By Dr. Bill Hemmer
Socrates said it best thousands of years ago. All Disease starts in the gut. As science continues to evolve, his words are being proven correct again and again. Sadly, our current healthcare system doesn’t look to the digestive tract as the seed of disease. Digestive health is placed on the back burner because there aren’t high end diagnostic tests, or drug protocols that are mainstream.
Most of the current digestive testing performs visual inspections, like scopes of your colon or esophagus and stomach, but these tests do not assess function. So, how well your digestive system is functioning isn’t really looked at. There are specific diagnostic tests that do assess function, but they are not widely used, therefore mainstream healthcare is usually relying on a visual inspection not functional testing.
The good news is, most of the time, you don’t even have to go through any testing to start to heal your digestive tract and bring you closer to health and away from disease. All you must do is think of your Digestion as a river and you can start to heal your gut naturally.
Your river of Digestion starts in your mouth and flows downstream all the way to your anus. Your digestive tract is simply a hollow tube of specialized skin cells that have been adapted over millions of years to break food apart and absorb nutrients while keeping out parasites, viruses and bacteria and other toxins. This is not a small task.
So, if you can heal each part of the Digestive River, starting at the mouth, your digestive tract can heal itself over time. Problems flow downstream. So, if you fix problems upstream, things begin to heal on their own downstream.
The first place to start is your mouth. Digestion starts there. Your Saliva begins the digestion process by starting to break down carbohydrates and lubricates your food to slide down your digestive tract easier.
To make sure you are making enough saliva to lubricate your food you need to stay hydrated. If you don’t drink enough water, you don’t produce enough saliva and your food isn’t lubricated enough and food can get stuck or can irritate your esophagus.
Once your food slides down into your stomach, this is where the first real work starts for your Digestive system. The first thing you need to understand about stomach health is that a normal healthy stomach is very acidic. Your stomach digests your food most effectively at a pH of 2 to 2.5! If your stomach pH is higher than that, your ability to begin to digest proteins and fats becomes compromised.
The other important part of your stomach pH being optimal is that this is the first part of your Immune system response to invaders. When your pH is that low, it kills any type of invader that is found in your food. The higher your pH, the more likely invaders are to live and be passed into the intestines where they can cause serious damage.
The easiest way to get your stomach pH into the normal range is to drink a teaspoon of organic Apple cider vinegar in some water around the time you eat. Many people find, this little trick helps them digest better and have more consistent bowel movements. But this can also lead to increased burning in your stomach if your stomach lining is compromised. More on that next week.