Digestion – Absorption & Malabsorption

The Digestive System consists of a group of organs whose job is to physically break down all your food assisted by chemicals made by the body so that they can then be absorbed for the building and repairing of cells and tissue and for energy for the body.digestion

One of these organs involved is the small intestine and this is where the critical function of breaking food down further and absorption takes place for all of your dietary nutrients; vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats and water. Allergies occur when something gets into the body that it cannot deal with and 9 out of 10 people with allergies have a digestion problem!

Symptoms of a Malabsorption

Diarrhoea   Bloating   Constipation   IBS   Fatigue   Anaemia   Pale and smelly faeces   Intestinal gas   Irritable   Weight Gain   Vomiting   Breathlessness   Swelling in legs   Dermatitis   Eczema   Allergies   Headaches   Pain in joints   Infertility  Candida   ME  Cancers

The small intestine can become damaged and beyond repair leading to a lack of absorption if the digestive system as a whole is not working adequately. There are many reasons causing malabsorption; unbalanced diet, intolerances and allergies, parasitic infections, biochemical disorders, too much sugar, fatty foods, lack of enzymes, stomach acid imbalance, not enough water, pH levels constantly being balanced, thyroid and adrenal problems and stress.  junkfood

The small intestine relies on the mouth to break down the food and the salivary glands to soften the food further. The stomach uses hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes to reduce the food into “chyme” a semi liquid consistency so that it can pass to the duodenum. As food travels along this tract more digestive enzymes from the liver, gall bladder and pancreas are secreted further to finish this process. Once in the small intestine additional enzymes are added to complete the process of breaking down into smaller molecules.  The necessary nutrients are now absorbed back into the blood and lymph vessels to supply the body with energy, function and repair of tissue and cells. No wonder many people have allergies when so many parts of the digestion system may not be working 100%.

Tips for Absorption

  • A well balanced diet including nutritional supplements will help you to achieve a happy digestion system.
  • Chew your food thoroughly and this will help make breaking down the food easier in the stomach. When food is in large lumps more hydrochloric acid and enzymes have to be used. Long term this can cause ulcers and the loss of vital nutrients passing into the large intestine without being digested correctly.  If you see undigested food in your stools then you are not absorbing.
  • Water should be taken at regular intervals at least every 2 hours for maximum absorption.
  • Gluten is probably the main culprit to malabsorption and if not broken down before it reaches the small intestine, it ends up like acid and damages the villi. Once the lining of the small intestine is damaged beyond repair, this can lead on to Coeliac Disease. Now that absorption is compromised the immune system is unable to cope and other allergies and intolerances can surface. Once diagnosed as a coeliac then you have to support the body with extra nutritional supplements to maintain the immune system for the rest of your life.
  • Lactose intolerance should also be looked at especially in babies and children. Lactose is found in cows milk and is broken down with the enzyme Lactase produced only in the small intestine. You may be intolerant to both milk and deficient in lactase. The best alternative is to change to goats milk, soy, almond and rice milk as these do not contain any lactose or gluten.  People with bad eczema will notice a difference when changing milk products. Yoghurt is still ok to have.Yoghurt
  • Good bacteria in the gut is essential. Have some live yoghurt in the morning and afternoon and this will keep your good and bad bacteria evenly balanced.  If you take a protein shake everyday then add the yoghurt into your drink. If you are unable to eat yoghurt then a good probiotic would be ideal to take once or twice a day.
  • Enzymes rely on vitamins and minerals coming into the body from our food. If the diet is made up of junk food or you keep to certain foods because of allergies then your body may be unable to complete the process of making enzymes. This is where I find a protein powder with all the amino acids in helps allergy sufferers enormously.
  • Try to eat food when not stressed out or about to have an argument with someone at the table. Do not lie down after eating.
  • If you or your children and babies get earaches then you definitely have a digestion problem as these are connected.  Go to the Thermal Auricular Therapy tab for more information.

Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs

My goal is to help you recognise any issues that arise so that they do not become a major health problem later on.  My philosophy has always been TREAT THE CAUSE NOT THE SYMPTOM.

Pills[1]Taking many prescription drugs, not just for allergies, can cause many problems especially in the digestion system unfortunately.  Speak to your doctor first regarding your medication and their side effects. If any of the side affects are to do with the digestion system then do not take another drug to alleviate the symptom as this will only cause more problems in the future. The following prescription and over the counter drugs can be harmful to the digestive system over the long term:

  • Antacids for indigestion, heartburn and stomach ulcers – these deplete essential phosphorus for strong bones. Either supplement with extra phosphate and/or eat more meat, fish and eggs regularly.
  • Laxatives for constipation – these totally interfere with absorption of all nutrients so drink more water, add watermelon and lemon. Eat more foods that contain bran, fibre from green vegetables, pulses, wholegrain cereals, stewed dried fruits, prunes and figs and of course WATER.
  • Antibiotics – deplete the good bacteria in the gut. Eating live yoghurt morning and night will help counter the effects of antibiotics and keep the balance of the bacteria correct.
  • Diuretics – which increase the output of urine from the kidneys depletes the loss of minerals. There are a lot of foods that you need to eat that provide you with minerals so go to the nutrition tab above and you will find tables giving you the foods and their vitamin and mineral content.

Nutrition & Supplements to aid the Digestion System & Absorption

Combine the following regime. All the products can be found in the Shopping Cart:

  1. A good balanced diet for your blood type.
  2. Giving up or cutting down on your gluten and lactose, sugar and salt intake.
  3. Keep hydrated with plenty of water and add lemon to alkalise.
  4. Use the pH strips to balance your diet effectively.
  5. Protein Powder containing all the amino acids but does not have gluten or lactose in – once a day
  6. Spirulina as this contains more enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients – take 2 a day
  7. Vitamin C 500mg – take 2 a day
  8. Digestive Enzymes – 1 with each meal
  9. Yoghurt and/or probiotic to keep the natural bacteria balanced  – 1 with each meal

You will need to do all the above for about 3 to 6 months for the absorption to kick in. This whole process will help improve your absorption, digestion, alleviate your allergies and other symptoms and your health will gradually get better over time.