Is Intestinal Putrefaction A Necessary Evil?

That nature intends the human alimentary tract to be free from putrefactive changes is evidenced by the pains she takes to prevent the development of putrefactive changes in the intestine and to protect the body against the products of decay when changes of this sort occur.

Every human infant—in fact, every young animal—is born sterile. The delicate processes of growth and development can be carried for-ward in a normal way only in the absence of the venomous poisons that are produced by the bacteria that give rise to putrefactive changes. The intestinal discharges of a new-born infant or a new-born animal of any kind are absolutely free from germs.

Within four to six hours in summer and ten to twenty hours in winter bacteria appear in the intestinal discharges. They work their way in from both directions—through the mouth and the anus. In a few days a very rich flora is found in the stools.

Most remarkable and worthy of special note is the fact that these swarming micro-organisms are all of a special kind. None of them are capable of producing putrefaction. They are acid formers—that is, they give rise to fermentation and produce acids.

It is agreed by physiologists that putrefaction of the intestinal contents does not occur in normal conditions. The colon is the waste receptacle of the body. Into it are thrown by peristaltic action, the unusable residues of the food. Nature protects the body by providing a normal intestinal process which maintains a fermentation in the colon, producing acids which stimulate the colon to action; without this fermentation putrefaction would occur with the production of ammonia and other “bacteria” and thus paralyze the colon and cause constipation.