Digestion the essential key to health
What a fantastic story and grand cascade of events the digestive process is…
Did you know a normal healthy person’s stomach contains hydrochloric acid (HCl)? Or that HCl is the body’s first line of immune defence breaking down ‘germs’ as well as food? Or that the stomach functions to initiate a whole cascade of digestive events setting up the body for good health!
The importance of ensuring digestion is working optimally becomes clear with the understanding that you are not only ‘what you eat’, but more importantly you are ‘what you can absorb’! For example, you can pour the purest water into a dirty bucket, but you are still going to end up with dirty water…
A balanced diet will not work if the first stage of digestion (the stomach) is not producing sufficient acid. This is the often overlooked essential key to health!
People with little or no HCl cannot convert and absorb the nutrients they are consuming. There is little or no conversion of protein into amino acids (the ‘building blocks’ of life); and Pepsin, which is one of the most important digestive enzymes, is not active when the pH of the stomach becomes alkaline.
Further, hydrochloric acid must be present in sufficient quantities in the stomach to sterilize orally-ingested pathogens, which prevents bacterial or fungal overgrowth in the small intestine (e.g. Candida). HCl also triggers the flow of bile and pancreatic enzymes to facilitate absorption and conversion of food for use by the body.
In addition (get ready, here come the ‘juicy’ bits), people with low acid will prematurely ‘dump’ the stomach’s contents, before necessary digestion takes place. The physiologic buffering that normally occurs cannot neutralize the acidic food, before it enters the small bowel. Acidic foods like coffee, red meat, soda, and processed sugar products, will enter the digestive tract without the benefit of conversion and may cause ulceration and irritable bowel. As more and more acid is absorbed into the extracellular matrix (the ocean in which our cells float), it will enter the cell structure causing an imbalance in the blood pH and cellular pH, making the body more acidic. In addition, the acidic foods that were not converted and buffered stimulate the cells to release glucose, which creates elevated levels of blood sugars leading to weight gain, insulin resistance and diabetes. Wow!