Two Reasons You Need To Fix Your Digestion - Fast!
Your intestines are not only part of your digestive system, but they also play a vital role in protecting you from disease. A healthy digestive system is vital if we are to have good overall health and long-term digestive issues are a clear sign that something is wrong. Left unchecked these symptoms can lead to serious health issues.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU ABSORB – NOT WHAT YOU EAT
You’ve no doubt heard the saying ‘you are what you eat’, which implies eating a diet of healthful food will ensure good health. The fact is though, you can eat the best quality most nutritious food on the planet but if your digestive system isn't functioning properly you won’t be able to properly break down and absorb the nutrients in it, they’ll pass straight through you and you won’t get any of their benefits.
So, if for example, you’re not producing adequate gastric juices or digestive enzymes not only will you experience physical symptoms like stomach pain, nausea, bloating and indigestion, you’ll also be unable to unpack the nutrients such as vitamins and minerals in the food enough for them to be absorbed. You may even see undigested food in your stool when you have a bowel movement.
Over time this situation can lead to serious deficiencies of important nutrients such as iron, B12, magnesium and vitamins A and D. This can cause symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, headaches, brain fog and even eye problems and heart problems.
AN ARMY MARCHES ON ITS STOMACH
This is because it houses three important armies in your defence – your gut lining, your immune system and your gut flora or microbiome.
The delicate lining of your small intestine, where most digestion and absorption takes place, is the only protection your body has from the bacteria, pathogens and general nasties you inevitably consume every time you eat and drink. Your gut lining allows the precious nutrients from food to pass through while blocking unwanted and potentially harmful substances from entering.
If this lining becomes compromised not only is nutrient absorption decreased leading to nutrient deficiencies, but bacteria and pathogens can now enter the body and bloodstream. This can lead to symptoms such as food sensitivities, skin issues and even autoimmune disease (see study). For more info on this topic see THIS ARTICLE.
We all know a strong immune system is our best defence against disease, but did you know that 70-80% of your immune system is housed in your small intestine in what is called the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT)? Because of this, issues with this area of the digestive system can lead to a compromised immune system and a weakening of your defences.
Another crucial protection against disease is found in the flora or microbes found throughout the digestive tract but that are especially plentiful in the large intestine. These microbes have the ability to break down certain types of food for absorption, help produce short-chain fatty acids and help in the absorption and production of some vitamins and minerals. They also help regulate our immune system by modulating the activity of immune cells.
It’s clear that a healthy digestive system is vital for good health and explains why many chronic health issues are accompanied by digestive problems.
It’s easy to become used to symptoms such as indigestion, acid reflux, bloating and gas and accept them as a part of life, I know I did for many years, but these symptoms if experienced on a regular basis are could indicate you have IBS and should be investigated.