Following on from last week’s newsletter on the gut biome I had a couple of conversations about the whole digestion process. So here is a quick sum up about what to do to make it more efficient. Improving digestion has different elements to it depending on the cause of the problem. The main stages of digestion are –

– Chewing your food.

– Hydrochloric acid initiates the breakdown of food in the stomach.

– Enzymes are secreted to facilitate digestion in the upper digestive tract.

– Food / nutrients are absorbed while unwanted elements are rebuffed within the upper and lower colon. This stage is highly dependent on having a strong and healthy intestinal lining and gut flora.

-Finally, anything unwanted or not used is eliminated from the body.

While a good digestion system should be able to handle most things. It is common for people to find one or more foods difficult to digest which can cause many food irritation symptoms.

If your digestive system is really compromised, then almost all foods may annoy you and your body. You may have chronic bloating as well as health issues caused by your digestive inefficiencies.

Troubleshooting Digestion –

The following options may all help improve your digestive efficiency. It is hard to know what to address first without getting more personal information, options to use include –

– Focused chewing – You can consciously decide to take more time chewing your food to see if it improves eating and digestion.

– Hydrochloric acid supplements – Heart burn can be caused from low acid levels and not just the high amounts as usually purported. You can experiment with this by buying HCl supplements and see if it helps the problem.

– Digestive enzymes – These aid digestion by providing additional enzymes to break your food down.

– Gut bacteria (Probiotics) – You can look to restore a better balance to the gut flora through the use of regular probiotics or following an intense probiotic supplement routine. This is best done alongside changes in your diet that promote a more balanced gut biome which we discussed last week.

– Restoring your gut wall – Supporting the mucosal lining and intestine health is done through a combination of using supplements to develop the gut lining, addressing possible bugs/bacteria in the system and/or temporarily changing foods during these protocols. This can usually be done through supplements albeit in some cases you may need drugs via your doctor to address the issue.

What Does This Mean For You?

When it comes to health then it would be wise to periodically, e.g. every year at least, do something to support your digestive system. The simplest thing is to do a food elimination for the most likely foods that could annoy your digestive tract. The most likely ones would be gluten, dairy or highly processed foods (especially containing sugar) but any food type may not agree with you for one of many reasons.

This elimination does not have to be for that long, even five days is enough to create some sort of change. Many people do an annual 5-day juice fast, while others eliminate gluten and dairy for many months.

My main approach with food elimination is that at some point during every year I will spend at least a short amount of time not eating each type of food, e.g. no meat, no processed food, no gluten etc. If you do them separately and not all at once it is not that hard to do. Albeit, I have twice done a five day fast where I eliminated all food and consumed no calories during those days.

Digestive supplements wise, it is not so easy to give blanket recommendations without knowing more about you as a person. Pro-biotics and glutamine are two easy and safe things to experiment with, as are digestive enzymes. Other areas need more personalisation in what to do as well as feedback of how it affects the body.

Photos –  Some digestion related images created from Bing AI –

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