The most basic and misunderstood function in our body, digestion

Let’s start our journey with  one of the most basic and misunderstood functions in our body, digestion.

Good digestion and elimination are let food be thy medicineessential for a healthy and long life.  If we do not each healthy food, digest it well and eliminate the waste, how can we expect to be healthy?

We need to eat clean, healthy food that is not loaded with chemicals. The food should be chewed well. This helps mix the food with saliva to begin the digestion process.  When this bolus of well chewed food enters the stomach, it gets mixed with hydrochloric acid and some more enzymes that starts the breakdown of the food we eat.

Just eating healthy food is not enough.  We need to digest it, extract the nutrients, get them into the blood stream, and excrete the waste material.  If we are stressed, constipated, do not have enough acid in the stomach, or have inflammation in the gut, digestion does not occur the way nature intended, and health is compromised.

When the food is well mixed with acid and enzymes in the stomach, the stomach moves the food into the small intestines.

I like to think of the intestines as a disassembly plant. The acidic bolus of food needs to be broken down (digested) and the nutrients extracted and absorbed into the bloodstream. This is a very organized process, and occurs in a planned and timely manor.

At specific locations in the intestinal tract, more enzymes are added and the breakdown of the food and the absorption of nutrients occur.  The end result is that we absorb the nutrients (fuel) from the food and then eliminate what is left.  This then allows the next bolus of food from our next meal to enter the “disassembly plant” and be able to move down the digestive tract in a timely manor to continue the feeding of our body.

Sounds basic and simple, but our life style has disrupted this essential process.  May times we eat when we are stressed, we ingest nutrient deficient foods that cause us to use a lot of energy to process this low quality food and in return this poor quality food provides us with very little nutrition.

Our food supply contains many chemicals that we were not designed to eat, and many times the fruits and veggies we eat are not fresh picked.  As soon as the fruits or veggies are picked, the enzymes and nutrients contained in them start to break down.  So if we are not eating very fresh foods, we are at a nutrient disadvantage before we even start to digest them.

On top of this, the overuse of acid lowering medication such as antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and H2 blockers lower the acid level in the stomach and inhibit proper digestion.

In the next blog post I will talk about proper bowel function.  I will also discuss the results of the poll on bowel movements.



About drgaryk

Dr. Gary Kracoff is a registered pharmacist with a doctorate in naturopathic medicine who provides in-depth consultative services at Johnson Compounding & Wellness. Gary’s guiding philosophy is to treat the person as a whole, not to chase symptoms. He focuses on finding the “why” to what is happening physically and mentally, and works with individuals to restore balance in the body. Gary frequently lectures at pharmacy, medical, and health-oriented conferences. He is an educator at the Academy of Integrative Medicine, conducting two-day seminars for health care professionals twice a year. Gary also serves on the faculty of the Center for Education and Development of Clinical Homeopathy.
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