Digestion Hacks for an Optimized Microbiome
We envy the people who never worry about their digestion, yet for the rest of us there are some helpful steps we can take once we learn about the whole process of how food becomes nutrition in the bloodstream.
First, let's do a bit of break-down on the steps of digestion and the systems and organs that support us:
Water: drinking lots of water helps kickstart digestion in the morning, water helps your kidneys, liver and intestines remove waste. Eating your water is equally important: think cucumber, zucchini and other water-rich vegetables and fruits like grapefruit to provide your gut secondary hydration throughout each day and night.
Chewing: chewing releases the enzymes that digestion carbohydrates in your mouth, and promote optimal absorption of nutrients. Most of us are guilty of eating too quickly and not chewing enough
Stomach acid: once food passes through your mouth down your throat the next line of defence in optimal digestion is your stomach acid. Excess stomach acid can cause acid reflux and water brash (we recommend calcium pills in lieu of antacids, and cutting out all artificially sweetened gum). But there's also an inverse of this problem- it's when food goes undigested as you either have a naturally or deficiency-caused low stomach acid. Increasing your zinc and b-vitamin intake can help support low stomach acid if you have low levels. In the meantime you can also temporarily take an enzyme with HCL to support you.
Enzymes: Next, your food passes through your small intestine where your pancreas releases enzymes and your gallbladder releases the substance to emulsify and digest fat. If you are low on enzymes, taking a supplement can help. Also, raw fresh foods contain their own enzymes and are easy for the body to process.
Bacteria: In an antibiotic-laden world, where many babies are born by C-section, the natural transfer and longevity of bacteria has been compromised in our society. For some people, they are resistant and durable, for others they struggle with biotic balance. Remember, bacteria thrives on a diversity diet with a lot of variety, today's SAD/ Standard American Diet renders gut footprints that look dramatically different than the micro-biome of african tribes. In terms of supplements, not all probiotics are created equal- from strain type to bacteria-count to whether or not they are living or dead, it can be hard difficult to sort out what's best. A diversity diet helps support and grow the good bacteria you already have. By this, we mean- high fibre and lots of fruits and vegetables. For introducing new strains to your diet, many take supplements or introduce fermented foods. This can help some, but for others learning about the different strains can be a big help. Did you know- there are three types of bacteria strains? The first class are inflammatory and histamine-forming: Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus second are neutral: with both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory properties, they are: Streptococcus thermophiles (also in yogurt) and Lactobacillus rhamnosus . The last is 🌟Anti-inflammatory: named Bifidobacterium infantis (breast milk), Bifidobacterium longum, and Lactobacillus plantarum and work to degrade histamine. If you're already struggling with gut issues, it can be very helpful to seek out only the anti-inflammatory strain, and the only one we've found so far that is widely available is called Align. It contains Bifidobacterium Infantis only, where there are other brands that have this strain- they also contain strains that are inflammatory.
Your Gut Lining: Lately, researchers have focused on healing the lining of the gut. What does that mean? It means the thin organ layer that sits between your bloodstream and your feces is becoming permeable and weak due to stress, toxin overload, laxative abuse, or bacterial imbalance. The problems with this may seem obvious but it can lead to everything you don't want; from inflammation, to food sensitivities, weight gain and brain fog. The good news is that with its newfound attention, products have been created to target healing. To begin with pantry staple choices: bone broth and or collagen is a great healer as it resupplies the building blocks of the gut, and coconut products also support healing. There are also supplements that are critical to cell regeneration in the lining, DFH's GI Revive contains all of them: including Licorice root (DGL), L-Glutamine, MSM and Quercetin, N-Acytleglucosamine, Cammomile, and Mucin.
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This post has been reviewed by our medical director. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for personalized medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
1. David Aspery, Histamine Intolerance and Which Bacteria to Avoid