SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

By Rob Holston


February 27, 2006

Ketchikan, Alaska - "Hey Karl, what's your transit time?" If you ask this question of a hundred friends who live in or near a big city you will probably get an answer like "Oh, if I leave a half hour early to avoid the rush, I can get to work in 55 minutes, but it takes me an hour and a half to get home."

How about you? What is your TRANSIT time? And why is it important to you? EveryBODY on earth has a transit time. Hint, it has nothing to do with your daily commute but it has everything to do with what should be a daily event. Your transit time is the time it takes for any food you eat to transit the entire length of your GI tract and exit your body. Some of you may have guessed the right answer but how many of us actually know our transit time? What transit time is ideal, why is it important and how can we discover what ours is?

A good transit time for adults is 24 to 36 hours and 12 to 18 hours is optimal. In remote rural world communities, where fiber intake is high and disease states such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer are rare, transit times as low as eight hours have been recorded. In countries and cultures that have adopted the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) the average transit time of a "healthy" adult is three days (72 hours), ten days among the constipated and two weeks for the elderly! Compare this to a good time of 24 to 36 hours or the optimal time of 12 to 18 hours! And we wonder why Americans suffer from obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Transit time is key.

A one to two day transit time is important to everyone who wants to avoid such health concerns as heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, ulcers, diverticulitis, colon cancer, breast cancer, hiatal hernia, obesity, hemorrhoids and constipation. If good health is important to you, it is imperative that you know and manage your transit time.

There are two convenient ways for you to determine your transit time. Both methods utilize ingesting a marker just after a bowel movement and then observing your subsequent stools until the marker appears. The elapsed time from ingestion of the "marker" to the time of its appearance in your stool is your transit time. A good natural marker is raw corn. Swallow a few kernels of raw corn (unchewed). It will eventually show up. The other marker is to swallow charcoal tablets, available at your local drug store, then watch for a black, crumbly-looking output. Transit time varies somewhat, so measure occasionally to monitor your times and get an average.

The healthiest way of getting your transit time into the good range of 24 to 36 hours or the optimal range of 12 to 18 hours is to increase your consumption of fiber and exercise daily. Although the official recommended daily intake of fiber is 30 grams for a 3,000-calorie diet, many health officials recommend at least 50 grams per day. Fresh fruits and vegetables plus whole grain breads and cereals will certainly help. Fiber supplementation is a way to augment these natural sources, but try and find a fiber supplement that has a high percentage of soluble fiber to gain maximum health benefits.

Anyone out there who is suffering from the health concerns listed above or has a family history of such concerns or just wants to experience optimal health should know their transit time and take the dietary steps necessary to optimize transit time and fiber intake. Do a friend a favor and ask them, "What's your transit time?" Their answer and decision on how to change their lifestyle to accomplish optimal transit time may well save their life.


Contact Rob Holston at holston[at]

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