Digestion Part 1: Introduction to the Digestive System

 

The Gastrointestinal Tract (GI Tract) is a system of organs that converts food into energy and nutrition. The GI Tract ingests food, breaks it down into forms that our bodies can process, and then sends the nutrition where it needs to go. It also gets rid of the waste at the end. The major components of the GI Tract are the stomach and the small and large intestines. The intestines contain the trillions of microorganisms that comprise the gut microbiome.

If the GI Tract is damaged, or otherwise not functioning effectively, then we will not extract the required nutrition from our food; it will simply pass through our system undigested. There is little point eating a nutritious diet if your body isn’t receiving the nutrition. Alternatively, the waste that should have been excreted instead finds its way into our bloodstream.

Problems with the GI Tract are associated with skin diseases (eczema or psoriasis), autoimmune conditions (Hashimoto’s), and even mental diseases such as Alzheimer’s and depression. Meanwhile abnormal gut flora is associated with weight problems, IBS, and type 1 diabetes.

In this series of posts I’ll explain how the GI Tract works by describing how food travels from one end of the GI Tract to the other.