In this digestion series we are now working our way south through the digestive system. If you missed the last blog – check it out here. We talked about how digestion starts with your brain and signals and the proper function of stomach acid, and your stomach. This is essential to the REST of digestion going well. So what happens next…
Once the contents of the stomach have been signaled to empty they are going to enter the small intestine for further breakdown and then distribution of nutrients from the small intestine to the body. However, we have accessory organs involved now to finish the process.
This is essential to proper fat digestion. The gallbladder stores bile so it can be released at meal time to emulsify fats and get them in the right format for use in the body.
This is essential to have the correct chemical reaction from the food leaving the stomach and entering the small intestine. If there is dysfunction anywhere preventing these pancreatic juices from becoming an active part of digestion you run into intestinal problems farther south.
This is also involved in detox, but sugar balance as well. We need to convert sugar to fat when it’s not needed actively in the bloodstream, and the opposite holds true when we need sugar and it’s not available. We need to pull from the fat and convert to sugar. This happens here. When our liver is overloaded with this process, and we need a heavy detox it becomes very burdoned. Things like constipation or diarrhea may also be coming from dysfunction in accessory organs as well.
Once we are past this chemical and conversion process our hopefully broken down food, now enters the small intestine where it’s prepared to go out for distribution of nutrients to the body. Ideally, this is very smooth since all the organs and parts have worked and the small areas inside the small intestine absorb the nutrients and send them out for use, and then send any waste out to the large intestine.
However, unfortunately this is where the most things go wrong.
The Small Intestine
Function north of here is what really changes the environment inside of the small intestine. This is where you want maximum absorption to happen. You need just the right circumstances and nutrients to keep the lining intact, to keep the barrier intact, and then to absorb what you eat. We can experience microbe imbalance from bacteria, to parasites, to yeast if we don’t take proper precautions with our eating habits and nutrients before they reach the small intestine.
Inside of there we absorb, we continue breakdown, and maintain balance and immunity cell growth. If we don’t have these things we get leaky gut, to immunity problems and more.
1. LEAKY GUT! Food comes in at the wrong pH and too chunky. This creates damage and rubbing in the small intestine, and lack of absorption of those nutrients. This results in – LEAKY GUT! You will experience things like gas, bloating, cramping, and even things like diarrhea or constipation can start here in this place.
2. LOADS OF BODY SYMPTOMS! You have microbe imbalance which creates immune problems, digestive problems, and other body system dysfunction. Microbes are there to help with food breakdown and digestive balance. In any direction too strongly, microbes can overgrow (good or bad ones). This leads to many other symptoms in the body, often not even, at first, associated with digestion. You can have migraines, body aches and pains, reoccurring immune reactions, a lot of allergies, repetitive colds and flu, fevers and more.
3. NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY! This comes from the fact that the food isn’t arriving in a form that is useable to the cells. Chunks of food are damaging and useless to the body. They need to be in the elemental form to be distributed for use. The damage to the wall, and breakdown of necessary parts of the small intestine will result in you not being able to absorb the foods you eat. So if you eat an amazing diet and are still struggling – small intestinal dysfunction is likely part of this. The gut lining needs some work, it needs sealing and time to redevelop the appropriate layers inside.
What can we do about this?
1. Slow down eating, and focus on chewing. As you learned from last post, this is how the process of proper digestion begins. If the proper acid is present the proper pH is there and the digestive process will work properly. This will allow your small intestine to receive the food the proper way and distribute the nutrients without problems. Don’t eat on the run. Take time to enjoy a meal and take a few deep breaths.
2. Avoid processed foods, additives, eating out, sugars, sweeteners and more. Most dysfunction in accessory organs comes from having to deal with poor fats, highly inflammatory additives and oils and more. It makes it difficult for the gallbladder to work properly. When eating out, using poor quality oils like vegetable or canola or random seed oils, you are bogging down the way the gallbladder should work. This means you will eventually have detox, fat processing and other digestive problems. Eating a variety of real whole food daily, fruits, vegetables, and good quality proteins you will help the organs work better and keep things from bogging down. You will also keep the stomach environment in tip top shape.
3. Choose not to take antibiotics unless it’s a life-threatening or very critical situation. Most antibiotics today are prescribed for simple infections that clear on their own and often times prescribed without even knowing if the patient is dealing with a bacterial infection or viral infection. This means there is a chance it will be completely useless in infection control. Antibiotics change and kill ANY microbes in the intestines – not just the microbes it was sent in for. This means if you got an antibiotic for an ear infection for your child, (which is almost ALWAYS completely unnecessary as the infection clears without issues with 3-5 days either way) not only does it kill what may be a bacterial infection, but it also kills gut microbes. (Also – side note on ear infections: this is a sign of food sensitivities and already present issues). This leaves your child vulnerable to other health issues. If you do this repetitively you are almost certain that your child will develop digestive, or other issues in immunity down the road. There are other natural options that do not harm the gut that can be done for many infections. Using probiotics can help but not all probiotics are good quality. It’s important to work with a practitioner to get a quality and correct strand probiotic for you or your child.
As you have noticed – it is important to start with the proper way of eating to get proper digestion. It’s all about what happens in the stomach to start and the brain before that. But by changing some habits you can help that function better and help the accessory organs and balance in the gut.
Need help with your gut? Not sure exactly what is going on? Great news – I offer FREE consults to help you learn what might be going on. Check that out here.