Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family

Tracking Transit Time

By Sarah Axtell, ND October 15, 2020

Intestinal transit is the time it takes food to pass through the entire digestive tract. An optimal transit time is between 18-24 hours.

A slow transit time is associated with constipation and increases the likelihood of bowel toxemia and dysbiosis. I find SIBO is the most common underlying cause of slow transit time due to an impaired migrating motor complex.

A fast transit time is associated with diarrhea and can lead to poor nutrient absorption. Common causes of fast transit time are food sensitivities or allergies, parasitic infections, and/or bacterial infections.

How to track transit time:

  • Sesame seeds- mix 1-2 TBSP white sesame seeds in water and swallow them whole. Watch for intact sesame seeds in your stool.
  • Beets- Eat 1 cup of cooked or raw beets. Watch for the your stool to turn red.

Differences in transit time of men versus women:

This study revealed that the predicted intestinal transit time was longer in women than men at equivalent ages. Women of childbearing age had longer transit times than older women

How to improve transit time:

If you have a slower transit time and struggle with constipation, cleaning up your diet, staying adequately hydrated, and addressing SIBO can all help. I have also found a blend of 5-HTP, ginger, and acetyl-l-carnitine to be effective.

5-HTP stimulates enteric neurons through activation of 5HT4 receptors. Ginger modulates serotonin signaling by additional 5HT4 stimulation and by binding type 3 (5HT3) receptors in the enteric nervous system and brain stem, supporting gastric emptying, intestinal transit, healthy visceral sensation. Acetyl-l-carnitine supports autonomic neuronal health and contributes acetyl groups for the synthesis of acetylcholine, supporting neurotransmission of signals to encourage healthy motility.

For more information on signs of a healthy bowel movements, see this post.

Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.


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