Importance of Proper Digestion

Couple months ago I started conversation about 7Keys for Wellness ( Dr. Hyman MD) I talked about first and second keys-Nutrition and hormones, today I would like to continue this topic discussing Digestion and ways to fix it.

We are what we eat, but more precisely- we are what our body can assimilate-all nutrients that our body can use for life. We need vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbs to produce energy and use all these for body functions.

Food that we eat–our fuel for life.

In order to digest this food we have to have digestive enzymes that work properly but with age activity of digestive enzymes goes down, it is very common for people after 50 to have low levels of pepsin (which is active only in very acidic environment- pH 2, 3) hydrochloric acid and intrinsic factor produced in the stomach, so digestion of proteins will be impaired, assimilation of vitamin B12 will be low- we need intrinsic factor in order to assimilate v. B12 from the food as a result of this person will have B12 anemia, fatique, headaches, impaired immune system (our body needs proteins to produce antibodies- main line of defense against infections and allergy, we need proteins to manufacture new cells and hormones). We need good Fats in order to use them for brain function, for myelin production needed for nerve membranes, we need fats to manufacture stress and sex hormones, we need carbs as a quick energy source and as a source of minerals, fiber, vitamins. Do you know what happens with people on low fat, low carbs diets- they lost some weight and even look better for some period of time, but then their brains do not work properly and their endocrine system does not work- amenorrhea, infertility, low sex drive, low immunity and as a result of this –high susceptibility for infections- this is the price for the weight loss that was not physiological.

If your food does not digested properly, large particles of food will irritate small intestine walls and eventually penetrate small intestine walls in the holes that normally do not exist and go into your blood stream, these large indigested particles will become allergens- this situation will result in development of Leaky Gut syndrome– very common, but under diagnosed condition that leads to development of multiple food allergies that will set up stage for the chronic inflammation in the body. Now we know that culprit behind cardiovascular diseases and any degenerative diseases is not high cholesterol, but chronic inflammation that can take place anywhere in the body- in your blood vessel walls, in your heart, in pancreas, in brain. Chronic inflammation is a result of all environmental toxins effecting membranes of our cells and producing free radicals. If it takes place in the brain, it will be manifested as Alzheimer’s, in the pancreas- type 2 Diabetes, in blood vessel walls- cardio-vascular disease.

Beside this, there is connection between brain and gut, our gut has more nerve receptors then our brain and there is constant connection between brain and gut, that is why our emotional status can effect gut function, that is why people under stress develop stomach and duodenal ulcers. Our gut is a source of beneficent bacteria that manufactures vitamins B and K we need these good bacteria to control bad bacteria, that is why it is important to take good quality Probiotics and Prebiotics.

If your digestive enzymes do not work properly, they can not kill parasites and bacteria that present in the food, the most common are Helicobacter Pylori and Clostridium. Helicobacter Pylori infection associated with stomach ulcers, cancer, burping and GERD.

So what can be done in order to avoid all these and have better digestion?

We can use digestive enzymes from whole food supplements, they will help with digestion and set up stage for rejuvenation of digestive system.
In my practice I use supplements by Standard Process, this company was established in1929 and since then credited as one of the oldest and best on the market. SP uses organically grown fruits, vegetables and some animal products, no chemicals, hormones added to their supplements.

I use Zypan (contains hydrochloric acid, pepsin) it is very effective for digestion of proteins.

Zymex II has enzymes: amylase and cellulose for digestion of carbs, lipase for digestion of fats, bromelain and papain for digestion of proteins, it does not have pepsin and hydrochloric acid which is good for acid sensitive people. SP also has multizyme- it is combination of Zymex II and pancreatin, it does not contain hydrochloric acid.

I also work with MediHerb- company located in Australia and collaborating with Standard Process. This company uses only herbs and has supplements in tablets, capsules and liquid form. Wormwood complex, DiGest Phytosinergist, Ginger, Silymarin and some others are very effective in helping digestion.
We started to use Nutrametrix, company that has whole food supplements in the form of capsules and liquid, liquid supplements are isotonic-they have the same osmotic pressure that fluids in our body have and as result of this can be assimilated very quickly- in 5-7 min they will be in your blood stream. It is great- these supplements do not depend on your digestive system function.

The fourth Key– Cooling your chronic inflammation- I will discuss in the next newsletter.

I hope you had nice Thanksgiving, stay warm.


Dr. Natalie

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