By Dr. Bill Hemmer
As your food floats down the river of your Digestive system, it reaches your Small Intestine after it leaves your Stomach. This food has now been bathed in stomach acid which begins the breakdown of proteins and fats. Then, it’s here, in the first part of your Small Intestine, that most of your food is broken down into small pieces that are absorbed in the second and third parts of your Small Intestine.
So, let’s follow this process a little closer.
As soon as your food reaches your Small Intestine, it’s bathed in more enzymes produced by your liver. But these enzymes are activated at a much higher pH than the enzymes found in your Stomach. The normal pH of the first part of the Small Intestine is 6 (which is still considered acidic) and by the time your broken-down food gets to the third part of your Small Intestine the pH is over 7 (which is considered neutral).
The second thing occurring as your food leaves your lower Stomach into your Small Intestine is Bile is released from your Gallbladder to help with digestion of fats. Your Gallbladder job is to concentrate your Bile. It concentrates about 5 cups of Bile into about 1 teaspoon of concentrated Bile every day. So, even if you don’t have a Gallbladder, you still produce Bile, but it is not nearly as effective for digesting fats as the Bile concentrated by your Gallbladder.
Once your food is broken down into sugars, amino acids, and fat droplets in the first part of the Small Intestine, it flows to the second and third portions of the Small Intestine to be absorbed into your body. This absorption occurs when these tiny pieces move through specialized skin cells which are a single layer thick. Once these tiny pieces cross this barrier, the sugars and amino acids enter your bloodstream to be used by your body. Interestingly enough, your fat droplets enter your Lymphatic system to be taken to your Heart. Did you know triglycerides (a fat droplet) is the preferred fuel of your heart?
The other extremely important part of your Small Intestine Digestion is your bacteria found inside your Small Intestine. This is one of your many Microbiomes found in your body. This Microbiome is the most important because it contains your initial Immune system response and produces 80 percent of your neurotransmitters for your Brain function.
That’s right! 80 percent of the substances that make you feel good or bad comes directly from the bacteria found inside your Small Intestine. Your Small Intestine Microbiome is even more individualized than your fingerprint. Plus, it literally changes with every bite of food you put into your mouth. You can make it better by eating soluble fiber like vegetables (which is the food of your good bacteria) or you can make it worse by eating crappy food, like bad cooking oils (which kills good bacteria).
Next week, I will discuss two common problems found in your Small Intestine called Leaky Gut and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. Both problems can be successfully addressed naturally once you understand what to do. I will explain more next week.