Gut transit time can be tested at home very easily and it gives you a nice estimate of how well your digestive system is functioning.
Disorders like IBS, chronic constipation and diarrhoea are very common so it’s wise to regularly gauge your digestive health.
You don’t always need expensive lab tests or trips to the doctor to do this.
If your gut transit time is too fast, you wont digest and absorb nutrients properly.
On the other hand, if it is too slow, you will get backed up, constipated and actually reabsorb toxins that your body is trying to get rid of.
Either situation can cause major problems.
Gut transit time is the time it takes for food to move from mouth to anus and out again.
More specifically, the transit time is the time from the point you eat a food until it FIRST appears in your stool.
An ideal transit time is typically deemed to be 12-24 hours.
Unfortunately, unless there is a diarrhoeal disorder, transit time is often much longer than 12-24 hours because so many people have sluggish, constipated digestive systems.
What is gut retention time?
Retention time is slightly different – it’s the time from the point you eat a food until it LAST appears in your stool.
How to test your gut transit and retention times
It’s really easy to test your gut transit and retention times.
You’ll need to buy some activated charcoal capsules, which turn your stools very dark.
Take 3-4 charcoal capsules with breakfast (make sure you record the time you take them).
Observe your bowel movements.
Your transit time is recorded when you first see the charcoal appear in the stool (the stool will be much darker).
Your retention time is recorded when you last see the darkened stool (stool is no longer darkened).
This test is obviously not conducted with military precision, but it will give you a good idea of how healthy your transit time is.
You should see the charcoal appear in your stool within 12 hours or the next day.
It your stool should lighten in colour again after about 60 hours (2.5 days).
If it’s significantly faster or slower than this, perhaps it would be worth while getting a more thorough check up.
Certainly, it’s worth looking into obvious causes such as gluten, dairy, soy, sugar and other common digestive symptom triggers.
If nothing else, it’s very much worth while changing your diet to see if this makes a difference.
If your bowels are moving too quickly or too slowly, there is always a reason.
Some of the more common ones are food intolerances, sulphur and histamine intolerance, parasites, Candida, SIBO, low stomach acid and so on.
Other factors include stress, magnesium deficiency, zinc deficiency, thyroid imbalances and heavy metals.
You know my opinions about digestive health by now – an unhealthy gut leads to an unhealthy body and mind.
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