How your Intestines Work

After we think about food, chew food and sterilized food in the stomach; the food moves down to the intestines. Here I'm going to explain how the intestines should work, what it feels like when they don't work and give an overview of how to fix those symptoms. This is part 3 in a series on digestive health. Read part 1 and part 2 first.


In the small intestine food is mixed with bile and enzymes to further break it down. Bile is like soap to break down fats and enzymes work like little pacman breaking apart food particles. Ideally all food will be broken down into it's basic nutrients - protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients etc. In healthy intestines, only these basic nutrients will get through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream to build a healthy body. When digestion is weak, food particles aren't fully broken down and whole food particles can leak into the bloodstream triggering food sensitivities and autoimmune disorders.


Do you have small intestine problems?

O "Healthy" fiber causes bloating and indigestion

O Indigestion and discomfort occurs 2-4 hours after eating

O Diarrhea (loose watery stools)

O Stools that float or are foamy

O Undigested food in the stool


The large intestine (colon), receives a loose watery mass of food mixed with acid from the stomach; bile and enzymes from the small intestines; then it adds good bacteria to the mixture. This good bacteria ferments the food to further break it down and to manufacturing some vitamins. Ideally the large intestine absorbs just enough water to leave well formed stools that move 1-2 times per day. When the large intestine isn't working well you will have a range of the following symptoms.


Do you have large intestine problems?

O Discomfort in the bowel area

O yanking pain with every step

O rectal pain, itching, cramping

O Stool is small, hard or dry

O Bowel movement less than once a day

O Blood or mucus in the stool


This is all fixable

All of these symptoms are fixable. It's usually a simple functional weakness that can be increased with food, supplements and lifestyle adjustments that fit your personal tastes and interests.


For the whole digestive system we can coat and heal the gut lining with a variety of herbs, foods or supplements depending on your preference. We can use lifestyle adjustments, herbs that encourage your own production or simply replace digestive juices with supplemental hydrochloric acid, bile, enzymes and bacteria.


I hope this email series was helpful to simplify what's going on in your stomach every single day. When we understand our bodies, repairing body problems becomes something easy to approach and deal with.


Do you know someone else who is struggling with digestive issues?

Pay it forward and help a friend with digestive troubles by forwarding this link to them. If you're suffering personally right now click here to make an appointment to talk to me in person, no commitments. I just want to understand what hurts and what you've tried up till now to fix it.


Thanks, Anna

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Nutrition is not a replacement for medical care - please continue to see your medical doctor.

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Anna Rathbun, Food Therapy

 45180 A Main Street

 Mendocino, CA 95460 (physical address only)

 PO Box 583

 Little River, CA 95456 (mailing only)

707-937-0476

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