While diet plays a major part in having good digestive health it is equally as important to have good digestive function. Your digestive fire is needed to breakdown your food so that nutrients can then be absorbed. Every food can be difficult for the body to digest and absorb if there is a lack of digestive system function in one of the 3 primary organs involved in digestion.
Most often the cause of poor digestion is inadequate secretion or production of digestive juices such as stomach acid for protein digestion, bile for fat digestion and enzymes for carbohydrate, protein and fat digestion. If you are not producing enough digestive juices someone may experience symptoms of poor digestion such as upper abdominal bloating, gas, burping, indigestion and many more.
How to improve gut health by increasing digestive fire and supporting the primary organs involved in digestion
The 3 main organs I look to for improving digestion are the stomach, pancreas and gallbladder. It is critically important that these 3 organs are functioning optimally and producing the necessary digestive juices, known as your digestive fire to breakdown your food. If you can’t break down your food you can experience slow digestion along with not being able to properly absorb the nutrients from within those foods.
Finding the foods that are problematic for you can help to identify the organ that may be under stress and struggling. The following symptoms for digestive problems will help you to identify which digestive organ needs support.
For example Meat is difficult for the body to digest if stomach acid is insufficient. You may prefer to not eat animal products as you get a sense of excess fullness or feel weighed down after eating meat.
Or if your wondering why you experience a bloated stomach after eating beans, legumes, vegetables and grains this often indicates that the pancreas isn’t producing sufficient enzymes.
On the other hand going high fat or keto just doesn’t work for you as you feel nauseated or get an upset stomach or diarrhea after high fat/greasy foods which are classic symptoms of poor fat digestion, indicating that your liver may not be producing sufficient bile or the bile may be thick and congested within the gallbladder.
Your body needs sufficient stomach acid to break down protein into amino acids. Your liver needs to produce bile which is stored in the gallbladder and released in the presence of fats to emulsify fats and your pancreas needs to produce sufficient enzymes to further breakdown the proteins, fats and carbohydrates. This is also known as your digestive fire and you need to have good digestive fire for a healthy digestive system.
Your digestive fire and function also provide the body with the appropriate terrain. When the terrain is intact it makes it harder for pathogenic organisms to take up residence.
A primary purpose of stomach acid is to kill harmful organisms found within your food. If your stomach acid is sufficient with an acidic pH these pathogenic organisms are destroyed.
Bile plays a huge role in preventing SIBO due to the antimicrobial properties of bile that prevent small intestinal bacterial overgrowth also known as SIBO. This is often not known or taken into consideration but improving liver and gallbladder function is so important for improving digestion and preventing SIBO
Enzymes from the pancreas ensure the breakdown of all the food so that no undigested food is left over to feed any pathogenic or opportunistic organisms such as candida. If you notice undigested food in the stool this indicates a need for chewing your food with additional digestive enzyme support.
By supporting the body with these tips to improve digestion big improvements can be made in a person’s digestive health without needing to make dietary changes (that is if your diet is already good!)
Supplements for digestive health and increasing your digestive fire
Supplementing with Betaine HCL tablets with protein containing meals and finding your individual tolerance level can be helpful for someone who has a loss of taste for meat, feels excess fullness or like food is just sitting in the stomach. Work with a qualified practitioner with this one as there can be contra-indications or a need for healing before utilizing this supplement along with finding your individual tolerance level.
Supplementing with enzymes can be helpful for someone experiencing bloating, gas, fatigue or difficulty digesting beans, legumes, grains and vegetables. Enzymes such as the ones found in Seeking Health’s Pro-Digestion Intensive help with the breakdown of all foods from fats, protein, carbohydrates, grains, legumes, vegetables, lactose, gluten and casein.
To optimize bile production and flow to help with the digestion of fats the liver needs the amino acids taurine and glycine to make bile. Phosphatidylcholine helps with the transport and flow of bile out of the gallbladder which can be found in Seeking Health’s Optimal PC.