Many do not think about their digestion until they start having problems with it. Digestive problems can not only be uncomfortable, but will develop into more health hazards if not addressed.
Most of the cells in our body replace themselves every 1 to 10 months or so, but the gut cells are replaced every four days! Long story short; If our body does not get the supplies it needs to repair and rebuild, the cells eventually degrade until disease appears. Especially for the gut. Because the gut replaces itself so often, it needs more of a steady supply of nutrients to rebuild itself. If it doesn’t get those supplies from whole food nutrition, (please see my article on vitamins) it breaks down and not cannot properly digest the food we are giving our bodies. Now the rest of our cells suffer and start to break down and disease is underway.
So let’s take a little journey. In our mouth, the enzymes in our saliva start breaking down carbohydrates and sugars as we chew, Then in our stomach, Hydrochloric acid, (HCL), not only further breaks down the bonds of protein and fiber so nutrition can be extracted, HCL kills parasites, unfriendly bacteria and fungus, before it enters the rest of the digestive system and our bloodstream.
Once food leaves the stomach, our pancreas contributes enzymes to further breakdown food. The pH now turns alkaline, (no longer acidic) so nutrients can be absorbed on the 23 foot journey of your small intestine. Here nutrients absorb into the bloodstream and are delivered to all our cells. Probiotics, (friendly bacteria) take care of any bad bacteria that may have survived the stomach acid. (most don’t survive if we have enough HCL).
The colon absorbs excess water and most of the minerals, while probiotics convert what ever is left into nutrients. The rest is sent out as waste.
Signs of HCL deficiency are bloating, burping, a decreased taste for meat, passing gas, (especially foul smelling gas which is methane produced from the food fermenting).
**99% of acid indigestion or heartburn is not from excess acid in your stomach, but from not enough HCL! The food actually starts to ferment and produces foreign acids that cause all the problems arising from poor digestion. Antacids stop your body from producing what acid it has to digest food properly. This just makes the problem worse! Minerals, vitamins and fats need to be broken down first by the HCL in our stomachs.
A few side effects from antacids are:
1. mood swings-the brain is 60% fat and needs healthy fats as well as good digestion to deliver them 2. bone pain-the body needs acid to digest calcium, 3. Increased infections-invaders and bacteria can enter the system because they were not eliminated by the in the stomach. The body is also not getting the nutrients it needs to fight infection before it gets out of hand because the food is not being properly broken down.
In addition to a proper amount of acid in our stomach, the body needs friendly bacteria or PROBIOTICS. Did you know there are 500 different species of friendly bacteria? They are so plentiful in a healthy gut, they weigh about 4 lbs.!
Unfortunately, because of antibiotics and the abundance of processed foods in our diets, many of us don’t have enough probiotics. Probiotics secrete substances that enhance the immune system. They also eliminate bad yeast, unfriendly bacteria, and fungus before they enter the bloodstream. If our probiotics are out numbered by the bad guys, they can’t destroy the unfriendly bacteria, yeast and fungus because there is not enough of them. Then the bad bacteria can proliferate and cause more problems.
A few signs of inadequate probiotics are frequent infections like colds, fatigue, diarrhea, and irritable bowel disease.
So what can we do to get our gut back in balance so it can properly do its job? In part II of digestion, we’ll discuss some natural solutions for a healthy gut!
- www.WeatonAPrice.org Acid Reflux: A Red Flag by Kathryne Pirtle