I’m not asking how quickly you type, run, or solve calculus problems.  I’m asking you how fast or slow food travels from your mouth to the other end of your digestive tract. This piece of information is known as your intestinal transit time and it can say a lot about you.

Intestinal transit time varies widely from person to person.  The average time food travels from one end to the other is about 24-40 hours.  The reason I am being vague about this is that there is quite a variation based on what foods you are eating.  Food does not travel at the same speed from one end to the other.  Softer foods like fruits will generally travel really fast, whereas a steak can take a lot longer, even if both foods are eaten at the same time.

So what does your transit time tell you about your overall health?  Too many things to name here, but here are some bullets:

Slow Transit Times are associated with:

Fast transit times are associated with:

  • Loose Stool – Bowel urgency
  • Anxiety
  • Indigestion – Inability to extract the nutrition from your food
  • Chronic Lower Back Pain or Hip Pain
  • ADD / ADHD
  • Micronutrient deficiencies
  • Cognitive Decline

Do you want to try a simple test to see what your transit time is like?  All you need is to run over to the supermarket and pick up some white sesame seeds.  Add a teaspoon of white sesame seeds to a cup of water and swallow them whole, make sure you don’t chew them.  Sesame seeds have a coating that prevents their absorption unless they are chewed up.  Mark the time you took the seeds and then count how many hours it takes for you to see them in your poop.  They should stand out pretty clearly.

If you see them in less than 24 hours, your transit time is on the fast end of the scale…less than 12 hours and I would be concerned about digestive issues.  If you are over 35 hours then your transit time is on the slow end and if you don’t see the seeds for a few days then there is another reason for concern.

The goal is not to wait until you feel bad enough to see a doctor.  The goal should be to notice imperfections and learn about ways to fix them.  Whether you have a fast transit, slow transit, or just want to be your best, reach out so we can learn how to optimize your life!


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Yours in health,

Dr. Jason Piken DC, CNS, PAK

Dr. Jason Piken

Dr. Jason Piken is a Chiropractor, Certified Nutrition Specialist and Health Coach who offers a unique holistic and whole body approach to nutrition and wellness.

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