By Jill Coleman RN

Many do not think about their digestion until they start having problems with it. Digestive problems can not only be uncomfortable, but will develop into more health hazards if not addressed.
Most of the cells in our body replace themselves every 1-10 months or so, but the gut cells are replaced every 4 days! Long story short; if our body does not get the supplies it needs to repair and rebuild, the cells eventually degrade until disease appears. Especially for the gut.
In our mouth, the enzymes in saliva start breaking down carbohydrates and sugars before it goes to the stomach. Hydrochloric acid, (HCL), in our stomach not only further breaks down the bonds of protein and fiber so nutrition can be extracted, it kills parasites, unfriendly bacteria and fungus!
Once food leaves the stomach, the pH turns alkaline so nutrients can be absorbed down the long 23 feet of your small intestine, where nutrients absorb into the blood stream and are delivered to all our cells. Probiotics, (friendly bacteria) take care of any bad bacteria that may have survived the stomach acid (most don’t survive if we have enough HCL).
The colon absorbs excess water and most of the minerals, while probiotics convert whatever is left into nutrients, then what’s left is sent out as waist. Did you know there are 500 different species of friendly bacteria? They are so plentiful in a healthy gut, they weigh about 7 lbs!
Unfortunately many of us don’t have enough probiotics or HCL. Then, not only is our food not broken down for assimilation, but there is no acid to kill unfriendly invaders we may eat, and the friendly bacteria are out- numbered and can’t destroy the unfriendly bacteria, yeast and fungus.
Signs of HCL deficiency are a decreased taste for meat, burping, passing gas, (especially foul smelling gas which is methane produced from the food fermenting. 99% of acid indigestion or heartburn is not from the excess acid in your stomach, but from the food rotting and producing foreign acids that cause all the problems arising from poor digestion.
Antacids only stop the little acid your body has to digest food so they only make the problem worse! A few side effects out of many are, mood swings, bone pain, (the body needs acid to digest calcium), and increased infections (invaders enter the system as they are not eliminated in the gut).
In part II of digestion, we’ll discuss solutions and what you can do to create a healthy gut!

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