The easiest analogy I can put forth would be comparing one’s body to that of a chemical engine, it accepts what one eats as fuel. Sometimes it decides some of the fuel is unacceptable by discarding it by throwing it back up, or for some shooting it through quickly and sending it out the south pole region. Sometimes, it will decide to store it in the fat cells to cushion the body against leaner times; and some it will gratefully use to fire its countless tiny cell furnaces after it applies some complex biochemical treatment.
If the energy output in the food one recently fed their engine is nutritionally deficient, the body will insist you send more through hunger triggers and one has the urge to raid the kitchen again. Which is why you can devour an entire bag of potato chips and still feel hungry, nutritionally they were empty!
If any of you reading have ever watched one of those survival shows, like “Naked and Afraid”, the people on the show sometimes will go for the full 21 days with nothing more than water, and they always tell at the end of the show how much weight each one lost. During a survival mode such as that; the body will use up the fat deposits first to feed the engine, then it will turn to breaking down muscle tissue, (eating itself). When folks start getting sick and notice their body is breaking down is when the their engine has been being fed the wrong kind of fuel too many times, leaving the body to have to compensate with that which the body has stored.
Folks, our digestive system is basically a chemical refinery that is able to manufacture its own fuels and is capable of delivering energy from those raw materials: the proteins, fats, carbohydrates (that are broken down into starches and sugars), vitamins and minerals. This whole process of digestion takes place the minute we send food into our mouth and down the esophagus into the stomach.
When we chew our food and it’s mixed with our saliva digestion begins. Our digestive system is like that of a conveyor belt, there are various stations where other chemicals are contributed to convert the food/fuel so our engines can use it by breaking down, diluting and dissolving as well as adding some chemicals and even removing others.
When the food mixes with our saliva which is the first set of digestive enzymes the food comes into contact with, these enzymes are special protein molecules that act as “catalysts” the definition of catalysts: a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change. So the job of these catalysts /Enzymes is to assist the body/engine in metabolizing, which is the what the body does to convert this fuel into energy. The enzymes our body produces are called the spark plugs of life, we cannot process a single morsel of any food without them. Yet, when we are eating foods that are loaded with chemical preservatives or “enzyme inhibitors”, the very structure of our enzymes that the body produces can be altered, which is why we see so many folks struggling with digestive issues.
The Stomach secretions, the enzymes from the pancreas, the liver and the glands lining the small intestines all act on the passing food. As the food has been touched by the actions of these enzymes and ferments then the other catalytic agents of reduction in the mouth and stomach is now spread out, as it were, upon a huge carpet. This carpet area is the lining of our small intestines, which is about 26 feet long and is covered with millions of villi, which are like little fingers that are constantly moving back and forth, they are sticking out from the lining of the small intestine.
So when we eat something that has an irritating effect, the bowel is going to either try to get rid of it quickly which we experience as diarrhea, or it puts a spastic clamp on the intestines to keep the irritating substances from moving which we experience as constipation.
This rich lining of delicate sensitive cells is our body’s first defense level, it fights the good fight against the absorption of unnatural and detrimental food elements. Yet repeated absorption of these elements produces over time inflammation and even destruction of our delicate lining. That is when the blood in these villi become so overcharged with toxic elements that elements of it is allowed to enter into the blood stream.
So, as these digested food particles are spread over our intestinal carpet to be absorbed, two important issues present themselves: what is the quality of the food and the quantity?
If we overeat, that makes it difficult to digest, and too much is saved/absorbed. The villi have no regulating ability to indicate how much to absorb. This contributes to folks being overweight or they feel sick.
Typically when we sit down for a meal, we feast on a variety of foods. Understanding that the way our body has to break down different elements in our foods, realizing that when we throw to many different foods in the same meal, can result in incomplete digestion. How does that FEEL:
*feeling full for hours
*sleepy after eating
When clients come to me with digestive issues, even food sensitivities, what ends up happening is we have to simplify their diet to reduce the work load on their digestive system.
Cells called small lymphocytes, carry food needed for growth and reproduction of our body’s cells. This food is protein in nature, but before it can be used by the body’s cells, an iodine value must be added to it by the thyroid gland. The body is so incredibly amazing, the villi that line the small intestine have two sets of vessels, they have blood vessels and lymph vessels. These lymph vessels are what transport lymphocytes and other white blood cells. So during digestion it requires a large amount of lymphocytes, these enter the lymph vessels, and so the body will have enough available, God placed the largest organ for manufacture of these lymphocytes close to the small intestine. That would be the spleen, whose function is to send armies of lymphocytes to the villi after we eat.
We hear about the importance of “amino acids”, and how they are building blocks in our body. Well, as the lymphocytes are being pushed through these lymph channels of our villi, they absorb amino acids, which are the digested form of proteins. They then get circulated toward a large duct, that would be the thoracic duct, which moves them to the subclavian vein into which the thoracic duct empties, just above the point where the secretion that comes from the thyroid gland is released into the same vein. Now, TELL me this isn’t SUPER COOL……this all takes place and we don’t see it, we don’t feel it, but we can’t live without these functions!
It’s at this point that the lymphocytes are exposed to the iodine from the thyroid which “iodizes” their amino acids, which is what we need for cell growth and reproduction. These lymphocytes then circulate in the blood vessels or lymph vessels, or sometimes cut right through the tissues to a needed location. So after this cycle occurs these lymphocytes return to the spleen, where they either get disintegrated or are sent on again to the villi to cycle again.
This concept of digestion was introduced and published in the December, 1928, Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine.
I impress on my clients who are parents, WHAT you feed your children is important! During adolescent years lymphocytes are needed in larger than normal amounts, the stages of growth and repair that takes place during childhood and until the end of adolescence is what sets the very foundation of health as our kiddo’s enter adulthood. During this period God has supplied an extra lymphocyte-manufacturing center which would be the thymus gland, which begins to shrink after adolescence. The thymus is by the thyroid so that iodine is readily available. So realize that the foundation of our children’s health future should be supplied with the very best building material we can supply. Fast food, like chicken nuggets, and French fries and soda, and boat loads of refined sugary foods; isn’t going to make that happen.
When we eat carbs and complex sugars our digestive system reduces those to simple glucose, which the blood vessels of the villi absorb and that glucose gets burned directly in our muscles. The body receives its muscular energy and heat from this. Fats are also combustible, but they usually burn better with the carbohydrate flame. (I’ll touch more on this on a later post)
Gut and psychology go together. How one “feels” is really dependent on how your food processor (digestion system) is processing. If we pay attention and “watch” people, take a holiday meal, some families laugh at the fact that when their whole family gets together, many times someone causes an uproar. If you take notice most of that tends to happen AFTER the meal has been eaten. That’s when emotions run high. Watch the kiddo’s at a holiday function, after the sweets are served up, the kids get hyper, weepy, or can toss some fits. What we eat makes us who we are, and our emotions are predicated on what takes place in the gut. I’ll dig deeper on that in a different post.
“Journal of Laboratory & Clinical”, Dec. 1928, Dr. Warren T. Vaughan M.D.
Dr. J.H. Salisbury: “The Relation of Alimentation & Disease.”
Dr. William Beaumont (Father of Gastric Physiology) “Life & Letter of Dr. William Beaumont”.
Dr. Bieler M.D. “The Magnificent Human Body”
The next post will move onto our body’s second line of defense that is employed to keep us healthy!
Jodi Barnett N.D.
Harvested Health LLC