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What's your transit time?

markatger's picture
Posts: 315
Joined: Feb 2005

Hi Everyone,

A week ago or so I think RunnerZ posted that he had a lot of success with Dannon Activia yogurt. Its advertised as "helping to reduce long intestinal transit time."

I have read that the time that it takes food to travel from mouth on out is important. If this "transit time" is too long, toxin can be reabsorbed into system or be sitting on the the colon lining damaging it and (surprise surprise) causing cancer. Transit time that is too short will not allow for proper absorption of nutrients.

You can tell what your tranist time is by noting the color of your BMs in relation to what you ate. (sorry) I read also about a more definitve test, by which you can take a charcoal tablet (normally used for diarrhea, i believe). The charcoal will turn your BMs black and will be very easy to spot when it comes out.

Since my ileostomy reversal, it seems like my transit time is almost 2 days!!! I think this is too long. But it is strange, I have many bowel movements a day because I have a reconstructed rectum. I can't imagine "speeding" things up. I would worry that I would be going to the bathroom even more. I need to talk more to my naturopath about this, but was curious for anyones thoughts on this.


KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I first thought you were asking about to and from treatment...hehehehehe, should have remembered which board this is.....

I, to, have a "new" rectum. My transit time can vary wildly, depending on what the food intake is. I know (oh boy, here it comes) that water helps all around. I was the original suggester of this yogurt, and I hope everyone is going to realize that it may not work for all. I just was tired of diarreha each night after dinner. This tightens up the stool, and I still do pass stool 2 times daily, but it is under control.

I am investigating a different delivery of these 3 cultures....I have a friend with no remaining colon at all that does macrobiotics, and he has (surprisingly) control most of the time. He has a true J-pouch...connected right to the small intestine....

Until I find something else, the Activia yogurt works for me, even tho I am lactose intollerant and so you would think that I would not be able to handle the milk in it...

Hugs, Kathi

markatger's picture
Posts: 315
Joined: Feb 2005

Oh, that's interesting that you were using the yogurt to slow things down. I thought everyone would use it to speed things up.. maybe it can work both ways.

I drink plenty of water, eat fiber and exercise. I thought maybe my slow transit time could be a remnant of my colon not being used for 8 months. And that it is still a little sluggish.


lfondots63's picture
Posts: 822
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Maria,

I'm wondering what a "good" transit time is. Unfortunately I'm sure I'm like others and worry that mine is too long. I know that too much senekot is not good for you too. It makes the bowels black and you can't absorb nutrients. I'm not real good at drinking water so I try herbal teas. They are all still good cold. I can't wait to find out what else you find out from the naturopath. Happy Friday!

Lisa F.

Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Here's a pretty simple explanation of GI transit times:


Can't comment on what's good or not (transit time varies a lot). But (being the doglover), I can tell you that the GI transit time in dogs is MUCH shorter (so much so that sometimes sustained release tablets formulated for humans can pass through the GI tract of dogs without being fully absorbed - more than you wanted to know, I am sure.)

I really don't think you should go around taking charcoal tablets to test your transit time. Even if the black stool gives you a clue, it is I think just a clue about your GI transit time for that particular ingestion of charcoal.

Also, while chronic use of something like Senokot is not good, it works in the colon. The majority of nutrient absorption occurs in the small intestine, so in general a laxative such as Senokot will not interfere with nutrient absorption.

Take care,

markatger's picture
Posts: 315
Joined: Feb 2005

Charcoal tablets are actually a home remedy for gas not diarrhea as i thought....hee, yeah that wouldn't really make sense to take it if it was used to bind things up. But no it used for gas. I have seen it used in MD studies with radio markers as well to test transit time. Pretty sure its safe and somewhat if not perfectly accurate.

markatger's picture
Posts: 315
Joined: Feb 2005

I found this on Yahoo Health :



The time it takes for food to travel through the digestive tract is known as bowel transit time. Bowel transit time varies considerably, even when repeated on the same person. Generally, the first marker should appear in the stool about 14 to 24 hours after ingestion, and the last should appear within 36 to 48 hours. A bowel transit time that is much longer (72 hours or more) indicates slowed bowel function. Talk to your health professional if you do a bowel transit test at home and get abnormal results.

Bowel transit times are affected by certain medications and medical conditions.

Very long transit times may be caused by a narrowing (stricture) in your intestine, an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), complications of diabetes, or Hirschsprung's disease.
Short transit times may be caused by inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal infections, lactose intolerance, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Hey Maria,
Do you have a good gastroenterologist? He/she might have some good info. I don't know, though, I think two days sounds
long...And I totally agree that too long of a period of digestion to getting out is a problem; in fact that is one of the many
reasons why red meat is considered to be sooooo bad for us...It supposedly takes red meat about four days to break down.
If you are are juicing with beets, you will definitely know how about the transit time...The red pigment will be noticed! Also,
Google Chlorella. It is a blue green algae that is loaded with chlorophyl. It really helps digestion and will add a green color...
I don't have alot of answers for you about the reattachment issue; not something I know about at all...But I am sure many others might. I can suggest a really good probiotic, though...BioK. You can find it in the cooled section of Whole Foods health/beauty (supplement) department. It is loaded with active, healthy cultures.
Okay, I hope you get some other really good posts. Take care - Maura

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