What goes wrong when the digestive system is off? Indigestion, acid reflux, leaky gut, constipation, diarrhea, and gas are all common complaints. For one thing, nutrients are not absorbed so our bodies lose out on energy. Energy is imperative for all bodily functions as well as proper digestion. Digestion should be thought about from the top down.
It is important that the mind is dedicated to eating and anticipating food in a healthy way. This will properly trigger the proper enzymes to get flowing. If food isn’t thought about in a healthy and relaxed way, enzymes are not released and the proper amount of energy is not available for digestion. Stressed out eaters don’t chew food properly and gulp lots of air when eating. Food should be chewed at least 20 times before being swallowed.
Many people complain of digestive issues related to the stomach. Acid back up, feeling full after meals, and gas are common complaints that are caused by impaired digestion in the stomach. If food is not chewed well enough, the stomach has to work harder to start breaking down the food. One very common issue is that the stomach acid is not acidic enough. This is caused by many different factors such as stress, refined flour consumption, medications, nutrient deficiencies and alcohol intake. When there is not enough stomach acid, fats then turn rancid, proteins are putrefied and carbohydrates ferment. Yuck! Commonly, these maldigested foods back up into the esophagus causing acid reflux.
Liver, Gallbladder, Pancreas
When the food from the stomach is not acidic enough, it has to push through to the next part, the small intestine. Here the pancreas should release sodium bicarbonate to make the food less acidic. If the food is not acidic enough, the pancreas is confused and cannot get the food the right pH. The gallbladder needs some fat to release bile to break down the fat. But if there is not enough fat, stones can form in the gallbladder. The liver creates the bile to break down the fats, so if there isn’t enough fat in the diet or not the right kinds of fats, the liver can get confused as well.
The small intestine receives partially digested nutrients from everything that went wrong above it. These nutrients then can “leak” into the bloodstream and cause the immune system to work overtime. So, instead of being a nice bunch of healthy nutrients that could be sent to organs so they can do their job, they are attacked by the immune system. Frequently, complaints from the small intestine can include allergies, frequent sinus issues, food sensitivities, and vivid dreams.
Often, when one complains of a lower digestive complaint such as constipation or too frequent stools, the large intestine is thought to be the main issue. However, as you can see, it most likely is a dysfunction in the more “northern'“ digestive organs and the large intestine is left to deal with the mess. The large intestine cannot do its original job of pulling water out of the stool or recycling digestive enzymes and hormones back into the body.
Whew! That is a lot, isn’t it? Most of the time, our bodies work pretty well. However, they rely on us to make good decisions and consume nutrient dense foods for optimal energy. When we don’t do this and your digestive system isn’t working right, many consequences can occur such as depression, anxiety, low thyroid, cardiovascular issues, and many more. If you are suffering from digestive complaints and are interested in working on your digestion through a holistic based approach, schedule your first Nutritional Therapy appointment today.