Getting to the Bottom of things

The digestive system is where the magic happens!

It is said that ‘you are what you eat’ – but it’s more about what you actually digest.  So it would be more accurate to say that ‘you are what you digest‘.

Digestion is undoubtedly a dull topic, but nevertheless it is one which might well be the most important aspect of health.  It’s almost certain that your digestive system is not what it once was (if it was ever what if should’ve/could’ve been).

We all want to talk super-foods, supplements and argue organic vs conventional, but if we don’t address digestion, these finer points are completely irrelevant.  It’s pretty simple: if your digestive system is functioning well, so will you be.  And if you’re backed up and not absorbing stuff, thats exactly how you will be.  An undigested mess.

Bear with me, I’ll try and make it palatable.

Everything we eat can not be used in the form in which it is ingested, it needs to be broken down into smaller molecules of nutrients which can then be absorbed and transported around the body where they can nourish cells.  This process starts with carbohydrates in the mouth (saliva) before moving along the digestive tract to the stomach.

The digestive glands in the stomach produce stomach acid (hydrochloric acid, or HCI) and enzymes (pepsin) that digest protein.  It is at this point that most of us run into trouble.  Most of us have low levels of HCI which scuppers the digestive process from here on in.  The symptoms of low HCI are typically sluggishness after eating, bloating and heartburn, especially after heavy meals.  Note: heartburn is typically the result of insufficient, rather than excessive, stomach acid.

Our dwindling ability to produce enough stomach acid (HCI) to break down these foods means that most of what we eat is never absorbed into the small intestine and we only absorb a fraction of nutrients that should be available through our food.  This also has  knock on affect as these foods are moved into the small intestine,  where low levels of HCI will cause the pancreas to underproduce digestive enzymes and bicarbonate of soda (neutralising).  Not good.

The reality is that due to modern living we all need a leg up on the stomach acid production front and the good news is that it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to do.  The simplest way is to do this is by taking an HCI supplement, most commonly Betaine Hydrochloric Acid.  But before doing so you need to test where you are currently at so you can take an appropriate dosage.

We do this by testing HCI, taking it in increasing dosages until we get a burning sensation in the stomach (it’s not actually burning).  Once we get this warm sensation we back off slightly and that is our dosage.  Then as digestion improves over time we gradually reduce the dose until the person no longer needs support (this can take some time).

HCI Supplementation might well be the most important thing you do in reaching you fat loss, fitness and health goals.  And along with hydration, this where we at W1o start.


If you want to do some more reading in the area get a copy of Jonathan Wrights book Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You>>