Understanding Digestion

Very few people think of what happens once food is swallowed and enters the digestive system. Mostly it is a mystery. It tastes great, made me feel good and eventually passes out as waste. Beyond that a person might give it a thought only when they have tummy pain or another digestion malady.

The story of digestion is the stunning tale of how food on your plate in front of you is smashed to tiny particles, and literally wrenched to pieces in a stew of acid and enzymes; made minute enough to travel into your bloodstream and feed your brain, muscles, heart and so on.

Ideally it works silently in the background, and thankfully so. It takes roughly six hours after ingestion to complete the digestive process, and if you felt every gurgle of absorption and every tug of food churning along, you might never want to eat again.

One of the main functions of your stomach and intestines is to help food evade the immune system and to prevent it provoking an immune response. This is a lesser known fact but highly important. Your food is foreign to your body and does not belong inside it. Should it be absorbed improperly broken-down then the immune system will see it as a threat and mount an immune response. This can lead to low grade discomfort after eating or more likely make you feel tired and lethargic half an hour to an hour after your meal.

The intestinal tract is made up of a fleshy, moist wall – a thick muscular tube with many layers that provide a hefty boundary between food and the bloodstream. This wall is lined with millions of individual cells that perform the function of absorbing food and stopping unwanted substances from entering deep into your body. These cells take the brunt of your food every day, including helping ward off pathogens. An intact, healthy intestinal wall is your first line of defence against food-borne ills and chills, and needs consideration and looking after.

Poor food choices, excess alcohol, coffee, sugar, low quality fats, energy and carbonated drinks, processed foods, over cooked foods, excess heavy meats, nitrates, sulphates, some preservatives, fast foods, medications, stress, chronic illnesses, and drugs over time can lead to an erosion of the thickness of the intestinal wall and in some cases allowing microbes and undigested food particles through into the bloodstream via gaps between the cells lining it. In a healthy intestine the gaps should not be there. This circumvents the two main purposes of the digestive tract – breaking food down and getting it past the immune system.

The solution is twofold. Remove what is placing the intestinal wall under stress and provide nutrients to support a healthy, normal, intact intestinal wall. Stress plays a major factor. The vagal nerve which helps operate the digestive tract sends its signals out from the same part of the brain that creates emotions. Stress equals emotional turmoil ergo signals to the intestines are stressed.

Consider supplementing with Quercetin as it helps support a healthy, intact gut wall. Turmeric is ideal for supporting digestion where there is discomfort. Lactoferrin is brilliant for supporting balanced levels of microbes in the digestive tract and normal digestive immune function. Zinc Carnosine is a specialised form of zinc that holds the zinc against the gut wall aiding in the support of normal gut integrity.

Above all decrease the stress in your life; increase love, laughter and happiness, and eat fresh, whole foods wherever possible.

TAPS No: PP1143

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