Building a Health Digestive System-
Part 2 by Mary Louise;Town Jaqua, Health Minister 1-8-14
Believe it or not, most Americans are 'gut sick,'
that is, they have poor digestive health. It is
estimated that over twenty million Americans
suffer some type of digestion problem, and
sadly, they do not know it. Consequently they
suffer various forms of ill health. While recognizing
digestive problems and correcting them can be
challenging, reversing them is not only possible
but often simple.
In Building a Healthy Digestive System- Part 1
the mechanics of digestion was presented,
since it is important to understand how the
system operates in order to better care for
the body. Processing food to nourish body
cells is imperative for survival. Without a
healthy digestive system, the body suffers
ill affects of sickness, pain, and disease.
Allowing for the potentially serious
consequences of an unhealthy digestive
tract, Part 2 of this series will identify
symptoms and causes of an ailing gut.
Poor digestion: the signs
Poor digestion is often overlooked, since
most of its symptoms are common and
therefore considered 'normal.' However,
they are not and should be regarded as
potential problems. This being said, signs
of poor digestive health include
- Acid reflux
- Excessive, foul-smelling gas
- Chest spasms
- Sharp pain below shoulder blades
- Sudden changes in stools
- Bad breath
- Foul-smelling stools
- Chronic headaches
- Rectal itching
- Rectal bleeding
- Weak, cracked finger nails
- Food allergies
- Excessive weight
- Weight loss
Living with the affects of poor digestion
can be uncomfortable, painful, frustrating,
and costly. Sales of anti-acids alone in
America exceed one billion dollars annually.
Adding to the mix of 'digestive fixes' are
laxatives, anti-itch skin creams, pain-killing
rubs, weight-loss drinks, muscle relaxers,
and even anti-fart underpants! Despite the
long list of digestive aids that are on the
market, these products fail to address the
underlying cause(s) of most digestive
disorders and actually exascerbate the
Poor Digestion: the causes
Ill health is not a mystery or a matter of
chance. Health problems have a cause.
Finding the cause, however, usually
involves education more than visits to
medical professionals. However, science
and medicine agree that poor digestion
is mainly caused by
1. Poor diet. A primarily animal-based,
processed, cooked food diet is naturally
undigestible, since it is dead substance.
The human digestive system was not
designed to process unnatural foods,
especially animal-based foods (meat,
dairy, seafood). Likewise it was not
meant to process alcohol products,
drugs, or deal with the affects of smoking.
Therefore these foreign substances
adversely affect the body by altering its
chemical balance, fermenting and rotting
in the gut becoming poisons that infect
the entire body.
2. Improper food combining. Eating many
different food groups in one meal adds
stress on an already over-taxed digestive
system. Poorly combined foods cannot
be digested properly and therefore rot
in the gastro-intestinal tract, causing
auto-intoxification of body cells.
3. Low stomach acid. Low levels of gastric
juices, especially hydrochloric acid (HCL),
allow bacteria to invade the body. Thus food
(especially proteins) cannot be broken down,
causing food to sit in the stomach longer to
ferment and rot.
4. Lack of digestive enzymes. When HCL
is low, it does not give the proper signals
for the pancreas to produce the correct
amount of enzymes to digest the food.
The pancreas produces enzymes to
breakdown all types of food. Without it,
large pieces of food can clog the intestines,
causing a variety of problems, one of
which is constipation.
5. Imbalance of gut bacteria (flora). Low
levels of good bacteria in the body,
cause food to ferment in the intestines
and feed bad bacteria. A serious sign of
gut flora imbalance is constipation, because
the body cannot rid itself of waste. Thus
toxins enter the blood stream and flow
throughout the body, inflaming and
suffocating body cells.
6. Thick bile- bile produced in the liver
and stored in the gallbladder helps to
neutralize stomach acids/HCL as food
transitions into the small intestine. If the
liver is congested and bile is thick,
the HCL remains un-neutralized and
can irritate the villi of the small intestine
which may cause heart burn, bloating,
loose stools, etc.
7. Dehydration- the stomach needs a
certain amount of water in order to
produce digestive acids. To aid in this
process, there is a water-dependent,
alkaline, bicarbonate layer underneath
the lining of the stomach that neutralizes
stomach acids. If there is not enough
water in the body, this bicarbonate layer
becomes thin and the hydrochloric acid
in the stomach has the potential of
burning a hole in the stomach wall. The
stomach lining inhibits the production of
HCL during times of dehydration to avoid
an ulcer. When the HCL of the stomach
is inhibited due to dehydration, the strength
of the digestive process decreases in
order to save the lining of the stomach.
Thus foods which are more difficult to
digest enter the small intestine undigested.
8. Overeating- ingesting too much food
crowds the gastro-intestinal tract and thus
overburdens the digestive system, so
that it cannot do its job. Food that cannot
be processed rots in the gut. Rotten food
poisons the entire body.
9. Emotional stress- the belly is the seat of
emotions. Negative emotions such as hatred,
anger, resentment, bitterness, fear, jealousy,
and anxiety turn off the digestive process
by altering body chemistry. i.e slowing the
secretion of digestive acids (especially
hydrochloric acid) and enzymes. Emotional
stress also causes tightness in the gut which,
in turn, hinders the action of the bowel
(peristalsis) and the absorbtion of nutrients.
10. Structural problems- injuries to the back,
spine, pelvis, leg, etc. can impede the
digestive process due to nerve damage,
blood vessel blockage, muscle spasms,
11. Parasites- infestation of parasites,
especially pin or tape worms, can cause
blockages in the stomach or intestines
that greatly interfere with the body's
ability to digest or assimilate nutrients.
By definition, parasites rob nourishment
intended for body cells.
Health professionals agree that an ailing
gastro-intestinal tract, left unchecked, can
precipitate serious health conditions. Got
Leaky Gut Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome,
Chrohn's Disease, Diverticulitis, Candida
Albicans, Celiac Disease, ulcers, food
allergies, hemorroids, immune system
problems? Digestive disorders are no
laughing matter and can lead to serious
conditions such as cancer, heart disease,
diabetes, and more. Surprisingly, many of
America's top ranking 'killers' form silently
in a sick gut that blocks vital oxygen and
nutrients to body cells. For this reason,
Americans should be 'gut serious' about
their digestive health.
To be continued...
Part 3- Building a healthy digestive system
References and further reading:
Dr. Jensen's Guide to Better Bowel Care-
Dr. Bernard Jensen
Digestive Tune-Up- Dr. John A. McDougall, MD
Healthy Digestion the Natural Way- D. Lindsey Berkson
Living Letter #67/Index