To understand this concept, we first need to understand how the digestive process works.
Digestion: Your Internal Superpower
Without digestion, we would never gain the nutrients from food. Seems pretty straight forward right? So, it’s easy to say that without a highly functioning digestive system we are missing out on key and critical processes that digestion provides- As it turns out digestion is lot more than transitioning food throughout the colon for elimination!
Digestion is an especially interesting part of the body. While most of digestion is an automatic process, thanks to your enteric nervous system, it begins as an entirely conscious process. This process is something you engage with multiple times a day- Eating!
While digestion is for the most part on autopilot, the rest of your digestion aims to go on with ease.
Digestion begins even before you eat, it actually relays on smells, sights, and even thinking about food can trigger digestion to begin. In the mouth, saliva creates antibacterial enzymes that protect against harmful pathogens( another reason why dental hygiene is essential for gut health)
From there, it processes to the small and large intestine from the esophagus, where it begins all the dirty work. Your body then uses mucous and acids to secrete nutrients form the food source and starts filtering it through the rest of your body. It pulls insulin from the pancreas. It filters fiber, and even the microbes in your Microbiome start breaking down your food for you( and for them).
In the large intestine, you gain all your vitamins. Interestingly, around 3-5 pounds of microorganisms known as flora also live in the large intestine.
Why Does Balanced Flora Mater?
This is where well balanced flora matters for gut health. With SIBO, food is broken down before nutrients are extracted in the large intestine, as many large communities of bacteria, in a person with SIBO live in the small intestine. As you can imagine this wreaks havoc on your body, and keeps you nutrient depleted. This is also where candida comes in as well. The flora- the probiotics- protect us from harmful bacteria like E. coli and yeast. When they are depleted the E.coli and yeast take over( essentially create larger communities in your body).
IBS and Inflammation
Food moves through the GI tract due to its muscular nature and due to aspects like the peristalsis ( which when overactive causes IBS!)
Thank goodness all this is on autopilot right? It’s also easy to see how gut flora, IBS, or lack of nutrient consumption can largely affect our health as a whole: This is why digestion is really a wellness superpower.
Supporting the Body
When operating optimally many of the other vital operations of our body come with ease. When we are supported by proper nutrient consumption, healthy probiotics, and when we eat consciously we are supported by our guts and our bodies.