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.