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Advanced Alternative Medicine Center

Advanced Alternative Medicine Center

Small Intestine Disorders

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In this video, Dr. Huntoon discusses digestive issues, the underlying cause of these concerns and what you need to know if you are going to overcome yours.

Click on any of the links to your right or scroll down to read the full article.

Digestive Concerns are a source of many destroyed lives.  Do not let your condition control your life.  Give us a call and we will help you.

Small Intestine Disorders  To attend a FREE CLASS on this Topic, click here.

Your small intestine is the longest part of your digestive system - about twenty feet long! It connects your stomach to your large intestine (or colon) and folds many times to fit inside your abdomen. Your small intestine does most of the digesting of the foods you eat. It has three areas called the duodenum, the ileum, and the jejunum.

Problems with the small intestine can include:

 

Treatment of disorders of the small intestine depends on the cause.

The Digestive System & How it Works

What is the digestive system?

The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract—also called the digestive tract—and the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. The hollow organs that make up the GI tract are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine—which includes the rectum—and anus. Food enters the mouth and passes to the anus through the hollow organs of the GI tract. The liver, pancreas, and gallbladder are the solid organs of the digestive system. The digestive system helps the body digest food.

Bacteria in the GI tract, also called gut flora or microbiome, help with digestion. Parts of the nervous and circulatory systems also play roles in the digestive process. Together, a combination of nerves, hormones, bacteria, blood, and the organs of the digestive system completes the complex task of digesting the foods and liquids a person consumes each day.

Why is digestion important?

Digestion is important for breaking down food into nutrients, which the body uses for energy, growth, and cell repair. Food and drink must be changed into smaller molecules of nutrients before the blood absorbs them and carries them to cells throughout the body. The body breaks down nutrients from food and drink into carbohydrates, protein, fats, and vitamins.

Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches, and fiber found in many foods. Carbohydrates are called simple or complex, depending on their chemical structure. Simple carbohydrates include sugars found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, milk, and milk products, as well as sugars added during food processing. Complex carbohydrates are starches and fiber found in whole-grain breads and cereals, starchy vegetables, and legumes. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, recommends that 45 to 65 percent of total daily calories come from carbohydrates.1

Protein. Foods such as meat, eggs, and beans consist of large molecules of protein that the body digests into smaller molecules called amino acids. The body absorbs amino acids through the small intestine into the blood, which then carries them throughout the body. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, recommends that 10 to 35 percent of total daily calories come from protein.1

Fats. Fat molecules are a rich source of energy for the body and help the body absorb vitamins. Oils, such as corn, canola, olive, safflower, soybean, and sunflower, are examples of healthy fats. Butter, shortening, and snack foods are examples of less healthy fats. During digestion, the body breaks down fat molecules into fatty acids and glycerol. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, recommends that 20 to 35 percent of total daily calories come from fat.1

Vitamins. Scientists classify vitamins by the fluid in which they dissolve. Water-soluble vitamins include all the B vitamins and vitamin C. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. Each vitamin has a different role in the body’s growth and health. The body stores fat-soluble vitamins in the liver and fatty tissues, whereas the body does not easily store water-soluble vitamins and flushes out the extra in the urine. 

How does digestion work?

Digestion works by moving food through the GI tract. Digestion begins in the mouth with chewing and ends in the small intestine. As food passes through the GI tract, it mixes with digestive juices, causing large molecules of food to break down into smaller molecules. The body then absorbs these smaller molecules through the walls of the small intestine into the bloodstream, which delivers them to the rest of the body. Waste products of digestion pass through the large intestine and out of the body as a solid matter called stool.

Table 1 shows the parts of the digestive process performed by each digestive organ, including movement of food, type of digestive juice used, and food particles broken down by that organ.

Table 1. The digestive process

Organ

Movement

Digestive Juices Used

Food Particles Broken Down

Mouth

Chewing

Saliva

Starches

Esophagus

Swallowing

None

None

Stomach

Upper muscle in stomach relaxes to let food enter and lower muscle mixes food with digestive juice

Stomach acid

Protein

Small intestine

Peristalsis

Small intestine digestive juice

Starches, protein, and carbohydrates

Pancreas

None

Pancreatic juice

Starches, fats, and protein

Liver

None

Bile acids

Fats

How does food move through the GI tract?

The large, hollow organs of the GI tract contain a layer of muscle that enables their walls to move. The movement of organ walls—called peristalsis—propels food and liquid through the GI tract and mixes the contents within each organ. Peristalsis looks like an ocean wave traveling through the muscle as it contracts and relaxes.

Esophagus. When a person swallows, food pushes into the esophagus, the muscular tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. Once swallowing begins, it becomes involuntary and proceeds under the control of the esophagus and brain. The lower esophageal sphincter, a ringlike muscle at the junction of the esophagus and stomach, controls the passage of food and liquid between the esophagus and stomach. As food approaches the closed sphincter, the muscle relaxes and lets food pass through to the stomach.

Stomach. The stomach stores swallowed food and liquid, mixes the food and liquid with digestive juice it produces, and slowly empties its contents, called chyme, into the small intestine. The muscle of the upper part of the stomach relaxes to accept large volumes of swallowed material from the esophagus. The muscle of the lower part of the stomach mixes the food and liquid with digestive juice.

Small intestine. The muscles of the small intestine mix food with digestive juices from the pancreas, liver, and intestine and push the mixture forward to help with further digestion. The walls of the small intestine absorb the digested nutrients into the bloodstream. The blood delivers the nutrients to the rest of the body.

Large intestine. The waste products of the digestive process include undigested parts of food and older cells from the GI tract lining. Muscles push these waste products into the large intestine. The large intestine absorbs water and any remaining nutrients and changes the waste from liquid into stool. The rectum stores stool until it pushes stool out of the body during a bowel movement.

How do digestive juices in each organ of the GI tract break down food?

Digestive juices contain enzymes—substances that speed up chemical reactions in the body—that break food down into different nutrients.

Salivary glands. Saliva produced by the salivary glands moistens food so it moves more easily through the esophagus into the stomach. Saliva also contains an enzyme that begins to break down the starches from food.

Glands in the stomach lining. The glands in the stomach lining produce stomach acid and an enzyme that digests protein.

Pancreas. The pancreas produces a juice containing several enzymes that break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in food. The pancreas delivers digestive juice to the small intestine through small tubes called ducts.

Liver. The liver produces a digestive juice called bile. The gallbladder stores bile between meals. When a person eats, the gallbladder squeezes bile through the bile ducts, which connect the gallbladder and liver to the small intestine. The bile mixes with the fat in food. The bile acids dissolve fat into the watery contents of the intestine, much like how detergents dissolve grease from a frying pan, so the intestinal and pancreatic enzymes can digest the fat molecules.

Small intestine. Digestive juice produced by the small intestine combines with pancreatic juice and bile to complete digestion. The body completes the breakdown of proteins, and the final breakdown of starches produces glucose molecules that absorb into the blood. Bacteria in the small intestine produce some of the enzymes needed to digest carbohydrates.

What happens to the digested food molecules?

The small intestine absorbs most digested food molecules, as well as water and minerals, and passes them on to other parts of the body for storage or further chemical change. Specialized cells help absorbed materials cross the intestinal lining into the bloodstream. The bloodstream carries simple sugars, amino acids, glycerol, and some vitamins and salts to the liver. The lymphatic system, a network of vessels that carry white blood cells and a fluid called lymph throughout the body, absorbs fatty acids and vitamins.

How is the digestive process controlled?

Hormone and nerve regulators control the digestive process.

Hormone Regulators

The cells in the lining of the stomach and small intestine produce and release hormones that control the functions of the digestive system. These hormones stimulate production of digestive juices and regulate appetite.

Nerve Regulators

Two types of nerves help control the action of the digestive system: extrinsic and intrinsic nerves.

The Extrinsic, or outside, nerves connect the digestive organs to the brain and spinal cord. These nerves release chemicals that cause the muscle layer of the GI tract to either contract or relax, depending on whether food needs digesting.

The Intrinsic, or inside, nerves within the GI tract are triggered when food stretches the walls of the hollow organs. The nerves release many different substances that speed up or delay the movement of food and the production of digestive juices.

Points to Remember

  • Digestion is important for breaking down food into nutrients, which the body uses for energy, growth, and cell repair.
  • Digestion works by moving food through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
  • Digestion begins in the mouth with chewing and ends in the small intestine.
  • As food passes through the GI tract, it mixes with digestive juices, causing large molecules of food to break down into smaller molecules. The body then absorbs these smaller molecules through the walls of the small intestine into the bloodstream, which delivers them to the rest of the body.
  • Waste products of digestion pass through the large intestine and out of the body as a solid matter called stool.
  • Digestive juices contain enzymes that break food down into different nutrients.
  • The small intestine absorbs most digested food molecules, as well as water and minerals, and passes them on to other parts of the body for storage or further chemical change. Hormone and nerve regulators control the digestive process.

[1] U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th ed. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2010.

What causes digestive symptoms?

Digestive symptoms have many possible underling causes.

General conditions that can cause digestive symptoms include infection (bacterial, viral, parasitic), malignancy, inflammation, trauma, obstruction, and other abnormal processes.

The most common underlying cause for digestive symptoms is the ingestion of antibiotics as a result of medical treatment for infection, as a preventative when seeing a Dentist or from eating many animal foods such as beef, chicken, eggs and fish since most of these food sources have been treated with antibiotics. Upon consumption of these foods that have been treated with antibiotics, this will lead to digestive problems.  

 

Gastrointestinal causes of digestive symptoms

Appendicitis

Celiac disease (severe sensitivity to gluten from wheat and other grains that causes intestinal damage)

Colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, and pancreatic cancer

Diverticulitis and diverticulosis

Food poisoning

Gallstones

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Inflammatory bowel disease (includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)

Intestinal obstruction

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS; digestive discomfort that does not cause intestinal damage or serious disease)

Lactose intolerance and other food intolerances

Liver disease (hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver failure)

Pancreatitis

Peptic ulcer

Viral gastroenteritis

Parasites

Other causes of digestive symptoms

Other causes of digestive symptoms include:

Altitude sickness

Antibiotic therapy

Concussion

Exposure to smoke or toxic fumes or substances

Kidney disease (kidney stone, kidney failure, pyelonephritis)

Medication side effects

Meniere’s disease

Migraine

Motion sickness

Narcotic use or withdrawal

Pregnancy and labor

Stress or anxiety

Type 1 or type 2 diabetes

Vertigo

The Medical Perspective

Life-threatening causes of digestive swelling

In some cases, digestive symptoms may accompany a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. These include:

Abdominal abscess

Abdominal trauma

Acute pyelonephritis (kidney infection)

Bleeding esophageal varices

Bleeding peptic ulcer

Bowel obstruction

Brain hemorrhage

Diabetic ketoacidosis (serious complication of diabetes)

Dissecting abdominal aortic aneurysm

Kidney failure

Liver failure

Peritonitis (infection of the lining that surrounds the abdomen)

What are the potential complications of digestive symptoms?

In some cases, digestive symptoms can lead to serious complications, especially if the underlying disease or condition is untreated or poorly managed. Once the underlying cause is identified, you can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications include:

Bowel obstruction

Dehydration due to vomiting, diarrhea, or a decreased desire to drink fluids

Difficulty breathing

Erosive esophagitis

Peritonitis

Poor nutrition due to vomiting, diarrhea, or a decreased desire to eat

Reduced appetite

Sepsis (life-threatening bacterial blood infection)

Severe discomfort or pain

Shock

Treatments and Solutions

The Alternative Perspective

Dr. Huntoon has helped hundreds of people from all over the country to deal with this challenging disorder.  Focusing on the underlying CAUSE has always resulted in full resolution of the imbalance.  Taking the time to have a Consultation and Examination with Dr. Huntoon will always prove beneficial. Regardless of what you call it, you can restore your health and return to a normal life.  

By working closely with a Holistic Chiropractor who can help you develop a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to addressing your digestive concerns and cravings is warranted. Make sure to address any negative effects caused by antibiotic therapy by getting on a proper probiotic.  Your Holistic Chiropractor can advise you of this.

Digestive symptoms can result from gastrointestinal or digestive conditions or from conditions of other body systems, such as the endocrine system, the nervous system, the reproductive system, and the urinary system.  Many times emotions will create digestive symptoms and by working with a Holistic Chiropractor who practices Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET) is warranted.  For more information on NET, go to www.netmindbody.com

Also consider working with an Acupuncturist, Homeopath or Naturopath to develop a lifestyle that can support and manage your digestive problems.

Medicines Two Choices for You 

Your Solution

Developing a healthy life-style with proper guidance from your Holistic Chiropractor is the best prevention. Asking questions about what you can do to develop a Preventative mindset is important.
 
Dr. Huntoon has helped hundreds of people from all over the country to deal with this challenging disorder.  Focusing on the underlying CAUSE has always resulted in full resolution of the imbalance.  Regardless of what you call it, you can restore your health and return to a normal life.  
 
Do not listen to the television commercials that will say, "There is no cure for your condition.  Management can be achieved.  Ask your doctor today if this medication is right for you."  
 
If you are ready to get to the source of your problem, we are here to help.  Call Dr. Huntoon at (845)561-2225 and schedule your consultation today.  We look forward to serving you.

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