The Importance of a Healthy Digestive System by xuyuzhu


									          Your Digestive System and Health: What You Must Know

Good digestion is vital to overall well being and good health. Health care
professionals agree; the health of your digestive system is the root of good

Body cells need specific nutrients to function properly, without them, quality of life
is compromised. Digestion is essential in this process. Food must be broken
down into molecules small enough to enter our bloodstream and cells. When
food is inadequately digested, absorption is incomplete and we are robbed of life
giving nutrients.

If food isn’t digested, the body breaks it down by fermentation. The fermenting
food becomes toxic. Toxins are released into the bloodstream and to the cells
and organs of our body. This process leads to sickness and disease.

Proper digestion is important to conserve energy too. Digestion uses more
energy than any other body process. When the digestive system works harder,
precious energy is lost. This is often the result of poor digestion.

                      Digestive Disorders Are On the Rise

The typical Western diet is loaded with fats, sugars and processed foods. Add in
stress and rushed meals it’s no surprise digestive problems are on the rise. Acid
reflux, heartburn (GERD), indigestion, flatulence, nausea, irritable bowel
syndrome, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease have
become an everyday part of life for millions of people.

In fact, about 60 to 70 million people are affected by digestive disorders each
year. It’s estimated that more than $107,000 billion dollars a year are spent on
treatments, many ineffective (National Center for Health Statistics).

Most OTC (over the counter) and allopathic (M.D.) prescribed treatments don’t
cure the problem.

Digestive problems can be painful, embarrassing, debilitating and very often lead
to other serious health problems.

                       A Working Knowledge of Digestion

Since good digestion is the foundation for optimal health, it’s important to gain a
basic understanding of the digestive process.

Many people think that digestion occurs only in the stomach. While the stomach
is part of digestion, the process actually begins when food touches the tongue.
Food on the tongue sends a message to the brain that food is on the way. The
brain is able to differentiate between every mineral, fat, carbohydrate, protein,
etc. that touches the tongue. The stomach releases hydrochloric acid (HCL)
based on signals from the brain. The brain even determines how much should
be released. HCL kills bacteria, virus, parasites, yeast, molds and fungus that
come along with the food and works to digest minerals.

The food digested in the stomach and the accompanying enzymes, now called
‘chyme’, leave the stomach and enter the small intestines or duodenum. Upon
entry hormones are released that signal the pancreas and gall bladder to release
alkaline enzymes. These alkaline enzymes digest fats and proteins. The acids
from the stomach and the alkaline enzymes combine and become neutralized.

The digested food then goes down the rest of the digestive tract. Vital nutrients
are delivered and wastes are expelled. This is the way digestion should work.

This process has become hindered in many. Stress, rushed meals, processed
foods, overeating and drinking with meals are the main contributors to bad

                      Bad Digestion Begins in the Mouth

We’re all in a hurry. Bad digestion often begins with the first bite. Most
Americans chew only 10% of their food. The brain senses just that 10%,
releasing only enough enzymes to digest that amount. The other 90% ferments
or in other words - rots. The rotting food releases organic acids that burn and
damage the stomach lining causing heartburn, flatulence, belching, bloating.
Continued occurrence can result in GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease).

The fermented food, full of acids, leaves the pH of the chime at 4.5-5.0 instead of
the regular 1.0-1.2 in proper digestion. When the chyme enters the duodenum
the acidity level doesn’t trigger the pancreas and gall bladder to release
enzymes. Without enzymes, the chyme never neutralizes. The results are
irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis. Without the release of
the gall bladder and pancreatic enzymes the fats and proteins never become
digested fully. The body doesn’t get the essential nutrients it needs; eventually
health declines and you even gain weight.

After weeks, months and years of suffering people turn to their doctors for help.
Most conventional doctors prescribe treatments for the symptoms and not the
cause. These treatments often make the condition worse.

        Conventional (Allopathic) Medicine and Digestion Problems

Tums, Rolaids and Pepto-Bismol all work by absorbing acids in the stomach.
Unfortunately they don’t discriminate between good and bad acids and absorb
both. The good acids are already in short supply, with medications absorbing
these acids the problem grows.

Prevacid, Zantac, Prilosec, Protonix, Acifex and Nexium take it a step further and
stop the production of essential enzymes. This further complicates the
malfunctioning digestive system’s problems.

Less enzymes and lower levels of good acids lead to incomplete digestion.
Foods ferment and become toxic. Nutrients pass through the body without being

Although doctors (M.D.) may have the best intentions to help their patients,
allopathic treatments clearly don’t work. The conventional medical approach
treats the symptoms while ignoring the causes. Treatments suppress the body’s
natural reactions to heal itself.

For example, when a patient goes to a doctor and complains of a cough, they are
often given cough medicine. A cough is the body’s natural reaction to a foreign
substance in the lungs; the muscles spasm to force its removal. Cough medicine
simply stops this essential reflex and the foreign substance remains.

Another drawback of conventional medicine is the side effects. Side effects are
inadequately researched. Dangerous side effects are often not known until it’s
too late. Think no further back than the 1960’s and thalidomide. Thalidomide
was prescribed to treat morning sickness. It was discovered, after the fact, use
of this drug resulted in severe birth defects.

These types of treatments deny our body’s natural efforts to heal itself and can
cause further damage.

                   Holistic Healing and Digestive Disorders

Holistic healing methods offer effective alternatives in treatment of many health
problems including digestive disorders.

The benefits of holistic healing approaches are numerous. Holistic healing
involves using the body’s own innate healing abilities to overcome health
problems. Holistic or alternative medicines work with body to eliminate the root
causes, not mask the symptoms. Holistic medicine works in harmony with the

Holistic treatments are all natural, with low risk of any side effects. They are also
non addictive. Holistic healing looks at the whole person. All aspects of a
person’s life are taken into account in treating disorders. Lifestyle, nutrition and
stress levels are all important components in holistic healing treatments.
There are a number of holistic methods. Following are several schools of holistic
medicine approaches and treatments for disorders of the digestive system.

                          Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views the individual as a whole. All parts,
processes, thoughts and emotions are considered when looking at illness.
Disease and disorder are not isolated events but intimately connected to balance
of the whole person.

TCM utilizes acupuncture, massage, dietary changes, lifestyle adjustments,
stress reduction, exercise, herbal medicine and more in treating disorders. One
condition is not given a standard treatment. The individual is treated and
treatments vary between people.

In treating digestive disorders acupuncture may be used and is helpful for anxiety
related digestive issues.

Herbs are commonly used for digestive problems. Herbs change the
environment in the stomach and intestines to relieve digestive disorders.

Diarrhea can be helped with Chinese Coptis Extract Pills. The active ingredient
berberine, has strong antibiotic effects. Also look into atractylode pills (help
move fluids through digestive canal), poria and codoniopsis for diarrhea.

Patchouli pills are helpful for flu like symptoms of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting.

Qi-Regulating pills aid with indigestion, diarrhea and flatulence. Six Gentlemen
Tea pills contain ginseng, licorice root (found in most digestive formulas has
antispasmodic properties and calms nervous disorders), citrus peel, atractylodes,
poria and pinellia rhizome and are effective for digestive problems.

Herbal treatments are specific to individuals and a certified practitioner should be
consulted for optimal treatment.


Herbology, aka botanical medicine or herbal medicine, is a traditional medicine or
folk medicine based on the use of plants and plant extracts.

Herbs commonly used in herbology to treat digestive disorders are caraway
seeds, cumin seed, asafoefida, black pepper, dandelion root, rock salt, catnip
and rhubarb.
Herbology has been used effectively to treat numerous health problems since
prehistoric times.


The second most widely used medical system in the world; homeopathy uses all
natural remedies in the minimal dosage necessary to treat patients.

Mixing mineral, botanical and biological substances, homeopathy believes in
treating like with like. Disorders are treated with substances that would produce
similar symptoms in a healthy person.

Nuxvomica is used to treat heartburn, digestive spasms and nausea.
Antimonium crudum for indigestion with nausea and belching. For bloating,
headache, heartburn and acid reflux look into Lycopodium.


Naturopathy is a holistic approach that emphasizes the body’s ability to heal and
maintain itself with non toxic therapies. Looking at the whole individual
acupuncture, nutrition, homeopath, counseling and more are used in treatments.

Basic recommendations for digestive health are:

Don’t overeat; eat plenty of fiber, fruits and vegetable. Eat slowly in a relaxed
setting and chew thoroughly. Avoid stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, sugars and
tobacco. Eat lean proteins such as tofu, legumes, nuts, seeds. Keep hydrated
drinking at least 2 liters of filtered water daily. Eat a yogurt with live probiotics

Herbal teas for digestive health are chamomile, peppermint, ginger and lemon,
fennel and dandelion.

To aid in digestion in the morning drink a warm glass of water with lemon juice.
Before meals try apple cider vinegar, slippery elm or digestive enzymes.

Increase bitter foods to produce more saliva and enzymes to help digestion.


This philosophy emphasizes the musculoskeletal system in health and disease.
Practitioners utilize the manipulation of joints and the reduction of muscle tension
to improve blood and nerve supply to tissue so that the body can intuitively heal
Posture and exercise aid in recovery, promote health and prevent the return of

A practitioner in osteopathy or D.O is similar to medical doctors or M.D, at least
in the United States. D.O. use adjustments to treat disorders, however many
D.O. don’t do manipulations. When opting for a D.O., discuss manipulations; how
many they do and experience in performing them.

                               Ayurvedic Medicine

The oldest surviving complete medical system in the world Ayurveda translates
from Sanskrit to “life knowledge”. This medical system offers a comprehensive
outlook to living a healthy life.

Ayurvedic treatment emphasizes treating the root cause and not the symptoms of
a disorder or disease.

There are four main classifications of disease management: cleansing,
palliation, rejuvenation and mental hygiene. Preparations (tablets, oils, powders,
etc.) are made from natural herbs, plants and minerals.

Diet, exercise and lifestyle are addressed as well.

In treatment of constipation spices like cumin seeds, coriander, tumeric powder,
fennel and asafetida are recommended. Drinking warm milk at bedtime is used
to encourage elimination in the morning. Lemon juice and water taken several
times a day also cleans the bowels.

Triphala Churna/Triphala Tablets or Gandharva Haritaki Churna is recommended
to take at bedtime with warm water or milk to aid digestion.

                                Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is based on the belief that improper alignment of the spine
affects the nerves and the nervous system. The nervous system impacts all
body functions.

Correcting subluxations, chiropractors help numerous body systems to function
at their optimal. The nerves in the digestive system are numerous and complex,
they are sometimes referred to as the ‘second brain’. Nerves here speed up or
slow down food passage; increase or decrease digestive juices and keep blood
flowing or slow blood flow to digestive organs - all essential components in good
digestive health.

See a reputable chiropractor for an evaluation and adjustments.
                    Educated Choices for Digestive Health

A healthy digestive system is vital for overall wellbeing and good health. It
makes sense to take the time to choose a method of treatment that gets to the
cause of digestive problems and treats it.

Money and time are wasted on conventional medical treatments that only
address symptoms and make the problem worse. They have potentially nasty
side effects that damage other body systems.

There are many effective, safe and affordable options that will enable you to live
life to its fullest with a healthy, digestive system and body that functions well

With so many effective alternatives available you don’t have to compromise your
health or pocketbook with ineffective treatments. When you improve your
digestive health, you’ll see positive changes elsewhere.

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