For Your Health & Wellness

For Your Health & Wellness
Christine L. Foutch Naturopathic Physician Rock Island, Illinois

Christine Foutch is a practicing Holistic Physician in Rock Island, Illinois, specializing in Holistic Nutrition and Biomechanics. Holistic medicine is the art and the science of healing that addresses the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and alternative therapies... more

It has become more & more apparent to healthcare providers that, the health of the body is depending on a healthy functional gastrointestinal tract  But because of the high metabolic activities as well as the Nutritional-Requirements for the GI. The cells lining it are more susceptible than most of the other tissues within body to micronutrient deficiencies, protein calories, malnutrition, and damage resulting from toxins,  drugs, irradiation, or the interruptions of the blood supply.

About  45% of all energy required of the small intestine,  as well as about 70% of all energy required for the large intestine, which is supplied by the nutrients that are passing through the lumen. The lumen is the hollow cavity of the GI while those nutrients are passing through the lumen.

Only after a few days of starvation, the GI tract begins to have atrophic reactions,  meaning the surface area begins to decrease the secretions, synthesis-functions blood-flow and the absorption-capacity is all reduced.

However, if the food intake is reintroduced, even with less than what is needed, this results in  the proliferation of the cells and a return to normal functions, only after a few days.

However, if you are one seeking a optimal functioning gastrointestinal tract. The human GI is dependent on a constant supply of foods versus the consumption of large amount of foods  followed by prolonged-fasts.

Digestion begins with the ingestion of foods and over the next 24-72 hours. The food, if physically and chemically transformed.

For optimal digestion and absorption the intensity of the Gastrointestinal-Tract-Motility and the secretions must be in sync with the arrival of food. It is for this reason that you can divide digestion into 3-phases.  

  1. The cephalic-phase begins even before the arrival of food into the mouth. The thought: The smell and the sight of food stimulates the central nervous system, which stimulates GI motility and the release of the gastric secretions. This is a preparing for the receiving of foods.
  2. The gastric-phase begins with the arrival of food into the stomach. Within this phase, the gastric-secretions  and the GI-motility increases more so to prepare the stomach. Now for its role. Within the digestive process, before the food reaches the small intestine they have gone through considerable physical and chemical change. As you would guess the food no longer resembles the food you consumed. Yet the digestive process is still incomplete. In response to hormonal-signals from the small intestine, the motility and the release of secretions from the stomach decreases. This slows the release of food into the small intestine  and this signifies that the final-phase is underway.
  3. Intestinal-phase: As food arrives into the small intestine, hormonal responses stimulate   the accessory-organs, which includes the pancreas and the gallbladder, for their tasks that lie ahead.

Mechanical-Digestion begins in the mouth. Chewing reduces the size of the food to particles and those particles are mixed with the salivary secretions that prepare the foods for swallowing. A small amount of starch is also degraded by the salivary-amylase, an enzyme

Your saliva is a necessary factor for taste as some foods must first become dissolved. Before your taste-receptors, your taste-buds can detect the taste. Your saliva actually consists of   water, mucous, digestive-enzymes, and antibacterial-agents.

When we consume food, the gustatory taste-receptors and olfactory smell-receptors. Both   become stimulated.

These signals allow the brain to distinguish between the thousands of different flavors that we have come to enjoy within our foods.   

However, the olfactory smell receptors, in particular, have a huge effect on our abilities to taste foods, accounting for about 80% of our tasting sensations. So, yes your stuffy nose does make it difficult for the aroma-molecules emitting off your foods to stimulate the olfactory cells.

The esophagus transports food\liquids from the oral-cavity and pharynx to the stomach. The stomach is a large J-shaped-Sac that has the capacity to accommodate large amounts of foods. However, when it is empty, it is not so big. Its volume is only about 1\4 of a cup. But when we eat, the walls of the stomach expanded and that volume increases to about 1-2 quarts. This ability is due to the special interior-lining of the stomach, which is actually a bunch of folds within the wall of the stomach, called rugae.

So like an accordion, the stomach unfolds and flattens out. This stretching is the trigger for the neural-response that signals the brain that the stomach is becoming full. Hunger diminishes and you stop eating.