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February 20, 2019

Are Enema Kits Safe?

Plus Other Important Colon Cleanse Answers

photo of sky and ocean
  • Commonly available over-the-counter, chemically based enema kits, such as Fleet products, are not safe for regular use.
  • Many people experience latex sensitivity with enema use, sometimes severe. Therefore I recommend plastic, vinyl, or silicone equipment over latex equipment.
  • A quality enema hose clamp is vital to control the flow of your enema solution.
  • The enema nozzle, because it is inserted into the colon, is a key component in keeping your enema kit safe.

As a professional colon hydrotherapist, I've been working with customers and clients for over 20 years using therapeutic enemas.

"Enemas saved my life." I hear this almost every day from people with diverse health issues, from constipation to cancer. I delight in hearing these words and will often ask detailed questions about the customer's home enema process.

Most of the people who tell me enemas saved their lives have taken or are currently taking enemas regularly. Importantly, most of these people have spent time sourcing the right enema equipment for their individual health challenges.

Those emphatically reporting favorable enema experiences to me do not use the following types of commonly available enema kits...

1. Fleet enema kits are over-the-counter products which induce evacuation via the active ingredient sodium phosphate. Sodium phosphate acts primarily by drawing water into the colon, loosening stools and increasing gut motility. These kits are not safe for regular use as they may contribute to electrolyte disturbances and dependency.

2. Fleet and other manufacturers also offer bisacodyl enema kits which directly stimulate the colon (large intestine) to increase rhythmic, wave-like muscle contractions which push feces forward. These enema kits are likewise not safe for regular use as they too may result in electrolyte disturbances and dependency.

3. Mineral oil enema kits introduce a distillate of petroleum into the body -- in other words, something derived from the same stuff you put in your car's engine! These kits act by releasing stuck stools through lubrication and softening of the stool, but are also not safe for regular use due to their petroleum-derived ingredients.

Which enema kits are safe?

Historically the common enema kit used in homes is made out of latex (rubber), which is generally sourced from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). Most hospitals have switched from latex enema equipment to plastic, vinyl, or silicone equipment because many people have or may develop a degree of latex sensitivity, sometimes severe.

Symptoms of a latex allergy can range from minor skin irritation to life-threatening shock. The older a person is, the more likely some sensitivity to latex will arise. Therefore I recommend staying away from latex enema bags and enema hose if possible, especially first-time enema users who may not be aware of sensitivities which could lead to adverse reactions. Exercising caution with the equipment material is strongly advised.

photo of top-selling enema kit Additional home enema safety considerations...

Make sure you use a hook that is strong enough to hold your enema bag. Use a heavy-duty, stainless steel S-hook which allows you to safely hang your enema bag anywhere.

Use a quality clamp. The clamp controls the flow of the therapeutic solution into your colon. You want the clamp to be easy to reach, easy to open and close, and easy to adjust to precisely control the flow volume. A ratchet clamp or a ramp clamp are your best choices for safe enema kits.

The enema nozzle, because it is inserted into the colon, is a key component in keeping your enema kit safe. The enema nozzle should not be uniformly pencil-thin and rigid, because this poses an unnecessary safety risk: such hard, pointy nozzles increase your chances of perforating your colon. For maximum safety, the enema nozzle should have a wider, blunted tip for smooth insertion (see photo below). We sell a quality flex tip nozzle made of soft plastisol which meets this safety standard. Be sure your enema nozzle is well-lubricated with a viscous and nutritious lubricant. The enema nozzle should be gently inserted into the rectum, pointing toward the belly button.

photo of flex tip enema nozzle For a bit of perspective, in the 20+ years I've been working with people who use enemas for optimizing their health, I've had only one client who caused himself a perforated colon with his colon tube when performing a home enema. This client was in the late stages of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and his colon wall was weak, so he was at higher risk for perforation.

What enema ingredients are safe?

As mentioned above, sodium phosphate, stimulant laxatives such as bisacodyl, and mineral oil are not therapeutic choices for use in your enema kit, and can often cause health issues.

Unfortunately, water quality is not great in much of the world. Always use filtered water in your enema.

Water alone can clear the colon from constipation, but it cannot do much more. The Optimal Health Network has developed a 3-step enema series as a gentle process for therapeutically cleansing not only the colon, but the entire body. Home enema benefits include increasing levels of healthy bacteria, reducing levels of unhealthy bacteria, improving liver health, and improving the body's overall detoxification abilities.

Science from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) now shows that the microbiome in the colon is essential for good health. The enema series protocol can be beneficial for people with health struggles such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), prostate issues, anal fissures, hemorrhoids, anxiety, celiac disease, dementia, and heart disease. Scientific research now confirms the connection between an unhealthy microbiome and inflammation, which is the central cause of most pain, mental health imbalances, and disease.

The Optimal Health Network's enema series protocol will help you clear out the entire colon, optimize the health of your microbiome, and feed the cells of the colon wall, all while supporting the body's overall detoxification pathways.

In short, if you find yourself interested in taking enemas, be sure that your enema equipment is safe and that your enema solutions support overall health.

DISCLAIMER: When you purchase any product from Optimal Health Network, Inc., we must presume that it is for personal use under the direct supervision of a medical doctor. We make no claim or guarantee for cure or relief of any specific symptom, medical condition, or disease when using any of the products or protocols presented on this website. DO NOT attempt to self-diagnose or self-prescribe any natural substances for health conditions that require professional attention. Consult your healthcare professional about any serious disease, medical condition, or injury, or if you are pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant.

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December 21, 2018

The Colon Cleanse: A Viable Alternative to Mainstream Colonoscopy Preparation

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is an examination of the colon using a thin flexible tube with a camera at the end which is inserted into the colon through the anus. It is often a somewhat unpleasant procedure, but it is necessary for the detection of polyps — small growths in the lining of the colon, some of which can develop into colon cancer over time.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for colorectal cancer in adults via a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or fecal occult blood test (FOBT), beginning at age 50.

A colonoscopy examines the entire colon, while a sigmoidoscopy covers only the lower part of the colon, also known as the rectum and sigmoid colon.

The colon must be free of all solid material for a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy to be effective. Unfortunately the mainstream preparation for undergoing either of these procedures — fasting and taking a chemical laxative such as NuLYTELY — is time-consuming, often physically uncomfortable, and can cause significant to severe dehydration in many people.

Is colon cleansing via colon hydrotherapy or home enemas a viable alternative to the mainstream colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy preparation?

Yes. Research presented in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine indicates that a colon cleanse to clear the colon of all fecal matter for a cancer screening is a sound alternative to the mainstream approach. In addition to examining the safety, efficacy, and tolerability of a lukewarm saline bowel cleanse as a colonoscopy preparation in comparison with NuLYTELY (a solution of PEG-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, and potassium chloride), this study also examined the beneficial role of yoga postures used in conjunction with the colon cleanse.

Efficacy of Bolus Lukewarm Saline and Yoga Postures as Colonoscopy Preparation: A Pilot Study

How can I make sure my colon is prepared for examination without using chemical laxatives?

Colon hydrotherapy (colonic irrigation) sessions and/or home enemas are great tools to remove all of the solid materials in the colon that make a colonoscopy difficult. Colon cleansing via either of these methods simply uses warm water to wash out the solid materials and can be soothing and comfortable, especially compared with a day on laxatives.

Cleanse the colon thoroughly just prior (within 2 hours of) the examination. In order to cleanse the colon thoroughly, you may need either a professional colon hydrotherapy session or a personal consultation with me, Kristina Amelong, CCT, CNC, of the Optimal Health Network, to successfully prepare the colon at home with an enema series.

Using colon hydrotherapy and/or enemas can help you avoid the discomfort of diarrhea episodes, the potential upset of electrolyte balance, and the need to undergo a longer period of fasting.

Consider talking to your doctor about using enemas or colonic sessions in lieu of the mainstream colonoscopy preparation. It can save you time, money, and much discomfort.

What type of diet should be followed prior to the colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy in conjunction with the colon cleanse?

The Mayo Clinic recommends following a special diet the day before the exam. Typically, you won't be able to eat solid food the day before the exam. Drinks may be limited to plain water; tea or coffee without milk or cream; broth; and/or carbonated beverages. Avoid red liquids, which can be confused with blood during the colonoscopy. You may not be able to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the exam.

Mayo Clinic: Colonoscopy Overview

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November 21, 2018

Hopeful Possibilities of Preventing or Slowing Bone Loss through Probiotics

Bone fractures due to osteoporosis very often have tragic consequences, with complications from hip fractures causing a mortality rate of 24%-30% during the first year following injury, and an almost 50% rate of permanent disability (Burge et al., 2007). Unfortunately the high cost and challenging side effects of the major osteoporosis drugs currently on the market lead to most osteoporosis cases going untreated or undertreated. Therefore there is an urgent need to find less expensive, effective, and well-tolerated strategies not only for treating osteoporosis after its onset, but in particular for preventing or slowing initial bone loss in the aging population.

Nutritional supplementation with probiotics (viable microorganisms that provide a health benefit when ingested in adequate quantities) may represent one hopeful strategy in fighting bone loss, which can begin as early as age 40. A recent study published in the journal Immunity tested the ability of the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) to enhance bone growth. The study, using laboratory mice, revealed that this probiotic stimulated the growth of gut bacteria that produce a particular metabolite called butyrate. Butyrate, in turn, prompted T cells in bone marrow to produce a protein called Wnt10b, which is vital for bone growth (see graphical abstract). States the study's senior author, Roberto Pacifici: "We were surprised by the potency of the gut microbiome in regulating bone and by the complexity of the mechanism of action of probiotics."

Human bone is not a static structure. Bone is made up of living tissue that is continuously being broken down and remade into new bone by the body. This natural rebuilding cycle is robust typically only through one's 20s. By around age 30, the body stops increasing bone mass, and beyond age 40, more bone is often being broken down than is being replaced. This slowdown tends to be more pronounced in women than men, and therefore older women are generally at higher risk of developing osteoporosis than men.

Pacifici explains that his team's bone growth findings still need to be validated in human studies. If such studies are successful, this could lead to a promising and more affordable protocol through targeted probiotics for both optimizing skeletal development in young people and helping to prevent osteoporosis in older people.

I recommend Ortho Molecular's Ortho Biotic oral supplement as a trusted source of the Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotic which was tested in this study. More broadly, I highly recommend this product's overall proprietary blend of probiotics to many of my clients, especially those with digestive difficulties and those using enemas as part of a colon cleanse regimen. Ortho Biotic has guaranteed potency at ingestion, and has been scientifically formulated for room temperature storage. No is refrigeration needed.


Read Full Study:
The Microbial Metabolite Butyrate Stimulates Bone Formation via T Regulatory Cell-Mediated Regulation of WNT10B Expression

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November 1, 2018

Beware Counterfeit Nutritional Supplements on Amazon!

It is well-known that many consumers turn to online retail behemoth Amazon for cheaper alternatives on many types of products that they traditionally would have bought at local brick-and-mortar stores. In addition to lower prices and enticing shipping deals, the simple convenience of items being delivered to one's doorstep is often a driving factor in a consumer deciding to shop from Amazon.

Perhaps understandably, but very unfortunately, this ever-increasing inclination to visit Amazon for much of one's shopping needs extends to nutritional supplements, which have become a riskier arena for consumers. Numerous investigations by consumer advocacy groups over the years have revealed that unauthorized third-party resellers on Amazon have been able to sell counterfeit versions of many top-selling supplements. We should not be surprised that counterfeiters are able to profit by exploiting Amazon's trust factor to sell fake products (supplements and so much more) to unsuspecting Amazon customers, because the reality is that it's very difficult for Amazon to adequately police the tens of thousands of third-party sellers who sell products through the site. Some counterfeiters are of course caught and shut down, but many others continue to operate through stealth and deceptive strategies. In chameleon-like fashion, many counterfeiters exploit Amazon's e-commerce infrastructure by shifting from one seller name to another. If one seller account gets shut down, a counterfeiter may have several other accounts to fall back on, often maintaining overall visibility on Amazon through these shifting accounts. Typically at least some of a counterfeiter's Amazon accounts may be created as "throwaway" accounts to ensure that the deception survives over the longer term.

Counterfeit supplements typically include inert fillers rather than the active ingredients that appear on the label. In many cases, products not containing what the label indicates can obviously present dangers to consumers, who may be unknowingly ingesting substances that they are allergic to, or could seriously harm them in other ways. Not all ingredient substitutions by counterfeiters are inert!

Counterfeiting has also been discovered in nutritional product lines for pets. Nutramax Laboratories, a pet supplement specialist, states that "the counterfeit products we have examined to date were essentially made of a starchy filler compound that is often used in pills, capsules, and other ingestible products... Pets are not receiving any of the needed health benefits of authentic Nutramax products. For these reasons, we are treating these counterfeit products as a threat to pets' safety and well-being."

The wellness protocols I have developed and present on the Optimal Health Network website, and recommend through my personal health consultations with clients, include a wide array of quality supplements for both humans and their pets. We take extensive measures to assess the reputation and safety standards of our supplement vendors, and all nutritional supplements sold through our website are guaranteed authentic and accurate as labeled.

One of our long-time vendors, Ortho Molecular, partners exclusively with health care providers and has been working diligently in recent years to get illegal online sellers of its products off of Amazon and other retail sites. It is a battle that Ortho Molecular fights every day as part of its dedication to ensuring and nurturing the safest channel for bringing its products to consumers: via formal dialogue between health practitioners and their patients, within a context of an individualized health assessment and the dispensing of products via an established practitioner/vendor relationship.

OHN strongly believes in doctor/patient interaction as a basis for implementing health and wellness protocols and always encourages its customers to make product purchases based on consultation with a family doctor or other medical professional. Furthermore, as a certified colon hydrotherapist and nutritional consultant, I welcome one-on-one health consultations with my clients via a secure online intake form and appointment booking system. Through these consultations and follow-up dispensing of products via phone purchase or OHN's website, I strive to ensure that my clients are receiving the appropriate individual support they need, and with clinically proven products that are accurate as labeled. While clients can sometimes find cheaper prices for my prescribed products on Amazon, this is potentially a dangerous gamble given the many documented instances of product counterfeiting by third-party resellers. Buyer beware!

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October 30, 2018

The Scoop on Powdered Bone Broth

When the bone broth movement began several years ago, it was a celebration of a return to traditional, nutrient-dense, healing foods.

Many of us began to recognize that the rise of disease and lack of optimal health, happiness, and energy that we're experiencing is a product of the processed, inferior foods we're buying into. So we began ditching our microwaves, TV dinners, and processed foods in favor of real, ancestral foods once again.

But, as the old adage says, history repeats itself. This is evident in the genesis of products like powdered bone broth and K-cup bone broth. That is, an attempt to take a healing, REAL food and turn it into a processed convenience food.

Here's the problem: all of the studies on the power and benefits of bone broth are done on traditionally prepared broth, not processed versions. By deconstructing bone broth, you lose the very essence of what makes it the nourishing, healing food that it is. Properly prepared bone broth is more than its individual properties:
  • bioavailable collagen
  • abundant amino acids
  • vitamins and minerals
  • glucosaminoglycans
  • healthy fats and much more!
Bone broth is a synergy of all its properties working together. Add to that the aroma, warmth, deliciousness, energy, love, and nostalgia, and you begin to understand that real bone broth is an EXPERIENCE: you can actually FEEL it nourishing your cells. I dare say you miss that experience when you drink powdered water from a blender cup in your car!

I'm not going to say there are no shortcuts in life. There are some. But bone broth is not one of them. We could take shortcuts and powder our broth. Charge less, and make a huge profit. But integrity does not allow it. In the case of bone broth, you do get what you pay for.

If you're in the market for bone broth, then you likely value your health and wellness. So do your research. Ask questions. How is it being made? Who is making it? Look at reviews and credentials.

While I do sometimes supplement with probiotics or use green powders (from companies that I've researched and vetted for myself), I do so with full knowledge that it isn't providing the same benefits as eating fermented foods or real vegetables. If a green powder manufacturer claimed I would never have to eat another vegetable again if I used their product every day, I would seriously question their ethics.

Bone broth is not a fad. It's a traditional, healing FOOD. And, if done right, it tastes freakin' good! Our commitment is to providing the best-tasting, most healing bone broth. We will continue to look for ways to make packaging and shipping easier — in ways that do not compromise our values.

To learn more about the health benefits of bone broth soup, read my book, Kristina Amelong's Ten Days to Optimal Health.

For those who don't eat meat, find it unpleasant to work with the bones, or do not consume bone broth for other reasons, alternatively I recommend one daily scoop of Ortho CollaGEN Powder dissolved in 8 oz of water. This supplement is formulated to nutritionally support cartilage, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and skin.

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August 25, 2018

The Deadly Consequences of Weed Killers

In a milestone legal decision against large agribusiness, a California jury earlier this month reached a unanimous verdict that Monsanto, manufacturer of the widely used herbicide Roundup, must pay $289 million in punitive damages to Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who claims that exposure to the product has left him terminally ill with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

This landmark case, expedited due to the plaintiff's deteriorating condition, may set the precedent for thousands of other cases filed by cancer victims against Monsanto over the controversial active ingredient glyphosate in Roundup, about 100 million pounds of which is applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classifies glyphosate as a "probable human carcinogen". The state of California includes glyphosate on its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

Johnson's lawyers argued that Monsanto has failed to disclose to the public the potential health risks of its top-selling product and that for many years the company has "fought science" and attempted to "bully" researchers who have warned about Roundup's carcinogenic properties.

The EPA considers glyphosate to have "low toxicity" when used at the recommended doses, and Monsanto lawyers contend that numerous studies have shown Roundup to be safe when used as instructed, but this plainly and frighteningly fails to account for cumulative residual effects throughout the environment and in the food supply, accidental high exposure to individuals using it, and the amplified toxic effect of glyphosate when combined with Roundup's other ingredients -- a proprietary mix of so-called "inert" solvents, preservatives, and surfactants. A recent study cited in Scientific American found that when combined with glyphosate, Roundup's "inert" ingredients (such as polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA) actually increase the product's toxicity to human cells, even at concentrations far more diluted than those used on crops such as soybeans, alfalfa, and corn as well as on residential parks and lawns.

How can you protect yourself and nurture your health with residual toxins from products such as Roundup all around us?

1) Purchase 100% organic food.

2) Thoroughly wash all produce, both organic and non-organic. Also dry and wipe down your produce. (Even after washing, herbicide residue may still remain if items are not wiped down appropriately.)

3) Peel off outer layers of produce whenever possible.

4) Consider avoiding or decreasing consumption of certain non-organic foods known to generally contain higher residual levels of glyphosate. These include soy products, corn and corn oil, canola seeds used in canola oil, beets and beet sugar, carrots, sweet potatoes, almonds, and dried peas.

5) Detoxify your body with a home-based enema series protocol. Our website offers extensive education on how to safely perform enemas, along with affordable, high-quality colon cleansing supplies for sale to help you succeed in your healing or detoxification goals!



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August 13, 2018

Microplastic Contamination in Sea Salt

An ever-increasing level of plastic pollution in the natural environment throughout the world is familiar to all of us as an ugly fact of expanding human population and activity. However, until somewhat recently much less attention was given to microparticles of plastics and other synthetic materials contaminating the food we eat and the water we drink. Not surprisingly, numerous studies of these particulates show toxicity to humans if ingested. The body of research is steadily growing, helping us better understand to what degree human health is being compromised through (often unknowing) consumption of these microplastics.
Plastics can leach synthetic additives such as phthalates, alkylphenols, and bisphenol A, which can be cytotoxic to human cells. Many compounds contained in plastics are known hormone disruptors, and microplastics in particular have been shown to attract microbial pathogens.

According to 2013 research by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Arizona State University, "Everybody is being exposed to some degree [of plastic ingestion] at any given time, from gestation through death. Detectable levels of [the plastic] bisphenol A have been found in the urine of 95% of the adult population of the United States."

The sobering reality is that scientists have struggled to accurately research the impact of plastic on the human body, because they cannot find a control group of humans who have not been exposed. All humans are exposed to plastic pollution in some manner -- through oceans, lakes, rivers, rain and snow, the air, the land, our diets, and/or the products we buy and use. We are all unavoidably contaminated by the synthetics we produce.

Plastic, essentially indestructible unless burned, makes up about half of all human-related waste. The last 45 years have seen the total global output in plastic production climb from 30 million tons in 1970 to 322 million tons in 2015 -- a more than ten-fold increase. One study laments, "Hopes of closing the loop on the plastic waste stream depend on overall recycling rates, which vary widely across the globe, even among developed nations with well-established recycling infrastructure. Europe, for example, recycled 26% of disposable plastics in 2012, while the United States reported rates as low as 8.8% in the same year."

The referenced study analyzed tap water, beer, and sea salt samples for contaminants. Among all sea salt samples analyzed, a total of 461 anthropogenic (human-made) particles were identified. The vast majority (99.3%) of these were classified as fibers, while the remaining particles were identified as fragments. The average length of each fiber was 1.09 mm with a range of 0.1 mm to 5 mm. Of the 12 salt samples, 8 had one or more particles in the second filtration step for a total of 23 particles. The average length of the particles found in the second filtration was 1.05 mm, about 0.04 mm smaller than the particles found in the samples as a whole. The most common particulate color was blue, followed by red/pink, and then clear.

Sherri Mason, a professor of chemistry at the State University of New York at Fredonia, believes sea salt could be more vulnerable to plastic contamination because of how it is made, through a process of dehydration of sea water.

UPDATE: We are very pleased to report that Selina Naturally, maker of the Celtic Sea Salt brand long carried and recommended by Optimal Health Network for enema series protocols, has conducted rigorous testing of its products for microplastics and other pollutants. All testing has indicated no contamination, and supporting certificates have been provided to us by Selina Naturally. Thus we will once again be offering this quality product in selected enema kits beginning in April 2019.

Learn more: Anthropogenic contamination of tap water, beer, and sea salt

Learn more: We are living on a plastic planet. What does it mean for our health?

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DISCLAIMER: This blog and any linked material are presented for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or prescribing from a licensed healthcare professional. Nothing contained in or accessible from this blog should be considered a medical diagnosis, promise of benefits, claim of cure, legal warranty, or guarantee of results to be achieved. When you purchase any product from Optimal Health Network, Inc., we must presume that it is for personal use under the direct supervision of your medical doctor. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked material. Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before altering or discontinuing any current medications, treatment, or care, or starting any diet, exercise, cleansing, or supplementation program, or if you have or suspect you might have a health condition that requires medical attention. The United States Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated any statement, claim, or representation made on this blog.

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