The colon is part of the body’s digestive system. The colon, or large intestine, forms part of the end portion of the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract which extends from the mouth to the anus. The colon is about 5 feet long and begins at the end of the small intestine or small bowel, and ends where it joins the rectum. The colon is a vital organ; important to the health and proper cleansing of the body as it expels waste material from the body.
Main Functions of the Colon
The main function of the colon is to absorb water and minerals from the ingested foodstuffs and to form and eliminate feces. The colon contains different types of bacteria to aid digestion, promote vital nutrient production, to maintain pH (acid-base) balance, and to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. These good bacteria play a vital role in that they synthesize folic acid and valuable nutrients from foods during metabolism.
The small intestine is the primary site of digestion and absorption. It absorbs all the nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fats that you eat which are then transferred into the bloodstream. The undigested food is passed into the large intestine where water and nutrients from the food are reabsorbed and where the remaining waste is turned into stool. The waste passes from the colon and collects in the rectum at the end of the large intestine and leaves the body through the anus.
The process of digestion from ingestion to defecation normally takes 12 to 24 hours if the colon is fully functional and non-toxic. Because the colon rids the body of waste, it also cleanses the body. Poor health can be the result of poor detoxification. Irregular or infrequent bowel movements and constipation can result in toxic residues from the by-products of undigested foods accumulating.
If you have a healthy colon, you should be having between 1 to 3 bowel movements per day, often shortly after a meal. Colonic irrigation procedures can sometimes help to flush out the colon and help the body to detox, However, the procedure should be done by a professional health care provider.