Most nutrition experts would agree, “we are not what we eat, but what we digest and absorb”. In other words, a well-functioning digestive system is necessary for complete absorption of the nutrients found in our food and supplements.
Proper digestion is pH-Dependent
For effective digestion to occur, stomach contents must become highly acidic. One hour after eating a meal, stomach pH must reach an acidic value between 1.0 – 3.0. In order to achieve this high level of acid in the stomach, the delicate inner lining of the stomach wall must be protected from irritation. This is accomplished by an alkaline layer made of minerals and bicarbonate buffers designed to protect the delicate lining. When we have an alkaline diet and proper pH balance, the body is able to provide an adequate supply of these alkaline minerals and buffers.
Mineral Deficiency and Low Stomach Acid
Many people are mineral deficient (often due to low intake and/or poor absorption) and are unable to supply the alkalizing minerals necessary to buffer stomach acids. Without sufficient buffering to provide adequate protection for the stomach lining, the stomach’s acidity level cannot drop below a pH of 3.5. Consequently, there is a substantial reduction in effective digestion. This is a major, yet seldom-recognized cause of many health issues related to poor digestion. When the normal digestive process is hindered due to low stomach acid, the body’s ability to supply other digestive juices containing enzymes and bile is also affected. Without adequate enzymes and bile juices, the emulsification and breakdown of the three macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) and most micronutrients including minerals, will be greatly suppressed.
An Easy Stomach Acid Test: Check to see if you have adequate stomach acid production
Take the Burp Test upon arising by adding ¼ teaspoonful of baking soda to ½ cup water, drink on an empty stomach and time how long it takes before your first burp. If it is 3 minutes or longer (or not at all), you likely have too little stomach acid and as a result, incomplete digestion. Other physical signs of poor digestion are heaviness after eating, bloating, gas & constipation.
Enzymes are Needed to Complete Digestion
If you have low stomach acid (as indicated by the Burp Test) but have a delicate stomach and therefore cannot handle the addition of acids, there is another approach. One can supplement with digestive enzymes, bile salts, and/or pancreatic enzymes to help the body properly digest food and improve the small intestine’s ability to absorb macronutrients and micronutrients. This process facilitates absorption of the alkaline minerals, increasing the body’s mineral reserves and therefore will support proper pH balance.
Enzymes as a Remedy for Poor Digestion
Enzyme supplements maybe given as an effective yet easy-to-use digestive therapy. A full-spectrum digestive enzyme blend is very efficient at providing the necessary power to break down fats, proteins, fibre, and carbs into their absorbable building blocks. Digestive enzymes also facilitate the absorption on vitamins, alkaline minerals, and fats-soluble nutrients (i.e., omega-3 fatty acids). Not only can enzymes unlock nutrients needed to fuel our day, supply alkaline minerals, and balance the body’s pH, they can provide immediate relief from gas, bloating, and the feeling of heaviness after eating.
Here is an easy, natural prescription to support digestion and alkalize the body
- Drink 250ml (1 cup) water 1⁄2 hour before eating and keep hydrated
- Add 2 tbsps. of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to stimulate gastric juices
- Eat only when relaxed, chew well, and keep fluid away from meals
- Add to taste an unrefined, high-trace mineral salt (i.e., Redmond Salt)
- Eat an alkaline diet (see the alkaline food chart) and include:
- Fermented vegetables and lots of ginger
- Bitter herbs and spices liberally especially turmeric, ginger
- Slippery elm, fennel, cardamom in your diet
- Super greens food powders into smoothies and alkalizing drinks
- Add a full-spectrum digestive enzyme blend to each meal and a fat-digesting enzyme when needed for high-fat meals