2: DIGESTION – How It Works, Role Of Stomach Acid, And Food Breakdown

Welcome to The Nutritional Pearls Podcast! Focusing on topics that include digestion, adrenal fatigue, leaky gut, supplementation, electrolytes, stomach acid, and so much more, “The Nutritional Pearls Podcast” features Christine Moore, NTP and is hosted by Jimmy Moore, host of the longest running nutritional podcast on the Internet.  Sharing nuggets of wisdom from Christine’s training as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Jimmy’s years of podcasting and authoring international bestselling health and nutrition books, they will feature a new topic of interest and fascination in the world of nutritional health each Monday. Listen in today as Christine and Jimmy get to the bottom of gut health in Episode 2.

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Here’s what Christine and Jimmy talked about in Episode 2:

How Digestion Works

Definition of Digestion:  Digestion is the mechanical and chemical breakdown of food.  The goal of digestion is to break down food to molecules small enough that the nutrients can be absorbed and used by the body.

Proper digestion is absolutely necessary if you are going to be healthy.  Every part of our body depends on our digestive system to work correctly in order to absorb the nutrients it needs to function at it’s best.

Brain:  Digestion starts in the brain-parasympathetic state.  Sights and smells trigger salivary glands to release salivary amylase.

Mouth:  Chewing breaks down the food and salivary amylase starts breaking down and moistening the food so it’s easier to swallow.   The digestion of carbohydrates starts in the mouth.  When you swallow, the food that is broken down enters the esophagus as Bolus.

Stomach:  The stomach continues with the digestion and breakdown of food using gastric juices (Mucous, Pepsinogen/Pepsin and Hydrochloric Acid –HCl-).  The main digestion of proteins starts in the stomach.  Normal stomach pH is 1.5-3.

Some of the functions of stomach acid:

  1. Bathes the stomach
  2. Disinfects the stomach and kills bacteria and parasites that might be harmful
  3. Acid activates the pepsin so proteins can be digested

Duodenum/Small Intestine:  The food that is broken down in the stomach then enters the duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine) is called Chyme.  Proper pH of this chyme causes the duodenum to release secretin which triggers the pancreas to release pancreatic juices and cholecystokinin which triggers the gall bladder to release bile.  The bile is what helps us digest the fats we eat.  When the chyme leaves the duodenum, the food we have eaten is almost totally digested.

  1. The small intestine is where the nutrients get absorbed into the bloodstream
  2. Carbohydrates get broken down into glucose molecules
  3. Proteins get broken down into amino acids and polypeptides
  4. Fats get broken down into fatty acids and glycerol (alcohol) molecules

The Large Intestine:  The chyme that is not digested passes into the large intestine through a valve called the ileocecal valve.  In the large intestine, water is recycled, recycles the waste materials which nourishes the colon, the large intestine captures any nutrients that are lost which helps feed the gut flora and these nutrients get converted to Vitamins K, B1, B2, B12 and butyric acid (good for gut health), and the leftovers get formed in waste (fecal matter) which is expelled out of the body.

Proper digestive function is crucial for the body to be healthy

– Episode 2 NuTritional Pearls 

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