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Gut Health Anatomy and Physiology_Final

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>> Hi there, and welcome back. In this module, we're going to be talking about one of my favorite topics, gut health. This is a really popular topic these days, and it's something that more and more people are seeking Health Coaches for. Slowly but surely, it's starting to become known that the state of person's gastrointestinal system can have implications in all kinds of illnesses, sensitivities, allergies, and health concerns. In functional medicine, we're always looking for the underlying cause of things, the goal is to get down to the root of the problem rather than just treat symptoms. It's incredible how many common symptoms can be traced back to some kind of imbalance in the gut. And there's also a connection between gut health and hormone health which is why it's something we're covering in this course. Well, it's just starting to catch on, it's common knowledge these days, this concept isn't new. Two thousand years ago, Hippocrates said, "All disease begins in the gut." And his wisdom continues to hold true today. When exploring the cause of a client's illness, the first place to look is at their diet, digestion, and GI symptoms. In order to understand how things can go wrong in the GI tract, you'll first need to know the organs that make up the GI tract and how they all work together. So in this lecture, we're going to go over the anatomy and physiology of the GI tract. Let's begin by taking a look at the organs that make up the GI tract and what they do. The major organs of the GI tract include the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, and gallbladder, and pancreas. First, let's talk about the mouth. Did you know that digestion actually begins in the mouth, not in the stomach? The teeth, tongue, and digestive enzymes in the saliva begin the process of breaking down food into smaller more digestible particles. While this might seem like an unremarkable process, chewing your food well is actually really important to good digestion. As you chew, slowly and steadily, you produce more saliva which contains enzymes that help to break down the food. By chewing thoroughly, you absorb more nutrients. If you don't chew well, food goes through the GI tract in larger chunks making it harder to digest. These large chunks can make it all the way to the colon where they sit undigested and can cause bloating and gas. An easy place to start with clients who experience gas and bloating is to observe how they eat. Are they often rushing through meals, eating with distractions, or grabbing meals on the go? They may experience some relief just by changing how they chew their food. Encourage your clients to take smaller bites and chew thoroughly. They'll be excited to see that they can improve the nutrition and digestion just by savoring their food longer. Gulping and rushing through a meal is an easy way to get indigestion, so help them get in this habit by framing this challenge as a mission to really taste and enjoy their food. Also, drinking alcohol with a meal dilutes the digestive enzymes in the saliva, so recommend to your clients that they stop drinking at least 20 minutes before meal and hold off for about 30 minutes after. The occasional glass of wine with dinner with friends is okay but not as a daily habit. Next up is the esophagus. This is the long muscular tube that takes food from the mouth to the stomach. After chewing, food enters the esophagus once swallowed. There's a little valve at the bottom of the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter. This is what keeps the stomach contents in the stomach and allows you to do a handstand without your food spilling back out of you. The esophagus is important to a healthy GI tract because so many people suffer from acid reflex. This is a condition where stomach contents wash up into the esophagus, and the lining of the esophagus is very delicate, so when it doesn't do well, it gets hit with acid. This can cause long-term inflammation which over time can become cancer. A lot of people with reflux are prescribed medications to decrease the acid in the stomach. We'll talk in a minute about why those medications can wreak havoc on your digestion and the absorption of food. For now, let's move on to the stomach. You can think of the stomach as a large muscular pouch. It's located in the upper left part of the abdomen, just below the bottom of the ribcage. The muscles in the wall of the stomach are very powerful and help to break down food into manageable particles. Inside the stomach, food particles mix with hydrochloric acid to further break them down so the nutrients from the food can be absorbed properly. Liquids are also absorbed and enter the bloodstream here. It might seem scary that a very powerful acid is in our stomachs, but your body has a lot of ways for keeping the acid away from the cells. This acid is very important because there are digestive enzymes that only work in an acidic environment. It also helps keep bacteria out. The stomach and small intestine are meant to be a low bacteria environment, unlike the colon which contains massive amounts of bacteria. Medications for acid reflux such as Nexium decreases stomach acid. This keeps food from being completely digested. It's also problematic because it allows bacteria to grow in the stomach in small intestine. That combination of poorly-digested food and overgrowth of bacteria contributes to inflammation and leaky gut, so the consequences of conventionally treating acid reflux comes with a pretty big price. One of the greatest confusions of conventional medicine is that people produce too much acid and require medications to decrease it. But this is only half the story, the truth is as they get older, people produce less stomach acid. And yeah, the number of people complaining about reflux goes up as they get older. What is going on here? Acid reflux is actually an end-stage symptom of a much bigger problem. Remember we talked about that valve at the bottom of the esophagus? Well, that's the real problem. This valve stops working well, and this happens when people eat too many carbohydrates producing a lot of gas in the stomach. Then they take in antacid or acid-blocking medicine like Pepcid or Tagamet thinking they need to have less acid. Whether through aging or medication, low stomach acid leads to bacterial growth in the stomach, decreased function of digestive enzymes, and inflammation in the stomach. So the very medication that's supposed to actually help the reflux, actually, makes it increasingly worse over time. Many people experience some relief from their acid reflux symptoms by taking hydrochloric acid as a supplement. We'll discuss this later on when we talk about the basic gut health protocol. The small intestine is actually quite long, up to 20 feet. And its main job is to absorb nutrients and water. By the time food gets to the small intestine, it should already be soupy mix. At the beginning of the small bowel, there is an opening from the pancreas that allows the enzymes it produces to enter the digestive tract. These enzymes are unlike the ones in the stomach. They function best in an environment that's very basic. This is equally as powerful as the acidic controlling bacteria and is necessary for proper digestion. The liver and gallbladder also send bile through that same opening. This helps to break down fat. The food, now just a liquidy mush, passes through the small intestine and the cells absorb as much of the water and nutrition as they can. By the time it gets to the colon, it's more solid. At this point, there isn't much more the body can do with that. The bowel wall has coordinate muscles that help to propel food, keeping everything going in the right direction on the right schedule. This is called motility. Too much squeezing and you get diarrhea, too little and you're constipated. After the small intestine comes the large intestine or colon. The large intestine, also known as colon, is about six feet long. It extends from the lower right corner of the abdomen, up and around and down the lower left corner of the abdomen. In the colon, there's a massive amount of bacteria, viruses, and yeast. After the small intestine has absorbed to what it can, this microbiome takes over. It eats the leftovers and then produces both waste product and further nutrition for the cells of the colon. Here too, the movement of the muscles in the wall is important for keeping the system regulated. Now let's jump back to the liver for a moment. Here's a fun fact you may not know. The liver is the second largest organ in the body. It takes up the whole right upper quadrant of the abdomen. The entire blood supply of the GI tract runs through the liver before it enters the general bloodstream. The liver cleans up the toxins, breaks up the protein into amino acids, and breaks fat down into fatty acids. Attached to the back of the liver is the gallbladder. This is where bile is stored until it's needed for digestion. The gallbladder has a duct that connects with another duct that extends from the liver. This creates what's known as the common bile duct which provides a path to the small bowel. Although the gallbladder is in the runt of the litter, it can cause big problems if it gets blocked or filled up with stones. This can happen to people who eat a diet high in processed fats. Treatment for this may require surgery to remove the gallbladder. In fact, this is one of the most common surgeries performed today. And finally, there is the pancreas. This organ is tucked into the small bowel behind the stomach. The pancreas serves two functions, producing hormones like insulin and glucagon and making digestive enzymes. Both of these functions are critical to digestion. Okay, let's recap. The eight major organs of the GI tract are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Now that we've covered the anatomy of the GI tract, I'm going to leave you with two very important pieces of information to remember about the GI tract's overarching effect on all aspects of our health. One, the intestinal tract contains a crucial part of the immune system. Throughout the intestinal tract, there are little groups of immune cells. The GI tract contains more of the immune system than any other part of the body. And it plays a big role in preventing infection. The bacterial environment of the intestines, help keep the immune system in proper working order. Two, the gut and nervous system are intertwined. There's a nerve called the vagus nerve that originates in the brain and runs throughout the entire digestive system. It's even connected to the heart. We call this the gut-brain connection. It's what keeps everything functioning smoothly allowing the whole system to communicate all the time adjusting as needed. You know how when you're nervous and you get butterflies in your stomach or a tummy ache? It's because the nervous system affects the muscle tone and coordinated movement of the bowel. It also affects what enzymes and hormones are sent out. Stress can completely change how the gut works affecting the time it takes for food to move through, what gets digested, and how it gets absorbed, and even what bacteria are growing. This is why people commonly experience constipation or diarrhea when they're under severe stress. And it's why there's such a strong connection between anxiety and chronic stress and GI issues. You now have a solid foundational knowledge of basic gut health anatomy and physiology. We'd love for you to join the conversation in Facebook and share what you've learned in this lecture. Before today, were you aware of how the organs in the GI tract work individually and together? Let us know in the Facebook group. Thanks so much for watching, and we look forward to see you in the next lecture.

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Duration: 13 minutes and 2 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: ninaz on Mar 31, 2018

Gut Health Anatomy and Physiology_Final

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