week or two to fully remove the mucoid plaque from the colon. Because of the flushing action, it tends to remove most of the beneficial and harmful bacteria from the colon, and therefore the flora mix present at the time of irrigation will repopulate itself in three days. It is recommended to use a probiotic immediately after the treatment (and all the time in fact!) to help shift the floral balance to a more satifsfactory and beneficial state, for at least 3 days. Colonic hydrotherapy only works on the large intestine (the colon) and not the small intestine, which is separated from the large intestine by a valve. To remove mucoid plaque from the small intestine requires fibre, as discussed above. The temptation with colonic hydrotherapy is to rely on this as a regular treatment rather than address the lack of fibre, the excess of mucus producing foods and other dietary issues that may afflict the person. Colonic hydrotherapy should probably be used as a compliment to a high fibre diet and psyllium and bentonite regime, rather than a replacement for it. A skilled practitioner is able to feel the abdomen and ascertain in which part of the colon (the large intestine) where the mucoid plaque is, and if any parts of the colon are swollen and distended (i.e. clogged up with mucoid plaque). During treatment a light massage may be given to assist elimination. Colonic irrigation, whilst highly effective at removing built up stool from the colon, is also somewhat severe in its nature, and although one may feel elated and freer having removed all this stool, the body may well feel exhausted for several days afterwards. It is often energetically draining on the body. If you are undergoing a heavy detoxification programme, additional monthly or bimonthly visits may be required during the duration of the programme. However, these may excessively deplete the body's energy reserves which are already being depleted by the cellular detoxification programme. Regular colonic hydrotherapy sessions over a number of months may therefore be detrimental to a CFS patient's overall recovery. A person should make an educated choice about whether to use colonic hydrotherapy or not. It is not right for everyone and in many cases should only be used as a last resort. See the toxicity page for more information.
An alternative to colonic irrigation is an enema. This introduces a few litres of liquid into the colon, up to 4-5 litres, which is retained in the colon for 15-20 minutes and then excreted, as opposed to squirting and flushing hundreds of litres of water up one's bottom. It is still tiring but not as tiring as colonic irrigation. One can also use a variety of herbs or other ingredients to include in with the enema liquid, e.g. coffee enemas to stimulate the liver.
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Oxygenating supplements can be split into two rough categories. Those that are primarily used to raise the oxygen and pH levels in the blood (whole body) and those that are primarily used to increase the O2 levels in the digestive tract.
Blood Stream Oxygenators:
Supplements that are used to increase oxygen and pH levels in the blood are ingested orally and so will have some effect on the small and large intestine, but the majority of their effect is thought to be in the blood stream. Such supplements come in a variety of formulations. The manufacturers are usually extremely unwilling to divulge the ingredients, and often any marketing material that explains how they work reads like total pseudoscience. Those supplements that contain just Sodium or Potassium Chlorite usually say so on the ingredients however.
It is widely acknowledged on various health forums that such supplements do oxidise one's own beneficial facultative anaerobic bacteria, and that probiotic supplementation is required to replenish the lost bacteria. The manufacturers themselves deny such claims, and state that they have no adverse effect on probiotic bacteria, making such incorrect statements as all good bacteria being aerobic! This is not the case and their claims (in general) are to be taken with a pinch of salt. Equally the manfacturers' web sites have misleading, vague or incorrect information on them, telling us very little about how they actually work, and using such terms as 'ozone', 'oxygen' and 'oxide' interchangeably, equating the O2 dioxygen molecule to O. radicals and O3 ozone molecules. These companies are heavily criticised by the mainstream medical community yet they do little to defend themselves and explain themselves with any credibility. This is not to say that there is not truth in there, but it is disguised with wishy washy, pseudo-scientific statements and incorrect terminology.
However, this aside, these supplements do work - exactly how I am still not sure. Historically speaking, diluted Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide was more widely used in the past, as well as acidified Sodium Chlorite (a.k.a. Miracle Mineral Supplement or MMS), but now the marketplace is much larger with many other products available - usually less severe on the body and with additional benefits (often containing small traces of vinegar, humic acid etc.). Most of such supplements take the form of drops. Of these, the only one I would really recommend is Cellfood, which is the only one that has ever positively muscle tested on me. There are so many products on the market now that I will only list a few below. Always look at the ingredients before buying. These oxygenating supplements can be useful for treating systematic microbe infections such as Candida albicans or Lyme Disease, in conjunction with a herbal or other treatment programme.
It is prudent to take antioxidants in general, but especially so if you are taking this type of supplement, as otherwise they may potentially put more of an oxidative stress burden on the body (whose antioxidant defenses may already be impaired to start with). Manufacturers may claim that their supplement actually reduces the number of free radicals in the body but I'm not completely convinced. Clearly antioxidants should not be taken at the same time, and oxygenating supplements should ideally be taken on an empty stomach, although some manufacturers state that it does not matter. In the case of MMS or H2O2, they should ALWAYS be taken on an empty stomach.
Examples of supplements that raise blood oxygen and pH levels are:
Hydrogen Peroxide and Sodium Chlorite of course can be used as cleaning chemicals in the kitchen. They can be used in a spray bottle to disinfect clean kitchen surfaces, rather than using a toxic chemical based cleaning product. They are cheap, smell very slightly of Chlorine or Ozone, but are basically non-toxic. They may irritate the lungs only if you have used far too concentrated a mixture, which one can rule out if you mix it properly. When killing bacteria, for example in water filtration system, one may clean and disinfect them with washing up liquid, and may additionally use H2O2 if desired. Any bacteria remaining will die when the filtration compartments dry out, so leaving the system out in the open air for a day or two prior to reassembly can help to kill off any remaining bacteria.
Web sites advocating the use of Ozone, the poweful oxidising agent, to combat harmful micro-organism overgrowth/infection (in the large intestine) can be seen below. If this treatment is localised to the large intestine, then only so much damage will occur to the gut floral balance in the GI tract.
Ozone, the powerful oxidising agent, is also one of many anti-viral treatments proposed by some researchers.
Hydrogen Peroxide, the strong oxidising agent, a topical antiseptic, is advocated as useful treatment tool against harmful microorganisms and viruses, and to assist in oxygenating the body, by some. Opinion is divided on the subject. Those who believe taking H2O2 is a bad idea point to the fact that it is an oxidising agent, and will act in the same negative manner as taking in free radicals, which act to oxidise the body's cells, i.e. one should be trying to increase one's intake of antioxidants (reduced compounds) rather than ingesting more oxidising agents that have the opposite effect. In addition, as I have argued, certain parts of the GI tract, especially the Small Intestine, are anaerobic environments, and some probiotic bacteria there is exclusively anaerobic, and oxygenating those areas or sending oxidising agents into those areas will only kill these beneficial organisms off. "Hydrogen peroxide does participate in the bactericidal processes within activated phagocyte cells. But when it escapes from the cells into the adjacent extracellular space during the inflammatory process, it becomes a major contributor to the tissue damage seen in lung disease, malignancies, and hemolysis. The presence of pharmacological concentrations of hydrogen peroxide in the blood is clearly a double-edged sword which can easily cause as much harm as it can cause good." (Green, S.) The American Cancer Society states that "there is no scientific evidence that hydrogen peroxide is a safe, effective or useful cancer treatment", and advises cancer patients to "remain in the care of qualified doctors who use proven methods of treatment and approved clinical trials of promising new treatments." Another controversial alternative medical procedure is inspiration of hydrogen peroxide at a concentration of about 1%. Internal use of high concentration hydrogen peroxide has a history of causing fatal blood disorders, and its recent use as a therapeutic treatment has been linked to several deaths. During the Second World War, Doctors in Nazi concentration camps experimented with the use of hydrogen peroxide injections in the killing of human subjects.
Supporters of H2O2 therapy (using greatly diluted food grade hydrogen peroxide containing no additives or stabilisers) argue that it is naturally occurring in rainwater (created from the ozone layer), and that with increased levels of atmospheric pollution that we see today, less and less reaches the ground. Farmers compensate for this by adding H2O2 to water used on plants, it assists plant growth as well as acting as an insecticide. Of course, we are not plants. H2O2 can cause burns, at 10-30% concentration, but the typical concentration it is ingested in is around 0.1% or so. This is still relatively strong but will not burn the skin or mouth. Incidences of fatalities following ingestion of H2O2 have involved drinking concentrated H2O2 (i.e. 30-60%!)
The body also produces its own H2O2, in the body's white blood cells, to help fight off unwanted foreign organisms or particles. Vitamin C is believed to help fight infections by being converted into H2O2 (intracellular) which stimulates the production of prostoglandins (a class of lipid 'hormones'). However this is arguably a reason to take high Vitamin C dosages rather than actual H2O2 so that the H2O2 is produced in the correct places. Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria in the colon and vagina (if you have one) also produce H2O2, however this is localised to those areas only, and is not something that occurs throughout the body and indeed the Small Intestine.
According to Dr Martin Pall, H2O2 helps to increase BH4 production, which can help to decrease the uncoupling of NOS enzymes, thus lowering Nitric Oxide production. However it does put additional oxidative stress on the body. Please see the Peroxynitrite page for more information.
When it comes to oxygenation of the body, Dr Charles Farr's research apparently shows that it is not actually the H2O2 that results in the increased oxygen levels in the body, but it is the effect of enzymatic stimulation that results in the increased oxygen levels. Otherwise, ingesting H2O2 would simply result in increased levels of oxidising agents and O- rather than than actual O2. Low oxygen levels in the body often lead to conditions such as dysbiosis and even cancer.
One natural source of H2O2 is found in the waters of Lourdes in France, around 0.25% H2O2, and is renowned for its alleged healing qualities. This is not quite as attested by Wikipedia. The location was revealed to Bernadette Soubrirous, 14 year old girl, in 1858 in a vision she had of the Virgin Mary.
Mother's milk, especially colostrum, contains significant levels of H2O2. Indeed, the H2O2 in colostrum is regarded as being an immune system stimulating substance or transfer factor, in addition to the IgG-type immunoglobulins. Doctors in the British army used intravenous hydrogen peroxide to treat victims of the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919 in India. It is estimated that over 10 million people have ingested or had injections of H2O2 to date.
H2O2 is produced during respiration, although this is intracellular, although its presence can pose an oxidative risk within the cell. The body uses a protective enzyme, Catalse and to a lesser extent Glutathione peroxidase, that prevents the mitochindria being damagd by H2O2, which break it down. These enzymes are also found in the blood, and any H2O2 ingested will likely be destroyed by the blood (localised bubbling off of Oxygen) unless it hits any bad (or good anaerobic) bacteria first; and if it is not, it may potentially cause oxidative damage to cell walls (i.e. lipid peroxidation), DNA and indeed the kidneys. So whilst some alternative practitioners use H2O2 injections to help fight cancer and boost the immune system, as a short term solution, in the long term, it may actually cause enough DNA damage to cause cancer or at the very least premature ageing of the body and cells. Any benefit from H2O2 is likely to be localised if injected and penetrate into the GI tract if ingested. It is likely that the H2O2 that stays within the digestive tract is carried through the small then large intestine and may act to neutralise harmful anaerobic micro-organisms in the colon, but also probiotic anaerobic bacteria in the small intestine. However, the H2O2 cannot be destroyed quite that quickly in the blood, or those consultants who give their patients H2O2 injections would not see any beneficial results. H2O2 is sometimes used to clean cuts or treat ear infections, and can be seen to bubble, which is the enzmatic activity of it being broken down by the blood's enzymes into water and O2. However, some tissue damage has been noted in this application, although it is minimal.
I have myself tried low doses of H2O2, at around 0.05%, orally, (i.e. 1-2 drops of 35% H2O2 solution in a glass of water) to treat dysbiosis, and it did help, although I felt some (presumably) 'die off' reaction immediately after ingesting, but did not pursue the treatment for more than a few days on account of debate in my mind over whether I was producing enough antioxidants to compensate and protect himself from adverse effects (poor Glutathione production at the time). The least oxidative damage is likely to occur in cases where dybiosis is more widespread, i.e. a great ratio of bad bacteria and yeasts to actual bodily cells; and when Glutathione peroxidase levels are adequate.
Additional discussion on the use of 'oxygenating' supplements (i.e. oxidising agents) can be found on the Viral page, the Bacterial page and also the Cardiac page.
Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS) is a Sodium Chlorite solution (usually taken with citric acid) that produces Chlorine Dioxide once in the body (when acidified and mixed with our stomach acids). Sodium Chlorite (NaClO2) is a form of 'stabilised oxygen' and is alkaline. Chlorine Dioxide (ClO2) is a powerful oxidising agent (oxidant). MMS is said to be useful for treating Lyme Disease and various other ailments. I do not generally favour oxygenation/oxidising agent products as: 1) they are oxidising agents (delivering ClO2- or O-- rather than O=O); 2) discourage people from learning to breathe/eat properly; 3) deliver oxygen radicals indiscriminately killing off some good anaerobic bacteria (wrong place, wrong concentration) as well as bad. Clearly such approaches can offer short term benefits, but the long term effects of killing off useful anaerobic bacteria and potentially putting excessive oxidative stress on the body must also be considered. I tried taking Sodium Chlorite for a few days and found that it gave me a bad headache (perhaps as I had consumed it on a nearly empty stomach and not fully empty stomach), and significantly increased the level of inflammation symptoms (c/f Peroxynitrite) and made me feel much more fatigued - even after I had stopped taking it, pushing his condition onto a worse/lower level for weeks (if not months) afterwards. There are many positive testimonials for this, but clearly one has to use one's own discretion.
G.I. Tract Oxygenators:
Supplements that oxygenate the digestive tract tend not to themselves be oxidants, but release oxygen, and are to be used to assist in bowel movement regularity and also to liquify compacted fecal matter (i.e. mucoid plaque). The GI tract is generally speaking a low oxygen environment under normal circumstances (and is supposed to be). Such supplements are best taken on an empty stomach. Supplements that are used to increase oxygen levels in the G.I. tract are usually based on Magnesium Oxide and Citric Acid, but sometimes include other oxides of Magnesium. This Mg helps to retain some more liquid than normal in the GI tract and assist in bowel movements, but the oxygenation can also help to remove compacted fecal matter, which some additional gas may result from. Additional bloating is often experienced with such supplements. Some of the Mg may be absorbed into the bloodstream and used by the body. Too high a dosage will of course result in diarrhea so build up your dosage slowly from as little as a fraction of a capsule if you do not tolerate Mg very well. The manufacturers are often rather protective of the ingredients as they are often overpriced MgO. Of these, Oxy-Powder generally tests more readily with muscle testing, although which an individual tolerates varies according to the individual. The US formulation contains Germanium, which is a powerful antioxidant that may additionally help to raise O2 levels in the G.I. tract and the blood.
Intestional oxygenating supplements will kill off some of one's bad bacteria (as well as good) so some Herxheimer reaction may be experienced. Probiotic supplementation (taken at different times) is therefore recommended. One may also elect to take an intestinal absorbant (not at the same time as the O2 supplement) to help bind with any toxins that are released from the liquifying of fecal matter), e.g. zeolite, charcoal, bentonite clay or Metachel. A number of individuals have claimed great health benefits with such products, including mucoid plaque removal, and equally a number of others have either noticed nothing or become extremely ill (some are still worse after stopping these supplements). Examples of GI Tract Oxygenating supplements are:
Oxygenating supplements are also discussed on the Viral page, the Cardiac page, and on the Alternative Treatments section of the links page.
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Irritable Bowel Disease and Mucoid Plaque
Of course, those with a severely inflamed intestinal tract (IBD such as Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis) by eliminating harmful organisms, toxins or other factors causing the inflammation first and taking natural anti-inflammatories and non-fibrous high mucilage soothing herbs to sooth the inflammation (i.e. not psyllium husks!), before the real business of removing mucoid plaque can take place. For example, in extreme cases of Crohn's disease, rather than just relying on oral supplementation with aloe vera juice/gel, olive oil, slippery elm tea, marshmallow root tea, ground flaxseed tea (or perhaps flaxseed oil tea) etc, one can actually inject these directly into the rectum and colon using a rectal syringe; as much as will go in, and to be held in as long as is possible; with the patient being suspended upside down during the proceedings. Blood circulation to this area could be further enhanced by regular colonic massages (on the abdomen) and also hydrotherapy (alternate hot and cold showers). Dr Richard Schulze has observed extremely severe cases of Crohn's disease where, for example, a patient is afraid to eat as passing faeces is so painful, and where after a course of rectal syringed herbs, oils and juices as described above, the Crohn's Disease cleared up in three weeks, and the patient was able to return to 3-4 healthy bowel movements a day. These types of issues are examined on this page and also the toxicity page, although these pages are not specifically about IBD per se.
Examples of different types of enemas can be seen at the web sites below. These have not been tried out by myself so he cannot vouch for their effectiveness.
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I have experimented with various regimes and have come to the conclusion that gentler inputs and a slower regime is better all round than short bursts of 'extremity'! Specifically, I have moved away from using Psyllium husks and focussed more on taking small amounts of prebiotic fibres such as GOS daily, perhaps once or twice a day, two tablespoons of Diatomaceous earth (one tbsp x 2 per day with water), also taking one scoop of Xymogen OptiFiber SCFA with water daily on an empty stomach. This seems to be enough to pass small amounts of mucoid plaque every day, without affecting nutrient absorption or weight loss which I encountered on a Psyllium regime. If the intestinal lining is sore then I desist from taking the D.E. and take more demulcent herbs such as Slippery Elm and Marshmallow Root to help soothe the lining and also to dissolve mucoid plaque. Otherwise I have been also taking Lecithin, and eating Papaya most days; and also taking targetted probiotics, focussing on Bifidobacteria, E.coli, Entercoccus species which I was deficient in, and also Bacillus subitilis. This has helped also with bowel regularity and breaking down the stool in the colon, to help prevent further mucoid plaque build up and perhaps even assist in removing mucoid plaque. Taking a fraction of a Gaia Herbs Natural Laxative tablet twice a day or one capsule of Co-Ton A 00 has also helped bowel regularity.
Below are some pictures of small pieces of hardened faeces that I collected and photographed. These were removed with the help of various high fibre foods and food concentrates, plus slippery elm, glucomannan and mullein - taken twice a day. The mucoid plaque pieces are up to 1 inch in size. They vary from flat and wide pieces like in the first picture, to long, thin pieces. They are generally shrivelled looked with lines or contours on them, although they do not always have this feature. They are always firmer or harder and more rubbery than the other stool. The 2nd and 3rd pictures are covered in an unhealthy amount of puss and mucin from Pancreas and GI tract lining - a sign of inflammation and irritation. This I have found tends to accompany those pieces of mucoid plaque, perhaps as they are drier than the rest of the stools or more irritating to the GI lining. I have found that a small piece or pieces tend to be found in the first 'log' of a bowel movement, and usually one that has stayed in the bowels for longer (e.g. a morning bowel movement) - when taking additional fibre or mucilage. This is probably due to the extra leverage or friction in firmer stools in the colon.
I passed some similar amounts and appearance of mucoid plaque using a slightly different regime a month later, without taking any overtly mucilage containing herbs, but simply taking a raw food powder twice daily (e.g. 25g or so of either Garden of Life Raw Meal or Juvo Natural Raw Meal) mixed together with 2 heaped teaspoons of Chlorella and also 2 heaped teaspoons of Acacia Fibre - on account of the high sugaring carbohydrate content of Raw Meal I decided upon this regime to reduce the glycaemic index somewhat; and additionally taking 1-2 tablespoons of Diatomaceous Earth each day (although it seemed to work without it). The meal replacement powders are high in soluble and insoluble fibre.
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