Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Road to Health is Paved with Good Intestines #6: The Large Intestine and Its Microbial Inhabitants.

iStock_000012048107Small-300x300In my last blog post, we made our way through the 22 feet of the small intestine. Once what has remained of our food completes that journey, it goes through a gate called the illeocecal valve and finds its way into the large intestine. The large intestine is only about 5 feet long but the diameter of the tube is quite a bit larger than that of the small intestine, thus its name.

By the time the food remains make it to the large intestine, our own digestion of it has completed. This does not mean that digestion is over though. The 5 pounds of bacteria that inhabit the large intestine are happy to feed upon whatever is left. They ferment carbohydrates that you were not able to digest and in doing so produce b-vitamins such as biotin, vitamin K, and short chain fatty acids that serve as an energy source not only for the cells of the intestine but for the rest of the body as well. Short chain fatty acids also help with the repair of cells in the large intestine and provide defense against colon cancer and inflammation in the large intestine. Read more »