Digestive Process
From Mouth to Esophagus to Stomach

The food is chewed in the mouth and saliva is mixed with this food.  Saliva is made up of an alkaline electrolyte solution that moistens the food, mucus that serves as a lubricant, amylase, an enzyme that initiates the digestion of starch, lipase, an enzyme that begins the digestion of fat, and protease, which digests protean, and.

Most carbohydrates are broken down by the process of chewing the food and mixing it with enzymes.   Hopefully that food had viable enzymes to mix with the enzymes supplied by the mouth.  

Pre-digestion in the Stomach
After swallowing the food, it moves down the esophagus, which is 18 to 24 inches long.   The esophagus moves through the warm core of the body and is responsible for warming the food to close to body temperature, which is ideally 98.6.   This is very important as enzymes digest food best at between 94 and 104 degrees.   So, if the ideal situation exists in the esophagus (ice water is not added to the food) the food is warmed to somewhere between 96 and 98 degrees before it enters the stomach. 

This food enters the stomach through the cardiac sphincter, which is where the esophagus and the stomach meet.   An empty stomach is like a flattened balloon until food enters it.   As the food enters upper part of the stomach, it stretches and enlarges to accommodate the food.   In fact, the stomach will enlarge beyond the size of the meal until it is fully inflated.   While the stomach is inflating to its full size which takes somewhere between 40 to 60 minutes, pre-digestion takes place.   Pre-digestion, is the food sitting in the stomach being digested by the enzymes that came with it.   The ideal ph here is about seven, very alkaline.   This pre-digestion is considered by many nutritionists to be the most important stage of digestion.   This is where the enzymes from our food and mouth digest and prepare the food for absorption.               

Once the stomach completes the pre-digestive process, the food than undergoes chemical and mechanical digestion.  Herein the lower part of the stomach, peristaltic contractions (mechanical digestion) churn the bolus, which mixes with strong digestive juices.  These juices include powerful hydrochloric acid, which helps break down the bolus into a liquid called chyme.  In addition, enzymes called pepsin and cathepsin are added to the juice in the stomach to brake down most of the protein in the food.  This process can take several hours depending on the meal eaten.   The ideal ph here is about three, very acidic.

Hydrochloric acid has three purposes.   First, to break down mineral bonds from our diet.  Now as they pass through our intestines they are small enough to pass through the wall to be used by the body.   Second, clean the food of pathogens by creating an acidic environment that will clean the food of these pathogens.   Third, change pepsinogen into pepsin, which breaks down the long protein strings that are the essential and non-essential amino acids in the food.   These are broken down by pepsin into polypeptides, peptides and tri-peptides so they can be utilized by our body.

Once the food is broken down, it has the consistency of cake batter.   This is called chime and is released into the duodenum by the pyloric sphincter.

Prescription for Nutritional Healing, James Balch, M.D. and Phyllis Balch, CNC, Avery Books 2000
Enzymes The Fountain of Life, D.A. Lopez, MD, R.M. Williams, MD PhD, K. Miehlke, MD,
The Neville Press, Inc 1994
Understanding Digestion, Elaine Newkirk ND, New Life Nutrition Inc. 2007, www.makeripples.com


Important Note:
The information presented herein by The Natural Path Botanicals is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

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