Is Your Digestion a Problem?

Dr. John Briggs

Is Your Digestion a Problem?

4 mins
May 18, 2021

The byproducts of your food and whether you’re digesting or not can either be a plus or minus. Gas and bloating is a sure sign that something’s rotten in Denmark. (Sorry about that remark to all my fellow Danes). 

When digestion goes south, the intended benefits are lost, and we get to see the end result of toxins replacing the good nutrients. When I’m gardening, I want the soil I’m planting in to support the growth of my vegetables. I’ve seen where one part of the garden may have a different soil consistency and there I will see stunted plant growth.

It’s really something to see my peas growing taller than me on one end of the row, and on the other end they are only up to my waist. This discrepancy is largely due to the inconsistency of nutrients in the soil they are growing in. When we look at our digestive system as a garden within which we compost foods, if they’re rotting instead of properly decomposing with healthy bacteria, we will see byproducts like loss of energy, weight gain, and immune compromise.

All digestion begins in the mouth with the parotid glands (salivary glands). This begins the normal and healthy breakdown of carbohydrates. These glands produce the enzyme ptyalin which begins the formation of maltose from starch, and eventually allows the further breakdown of this to glucose. These glands are impacted by chemical toxins including that of mercury from dental fillings. 

Often times, we can see immune challenges and digestive disturbance when these glands are damaged. Their association with the thyroid and thymus gland are very intimate as they are derived from the same embryonic tissue. Damage here can affect any or all of the others. Iodine sensitivity can often be alleviated with parotid therapy.

The tongue not only allows us to enjoy the taste of food consumed, but it is a sensory organ which sets up other organs of digestion. Bitters for example trigger the release of bile for the digestion of fats in the diet. This is important in maintaining a healthy gallbladder. When this organ fails to work properly it can set up many additional problems. 

A faulty release of bile can set up problems of colic, gas, and bloating. It can also cause the stomach cells which supply digestive acids to over produce in an attempt to offset the lack of healthy bile salts. These bile salts help to maintain the proper pH of the intestines and aid in lubricating the bowel. Missing a gallbladder can predispose a person to colon problems of all kinds.

When there is an upset in the pH of the intestines, we often see the growth of unwanted bacteria which crowds out the healthy bacteria. Along with this, we will often see overgrowth of yeast which can then be transferred to the circulatory system and to every cell of the body. The only way to effectively treat systemic candida is to correct the pH and bacterial flora of the bowel. 

Your digestive system is akin to a carburetor on a gas engine. Its job is to convert a liquid to a vapor so it can be combusted in the cylinders. Your digestive system has many functions which all contribute to making your food available to every cell of your body.

Any interference in the working of your digestion will ultimately impact the health and vitality of your body. Stop stomach acids and pepsin can’t break apart the proteins and you’ll not have the needed essential amino acids to drive your system. Without tryptophan, you’ll lack serotonin and melatonin. Without tyrosine, and your thyroid will not be able to produce thyroxine. Without GABA, you won’t be able to nourish your nerves. Without Phenylalanine you can’t produce endorphins, which means no control over pain. 

Protecting your digestion is critical to good health. When I hear of doctors offering bariatric surgery to bypass the stomach, I have to just shake my head. You might as well just sew the mouth shut. As I’ve followed patients who have been talked into this kind of surgery, I’ve seen major health damage. If you have a weight problem, look at metabolism first. Analyze the diet. Investigate digestive challenges and find the cause and address it first. Stop eating the junk!

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Dr Briggs is a 1980 graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and has been practicing naturopathic medicine in the northwest corner of Oregon since his graduation. His practice involves diagnostic and therapeutic modalities which have stood the test of time and the challenges of diverse disease. We believe that each person exists dynamically as a spirit being, possessing a soul made up of their mind, will, and emotions, living in a body which requires specific care and nutrition. To address only the physical needs is to ignore the real person, and frequently, the real issues. We strive to address all your issues (spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical) with compassion and wisdom.

This article was orginally reported by
Dr. John Briggs

Dr. John Briggs is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.