Heal Your Gut

There are entire books written about the topic of digestion. More than 100 million Americans  have digestive problems.  For those of you who are reading this, you likely don’t have a gallbladder and thus have an additional challenge to a healthy gut.

The question is was your gallbladder the underlying issue to the symptoms you were having that led to the removal of your gallbladder?  OR was the underlying issue somewhere else in the digestive system?

The gut can be a  seemingly complex system, but it can be broken down into elements that can be addressed and restored. Read more in the free ebook.

According to Dr. Mark Hyman two of the top five selling drugs in America are for digestive problems, and they cost us billions of dollars.   There are also more than 200 over the counter remedies for digestive disorders. Unfortunately many of them can create additional digestive problems.

Office visits to the doctor for digestive disorders  are among the most common reasons for  office calls.

This is meant to be an overview so you can understand about the physical process at work.  Having a healthy gut means more than not having any symptoms like abdominal pain or indigestion.  Your gut is central to everything in the body. Most problems start in the gut.

The first step of digestion actually starts when you put food in your mouth and start chewing or hopefully chew your food according to nutrition experts at least 20 times.  Do you  chew your food 20 times?  Your mouth actually releases enzymes from your salivary glands to begin chemically breaking down your food into a size your body can absorb.

So the first problem with digestion actually starts in the mouth if you do not chew your food well enough.  Sounds easy doesn’t it, it is.  Just be aware of chewing!

The food then moves into the stomach where hydrocholoric acid meets the food.  Your stomach is highly acidic which is actually a protective mechanism against harmful bugs like viral bacterial or parasites.  This is  where the second problem occurs.  As we age stomach acid starts to drop.  Stress is also a factor that decreases the acid which then makes it harder for the food to break down and be absorbed for energy.

Another often forgotten issue in the stomach is the importance of B12 to help the function of the stomach.  It is a vital vitamin necessary for food digestion and absorption.  B12 can only be absorbed through having enough stomach acid content. So if you are not producing enough HCL, your body is not going to get enough B12.

Dr. Mercola has a great summary of the stomach and hydrochloric acid.  Compromised stomach acidity is a common challenge to optimal digestion.

So as you age, it has become common to experience  heartburn, indigestion and contrary to what you may think or have been told, these issues are almost typically caused by a reduction in stomach acid, not the over production of stomach acid.

So the second problem lies in the stomach when hydrocholoric acid is low.  I also believe B12 plays a factor and also needs to be monitored.  Do you have enough HCL and B12 to properly digest?

 From here the food moves to the small intestine where there are about 100 trillion bacteria living in your gut.  It’s now been discovered that that is about 10times more than the total number of cells in your body!  Those bacteria make up about 3-5 pounds of your body weight. Think about that!

Those bacteria help to break down your food so proper absorption is   achieved.  There are many issues that can occur here because of an imbalance in bacteria but are not the point of this segment.  We will just acknowledge that an imbalances can promote growth of viral, bacterial and fungal infections that can produce challenges like Irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, PMS, fibromyalgia and food allergies to name a few.

Along with the bacteria,  digestive enzymes play a vital role that are also necessary to help digest your food. I want to acknowledge them as they are an important key but not the focus of this segment.

We have talked about the burst of bile comes from the gallbladder into the small intestine to help digest fats and nutrients more in depth in the ebook.    With the mechanism for bile regulation removed, your GI tract may receive too much or to little so modifications must take place to compensate for how your body is adjusting to the change.

The take away here is that imbalances in bacteria and enzymes can lead to many problems.  Unfortunately most doctors don’t look at these factors which are needed for optimal digestion.  Do you have enough enzymes and a good balance of bacteria to promote absorption that creates energy? Or do you have viral, bacterial or parasitic or fungal infection thats blocking you?

It’s an exciting trip through your digestive system. I hope you can appreciate the complexity but also that there are key concepts that can be addressed when imbalances are found to restore a balance to the entire digestive system.

To summarize:

  1. You need enough HCL
  2. If you don’t have enough HCL, you can become B12 deficient and invite bugs to grow in the gut.
  3. In the small intestine, bacteria and enzymes live and need an environment of balance and harmony. Without a balance, again bugs grow such as viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal issues which then creates havoc in the entire body.
  4. Bile must be regulated since there is no “container” to hold it any more which can produce to much or little producing commonly diarrhea, gas bloating indigestion and at times constipation for some.

This was an  brief overview of your digestive system, don’t worry if you were overwhelmed, its a guide to help you understand the importance of balancing the entire system.  There is not just one element to having a healthy gut and perhaps thats why no longer having a gallbladder which seemed like the answer at one time  didn’t really identify the underlying problem and symptoms remain.

If you still have symptoms, that just means there is more detective work that needs to be done to identify the underlying issue or issues and restore balance to the digestive system.

The last take away I will say about the digestive system is that this is also where you experience your “gut feelings”

We often dismiss them but it is said our emotional seat lies within our gut.

Some people are aware of gut feelings and I have often found myself putting my hand on my gut when I need to make a decision.  If I have a couple options, I think of one and see how my gut feels. If it feels good, then I likely will follow that but if it doesn’t feel good, I likely should not follow it.  It can be a guide though it can be a foreign concept for people, its worth investigating and checking in with your gut from time to time and have a conversation!