For Your Health & Wellness Educational Purposes

For Your Health & Wellness Educational Purposes
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

If one were to glance at the lining of the stomach, it would look as if it were covered with tiny holes. That appearance would be correct. However, if one were to magnify those holes, you would see that they are penetrating deeply into the mucosal-layer, which is just referring to the tissue lining. However, those holes are actually forming the structures that are given the name gastric-pits

The stomach contains several million of these gastric-pits, which consist of the cells that go on to produce as well as release a variety of gastric-secretions. But these cells are both endocrine and exocrine cells.
The endocrine cells are producing secreting hormones into the blood, whereas the exocrine cells are producing a secretion that they release out the surface of the cells into a duct, which will empty directly into the stomach.

These secretions collectively are called the gastric-juice. The gastric-juice is consisting mainly of water, hydrochloric-acid, digestive-enzymes, mucus and intrinsic-factor, which is a substance needed for the absorption of b-12. Your stomach is producing a good 2-liters of this gastric-juice a day.

The presence of food within the stomach, as well as the idea of foods, start the cephalic-phrase (you remember the cephalic-phase), the preparing-phase, for the arrival of foods well, all this preparing and the arrival of foods causes the endocrine cells to release gastrin, a hormone into the blood that stimulates the exocrine cells to release hydrochloric-acid and intrinsic-factor from the parietal-cells directly into the stomach. The chief-cells go onto release their digestive enzymes directly into the stomach. Hydrochloric-acid is a major component of the gastric juice. It dissolves particles, destroys bacteria and provides the acidic environment a ph of about 1/2 for the digestive enzymes to function.

The gastric mucosal barrier is a thick layer of mucus that is protecting the mucosal lining of the stomach. If you were to remember back to one of the previous articles, the mucosal lining of the stomach is made up of the endocrine-cells, which are secreting the hormones into the blood as well as the exocrine-cells, which are secreting the gastric juices into ducts which go onto empty into the stomach. Yes normally, the mucosal-barrier is very successful at its job of protecting the mucosal lining. From the harsh acidic gastric juices from damaging the delicate lining of the stomach.

To be very clear, without this layer of protection the mucosal lining, it could not withstand the harsh environment and the result would be inflammation & the formation of sores or ulcers. Sorry to say that a similar condition called gastroesophageal-reflux-disease results when the unprotected lining of the esophagus is repeatedly exposed to the gastric juices.

So with all that said it is obvious that this layer of protection can break down, resulting in the above mentioned two common gi-disorders.

An ulcer looks similar to a canker-sore and if it is left untreated it can erode right through the various tissue-layers.

Ulcers are occurring when the gastric juice is eroding away the mucosal lining of the esophagus. The so-called esophageal-ulcer stomach, gastric-ulcer, duodenum, and duodenal-ulcer collectively are called peptic-ulcers. The primary cause of GERD is the relaxation of the gastroesophageal sphincter, which allows for the contents of the stomach to pass back into the esophagus, what we refer to as reflux.

Millions of individuals describe the burning-fire within the belly. It has been known for more than a century that bacteria are present in the human stomach. However, these bacteria were believed to be the contaminants from ingested foods rather than a true gastric colonizer. But about 20 years ago, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren described the successful isolation and culture of a spiral bacterial species that later became known as Helicobacter pylori, from the human stomach from self-ingestion-experiments by Marshall. These experiments demonstrated that these bacteria can colonize the human stomach and thereby induce inflammation of the gastric mucosa.

Helicobacter pylori are the first formally recognized bacterial carcinogen and are one of the most successful human pathogens, as over half of the world's population is colonized with this gram-negative bacterium. Unless treated, the colonization will usually persist lifelong h. pylori infection represents a key factor in the cause of various gastrointestinal diseases that can range from chronic active gastritis without clinical symptoms to peptic ulceration, gastric cancer, and gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma

The disease outcome is the result of the complex interplay between the host and the bacterium. The host's immune response and gastric acid secretion largely determine the bacterium's ability to colonize a specific gastric region.

Despite this wide attention though, important issues such as the transmission route of h. pylori are still poorly understood. Although the prevalence of h. pylori in the western world are decreasing, gastric colonization by h. pylori remain widespread in the developing world.

Resources
US National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health Nutritional Sciences Textbook