Whenever I give health seminars I find that it’s important for people to understand the root cause of a chronic issue. In my research everything always comes back to how we handle stress. A few weeks back I wrote about how stress impacts our physiology. When under stress, one of the primary systems that is affected is the digestive system – especially the metabolism.
I love talking about the metabolism because we’ve all heard about it, but may not be sure what it really does. Metabolizing food refers to digestion as well as the how nutrients and other substances move to and through different cells. Properly metabolizing food plays a critical part of our health. Every part of our body depends on the right amount of nutrient absorption in order to stay healthy. One of the most basic aspects to health is the body’s ability to reproduce new cells that will continue to work as effectively as the ones they are replacing. If there is a lack of nutrient absorption the body is not able to create a healthy set of cells. This lays the foundation for serious issues that become manifested down the road.
On that topic I’d like to note that just because we don’t have any obvious symptoms when we’re younger, doesn’t mean that we’re healthy. Keep in mind that one of the best attributes our body has is the ability to communicate information from one cell to another. Whenever one part of our body is weak or failing, a united effort of 60 – 100 trillion cells come to the rescue so we can continue to function as normally as possible. While this may appear to be a great resolution, it’s really only meant to be a temporary one. Unresolved issues continue to pull energy from other cells to pull the workload that unhealthy cells are not able to fulfill. This leads to a lot of wear and tear internally and the eventual exhaustion and deterioration of the body.
Switching gears back to the topic of the metabolism, recent studies confirm that unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle are not the only variables that cause one to be obese or overweight. In fact, any change in the microbes that live in our gut will make us overweight regardless of how well we eat. You see, intestinal bacteria play an important role in our health. It’s important to mention that our intestinal tract hosts over a thousand of different microbial species. Each of them has a role to play in our digestive tract, each kind with its own skill set that contributes the digestive processes. At the same time their population is limited so that there is a balance. The metabolism has a symbiotic relationship which with a specific set of bacteria that allows it to live in a safe and nutrient rich environment. In exchange the bacterium assists in metabolic processes. It’s a great relationship because it enhances the body’s ability to metabolize nutrients, changes the chemical structure of toxins so that they don’t reenter your body post digestion and helps make certain vitamins available for use. As you can imagine, if there is a lack of bacterial balance our metabolism’s performance can really suffer. Bacterial imbalance can occur when there is a change in pH levels. This causes the bacteria involved in the symbiotic relationship to die; meanwhile other bacteria that are able to survive the change in pH levels replace them. These new bacteria change the way foods are metabolized.
Although the changes in pH levels have strong effects, the key question to ask is how did the pH levels shift? The answer is hormones. When it senses stress, the body emits certain hormones which change internal pH levels in the body – including the intestinal tract. These shifts cause the bacteria living there to die. Different bacteria strains then move that unoccupied space. These new bacteria dramatically change the way that food is metabolized. Under healthy conditions if I eat an apple – a food that is rich with nutrients and good carbs – the bacteria will take some of the carbs for themselves and produce fatty acids that will help my bones and heart. Nutrients will be absorbed by the intestines and my body will have the tools it needs to create healthy cells. Under unhealthy conditions the new bacteria that takeover will feed on the nutrients first, leaving my body with a lack of nutrition from a food filled with important nutrients. Additionally the sugar from the apple will be processed and left as a simple sugar which will be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream; the liver will then convert any excess sugar the body doesn’t need into fat. Interestingly enough, a healthy food such as an apple turns into a food that makes us fatter.
In conclusion, there are a few things to note. Everything starts with stress. Any level of stress we feel in our lives will need to be resolved. Once stress levels are back to normal pH levels return to healthy levels and the right kind of bacteria will take back their proper place in the digestive tract. Losing weight, and maintaining a healthy weight, is certainly important to health and Phytotherapi is committed to providing solutions that help. So if you’re looking to lose weight remember – it’s not just about counting calories; it’s also about getting your mind back in order through dealing with stress the right way. On the next post, I’ll review the liver, pancreas and brain and the role each of them play in managing weight.