The gastro-intestinal (GI) tract, or digestive system is a very complex machine requiring that many different organs work in concert.
The ultimate job of the GI tract is to absorb or admit the nutrients necessary to keep the body healthy, while at the same time, rejecting or expelling those substances that are toxic. To accomplish this important job, the membrane that lines the entire GI tract acts as a selective barrier – essentially taking in what is “good” and rejecting that which is “bad”.
There are three fundamental steps to the digestive process:
These fundamental steps to the digestive process involve a complex orchestration between the various digestive enzymes, anti-bodies, hormones and the internal ecosystem of the digestive tract. The self contained environment within the walls of the stomach, colon and intestines is the home of more than 400 species of bacteria – most of them beneficial and protective in their roles.
Factors that can alter GI tract functions include:
- Surgery i.e. gastric by-pass, gall bladder surgery, small and large bowel surgery
- Anti-biotic use
- Food additives
Surgery- alters structural design, disturbs digestive enzymes, hormones and various anti body secretory IgA. This can lead to chronic digestive disorders, malabsorption, mal nutrition and lowered immune system and risk of infection.
Antibiotics and food additives – can tip the balance of the internal ecosystems. Dangerous bacteria, parasites, or an overgrowth of candida replace the friendly bacteria that line the GI tract, a process of inflammation can begin. This process may even affect other cells and organs of the body that are susceptible to inflammation.