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We know nutrition is important. But, to get the benefit of the food we eat, we also need to be able to digest it properly, absorb and utilize the nutrient, and eliminate waste products efficiently.
Digestive System Functions include three areas:
- Manufacture enzymes, HCl, intrinsic factor, mucus, vitamin K and some B-complex in large intestine.
- Absorption of nutrients from the small intestine into blood via capillaries.
- Re-absorption and elimination of water for reuse, eliminate bile, form feces and produce defecation.
The Process of Digestion Simplified
Chewing physically breaks apart food and starts the digestion of starches and fats. Adequate hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach is required for pepsin to break down proteins.
After food leaves the stomach, bile salts emulsify fats and increase pH (alkalize), while pancreatic and intestinal enzymes complete digestion in the small intestines. Disaccharides are broken down into simple sugars by enzymes from the small intestines.
Digestive Enzyme Facts
Human and animal research has demonstrated that digestive enzyme levels produced by the pancreas reduce with age. Likewise, studies have shown that the ability to secrete hydrochloric acid decreases with age. More than half of people over 60 have low stomach acid.
Bile production may similarly decline. Lack of pancreatic enzymes and hydrochloric acid may be also be associated with many health problems. Dr. Weston Price discovered that the more cooked foods a people consumed, the more cultured foods they ate.
The Importance of Bacterial Balance
The colon is home to a large number of friendly bacteria (probiotics). The small intestines, however, should have low concentrations.
Too many bacteria can interfere with sugar-digesting enzymes and ferment the sugars for food causing excessive gas, bloating and belching. A healthy balance is the key.
Causes of Bacterial Imbalance
Insufficient HCI: HCl is part of our immune system. It helps to disinfect the food we eat and inhibits the growth of microbes in the small intestines.
Lack of peristalsis (migrating motor complexes) In between meals, after food has been digested, peristaltic waves known as migrating motor complexes, sweep microbes out of the small intestines. We experience this as “stomach” rumblings or hunger pains. Motilin is a hormone that causes these movements.
These are yellow-brown dyes found in herbs and are acted on by intestinal bacteria. They increase peristalsis and inhibit water and electrolyte absorption in the intestines. They do not directly irritate mucus membranes.
Major herbs with Anthraquinones
- Cascara sagrada
- Turkey rhubarb
- Aloes (green part, not the gel)
- Senna Yellow Dock (small amount)
Ileocecal Valve Problems
The ileocecal valve is the valve between the small and large intestines. It prevents “back wash” of bacteria and waste material into the small intestines. If this valve doesn’t close properly, material from the colon will migrate into the small intestines.
The Green Blood of Plants
The green color we associate with plants is due to the presence of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll allows plants to capture light energy from the sun and produce carbohydrates, the basic energy source for both plants and people.
Natural chlorophyll is built around a molecule of magnesium, surrounded by three nitrogen atoms. Natural chlorophyll (in green plants) is a good source of magnesium and has a mild laxative action. It captures photons (light) and uses this energy to combine carbon dioxide and water to make carbohydrates.
Research on Chlorophyllin
Little research has been done on chlorophyllin as a supplement. Research that has been done suggests that it:Can bind to certain toxins in the intestines inhibiting absorption (specifically polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in tobacco smoke, heterocyclic amines found in cooked meat, aflatoxin-B1). Research that has been done suggests that it has a deodorizing effect to reduce stool and body odor.
Source: Linus Pauling Institute, http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/chlorophylls