About 80% of the patients that Dr. JJ sees in his private practice have digestive issues. Proper digestion is the key to good health. Your body needs nutrients to survive and if your body cannot absorb nutrients properly and digest food properly, it will lead to health issues.
What happens when you eat food?
Dr. JJ gives us a "tour" of the digestive system. Digestion begins right away in your mouth. For instance if you bite on a piece of lettuce, and you start to chew, you start to secrete salivary amylase. Salivary Amylase is a digestive enzyme that helps you break down carbohydrates.
Food then goes down your esophagus into your stomach where your food is prepared for digestion. In the stomach, the food hits a stomach acid layer containing hydrochloric acid which is a pH level of between 2-4. A pH level of 2-4 will "melt" a stethoscope! An acidic environment will break proteins down into simple amino acids; breaks carbs (carbohydrates) down into sugar; breaks fats down into fatty acids. The pancreas will secrete some digestive enzymes to help your body digest all of these things: protease is for digesting proteins, lipase is for digesting fat and amylase is for digesting carbohydrates, plus other enzymes to help your body digest food.
The contents of your stomach gets passed on to your small intestines where your body pulls out water, nutrients, minerals, vitamins, etc. The food then passes through the large intestine, then the colon and the remains get evacuated as stool.
Jennifer reinforced the importance of chewing your food well- your stomach doesn't have teeth. If you don't chew your food properly, you will see chunks of undigested food in your stool.
What are some diseases of the digestive tract?
Common digestive issues include:
Indigestion: where after a meal you won't feel good and you will have pain in the stomach afterwards.
GERD Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
IBS- Irritable Bowel Syndrome where people have bowel pain and alternate between constipation and diarrhea
These are the main health issues involving bad digestion.
What can you do to help ensure healthy digestion? What are some good digestive aids?
Rule out Food Allergies. Dr. JJ's patients will detoxify annually. When they detoxify they do an elimination diet . During the elimination diet, you eat very bland foods for 7 days, eliminating the common allergens. After those 7 days you re-introduce the eliminated foods one by one and look to see if your body reacts to any of the re-introduced foods. The most common food triggers are wheat, dairy and soy. Dr. JJ has also seen other foods trigger a response in the body like iceberg lettuce, chicken, citrus, MSG, and chocolate. You should remove these allergens from your diet.
De-stress before eating. When you are stressed your body is in the fight or flight mode, so producing gastric excretions is not a priority for your body. If you are feeling stressed, then take a few deep breaths to relax before eating. Dr. JJ will often suggest B etaine Hydrochloric Acid or Apple Cider vinegar to his patients under a lot of stress, to help increase the production of stomach acids. Apple Cider Vinegar can be very effective acid reflux treatment, especially helping people with GERD.
Eat Lots of Fibre. Eat good fibre to help you have regular bowel movements, once to twice per day. 2-3 times/day would be even better.
Drink lots of water. Divide your weight in pounds in half- that's how many ounces of water you should drink in a day.
Take Probiotics. Probiotics help with you digestion and reduce bloating.
As we age our bodies produce less digestive secretions. In some cases, Dr. JJ would recommend a digestive enzyme. Individuals should really speak to their natural health care practitioner before taking digestive enzymes, because this issue may be addressed in another manner.
It is best to work with a healthcare practitioner to develop a program that best suits your body.
You can find practitioners through the Find a Practitioner link on our website www.vitaminjunkeys.com
What is Dr. JJ taking?
Betaine Hydrochloric Acid: Hydrochloric Acid is what we have in our stomachs to help us digest food. Dr. JJ takes Betaine Hydrochloric Acid because he has some digestive issues. He tends to under-secrete stomach acid. Dr. JJ usually takes Betaine Hydrochloric Acid when he takes his multi-vitamin and before a meal.
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