Well, if you’ve been following along, we’re discussing things that contribute to a leaky gut. We’ve reviewed chlorinated tap water which is anti-microbial not only to bugs in the water but to our ‘good’ bugs in the GI tract… shelf stable foods with all their preservatives and their effects on GI flora….and now we’ll spend a little time reviewing some basic physiology.
“Digestion” is the mechanical and chemical breakdown of our food. The mechanical piece starts with chewing, and the process continues with the chemical breakdown of our food. In order to to this well, we need hydrochloric acid which kills any microbes that might accidentally be ingested with our meal, and hydrochloric acid also signals the pancreas that food is coming and to get ready. The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes which allow for absorption. Many things are key here:
1. We must chew our food well, or we’re asking a lot of our digestive process. Eating on the run and thus eating without adequate chewing, and eating under stress (which alters Hydrochloric acid) all impair digestion from the get-go.
2. Hcl is PARAMOUNT to digestion. Let me repeat. Hcl is Paramount! Without it, we are at risk of bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections. It lowers the pH and enzymes work better in this environment. And, it signals the pancreas as mentioned.
IF food gets to the small intestine and is not properly broken down, the whole food can be absorbed, rather than amino acids, fatty acids and glycerol, and starches and sugars. We are not and were not designed to have ‘beef’ in our blood steam and yet when the process breaks down (and not the food), we are at risk of food allergies and sensitivities.
That, my friend, begins a whole new discussion about how the immune system ramps up to attack the ‘foe’ when in fact, its just beef that wasn’t digested to its full extent.
This is such a big discussion that it will have to come in pieces. Tune in next time for how a low-protein diet can impair digestion via a lack of Hcl.