The Digestive Process

Most people do not fully understand the digestive process. Not much time is focused on the importance of properly chewing the food, and even less to the quality of the food selected for consumption. This is unfortunate, as both are critical to good health and long life.

In order for food to be easily assimilated, it must be completely broken down. The first phase of breakdown is mechanical, that of using the teeth to chew the small chunks of food placed into the mouth. After swallowing, the food travels down the esophagus and arrives in the cardiac portion of the stomach.

It is here that the food sits for approximately one hour, waiting for the hydrochloric acid to begin to come into the lower part of the stomach to further help in the breakdown of the food mass for proper assimilation of nutrient content. During this time, the naturally occurring enzymes in food (as long as the food has not been cooked above 118 degrees Fahrenheit, microwaved, or irradiated), begin the predigestion process. In about an hour, the food begins to work its way to the lower part of the stomach, and is mixed with acids and other digestive juices, which are manufactured in the stomach lining.

Finally, the food moves into the small intestine, where enzymes produced by glands in the intestinal lining complete the process. As the food passes through the small intestine, there are various nutrient receptor sites, through which vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are absorbed into the bloodsteam or the lymphatic system. Finally, the food mass passes into the large intestine where most of the water is absorbed through the lining of the colon. All undigestive matter is then eliminated from the body.

Digestive Enzymes

The primary reason to take supplemental food digestive enzymes today is to help replace those that were lost or destroyed in some manner. Enzymes are extremely fragile, and any processing destroys them to some degree. Enzyme quantities are also determined by the conditions the plants are grown in. Food grown on stressed, poor soil conditions produce lower quality food.

While it is true that our bodies can produce digestive enzymes, when we eat enzyme deficient foods, our bodies have to manufacturer a higher quantity of digestive enzymes. This causes a corresponding decrease in metabolic enzyme potential. Over time, this constand depletion of enzyme can affect the body’s ability to maintain optimum organ function, and can lead to degenerative processes. By supplementing our diets with digestive enzymes, we can take the digestive load off of our body’s enzyme production and allow the body to use those enzymes to optimize organ function.

Friendly Bacteria

We’ve all heard the term ‘we know its good’ but do we really understand its importance?

When referring to friendly bacteria, we are talking about the equilibrium of bacteria in the intestinal tract. There are billions of bacteria flourishing in your intestinal tract, more than 400 different types. The ‘friendly’ flora is the good bacteria that fend off harmful organisms such as salmonella and E. coli. These ‘friendly’ microorganisms are very sensitive to their surrounding and can be easily destroyed. When destroyed, candida and yeast infections run rampant.

The gastrointestinal tract includes the small intestine and large intestine (colon). This is where there is an abundance of microorganisms reside and the place nutritional absorption occurs. Everything you consume is digested (or partially digested if it has been processed in any way) and then absorbed into the circulatory system. If you do not have the enzymatic balance and the proper ‘friendly’ bacteria breaking food particles into a small enough form to pass through the intestinal wall, they begin to putrefy in the warm, moist environment becoming toxic. Pockets or folds in your intestinal tract can be filled with this toxic matter causing inflammation and infection creating additional toxins that enter the general circulatory system production pathological changes in tissue, aggravated existing conditions and putting stress on the immune system. This is called intestinal toxemia and can be linked to virtually every degenerative disease condition.

Many people do not realize the common activities that seriously damage or destroy the normal healthy bacterial flora in the body. This in turn creates stress on the organs and the immune system leading to eventual disease.

Chlorinated water: chlorine is used to kill harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, it also destroys friendly bacteria.

Treated food: plant food sources are treated with chemicals to extend shelf life and pesticides to control infestation. Animal food sources are vaccinated and injected with antibiotics which when consumed, pass on to us.

Antibiotics: used to destroy bacteria bacterial infections, they wipe out the friendly bacteria as well as the harmful bacteria. This creates an altered balance that is conducive to yeast related infection that become harmful to the natural flora and immune system.