Yes, you have one in your perfect body, every one does (hopefully!!) In Paris in the year 1579, a young medical student practicing private dissection discovered a small deviation between the small intestine and the large intestine.

ileocecal valveFurther exploration revealed this anatomical discovery to be a valve of sorts, regulating the flow of digested matter. That student was Gaspard Bauhin, hence the name Bauhin’s valve. He was just 19 years old and continued on to a flourishing life of science, medicine, botany, anatomy, philosophy and even Greek. Can you imagine that? Being just 19 years old, in Paris, and rather than shooting hoops in your spare time, you’re dissecting cadavers. Even better, you’re in uncharted territory, no manual to follow. In fact, several years later, he went on the produce one of the most comprehensive anatomy texts of its time; the Theatrum anatomicum- Microcosmographia, A Description of the Body of Man(1605). He did other major works in the realm of botany and anatomy but I digress.

Bauhin’s valve is also called the ileocecal valve (ICV). It is located between the terminal ileum and the ascending colon, in more general terms between the small intestine and the large intestine. It has only recently been suggested by scientists that the ICV is actually a sphincter. It is made up of two mucus folds that work together to open and close and efficiently regulate the flow of food from the small intestine to the large intestine. The mucusfolds also contain lymph tissue so it is theorized that the ICV also aids in toxin removal and immune balance. The ileocecal valve is in the same area as the appendix and can sometimes lend itself to misdiagnosis of appendicitis if it is inflamed or blocked.
ICVThe super interesting thing about your ileocecal valve? It aids in the absorption of vitamin B12 and helps neutralize the digestive acids/bile salts found in the food moving through your small intestine. If your ileocecal valve stops working well it can impact your ability to absorb Vitamin B12, which in turn can lead to an array of health issues.
The ileocecal valve is heavily influenced by the state of your stress levels and can create digestive havoc just by slight malfunctioning. If the valve stops opening, you end up with a backup of digesting food which in time can become toxic and at the very least contributes to constipation. If the valve doesn’t close appropriately you can end up with a free for all of waste and digesting food going back and forth between the small and large intestine, which creates all kinds of issues. Both malfunctions contribute to nutrient deficiency.
So, how do you keep Bauhin’s Valve happy? First and foremost, manage your stress levels! Eat foods that contribute to overall health and wellness. Avoid eating foods that are inflammatory, like fried foods, fast food, manufactured foods with additives and synthetic chemicals. Lastly, a little nice belly massage in a clockwork rotation can be a nice treat for your ICV as can a castor oil compress.

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