Digestive Enzymes, pH and What Happens When It’s Off
The keys to good health are an abundance of digestive enzymes and the proper digestive pH for them to perform complete digestion. Here’s how the system works:
The food goes into the mouth and gets mixed with enzymes that begin the process of carbohydrate pre-digestion in the mouth (this is why it’s so important to chew your food well.) The food travels to the upper stomach, where it sits for one hour in a relatively high pH, pre-digesting and getting ready for the more acidic pH of the lower stomach, where hydrochloric acid will begin protein breakdown and fat emulsification. Then the food enters the duodenum where pancreatic juices are supposed to raise the pH so that the pancreatic enzymes can finish the job of digestion, breaking the food down to the point that the body can use it for repair, protection, and maintenance. If the food is not fully broken down, the body will not be able to use it. If this situation continues over a period of time, chronic illness will set in. When the digestion process is complete, the small intestine will allow the food to pass through into the body where it is used to make blood, bone, muscle, hormones, enzymes, neurons, and everything else it needs. Incompletely digested food may pass through the intestinal lumen, but the body cannot use it.
Say we have an over-production of hydrochloric acid in the lower stomach that pours into the duodenum. This calls for an extra rich supply of sodium, potassium and bicarbonate ions in the pancreatic juice to raise the pH enough so that digestion can be successful. However, what if our diet is chronically acid, what if we are under a lot of emotional stress, or what if we take certain medications (such as anti-depressants, blood pressure medicine, or diuretics.) All these are things that will leave our system poor in alkalizing elements and we will not have enough sodium or potassium for our pancreas to put in its juice. The pH of the duodenum will remain too low for optimal digestion. The enzymes that complete protein and carbohydrate digestion in the pancreas, work within a specific pH range. In the center of that range, they are at peak performance. As the pH moves to the limits of the range, their performance drops. So if we are right at the limit or just over the limit of the pH range for these enzymes, we are getting incomplete digestion activity from the enzymes.
When protein is completely broken down it becomes single amino acids, which our body uses to make, among many other things, digestive enzymes. (Amino acids also create the mineral carriers of the body so that the alkalizing minerals like sodium and potassium get where they need to go in the body, thereby protecting the pH of things like the pancreatic juice.) When protein cannot be broken down into amino acids, our body can’t use it. So, if we are making less and less digestive enzymes (as well as less and less of everything else our body needs) our food is digesting less and less. Until finally we begin to experience the symptoms of chronic illness. Fine, we say, we will take antacids to buffer our digestive PH. No. Antacids will raise the pH in the stomach, which needs to be low to start protein breakdown. In this scenario, inefficiently predigested fats and proteins enter the duodenum which: 1) is not designed to do the job of the stomach, and 2) Still doesn’t have enough enzymes to do its part of the job. In other words: antacids compound the problem. The digestive system is so complex that trying to control it from the outside is a losing proposition. The only way to have success is to give the body the raw materials it needs and let the digestive system heal itself. The basic raw materials for digestive enzymes are amino acids. The body makes some of these itself and has a very complicated system for keeping them in the proper balance. The amino acids that the body does not manufacture are called essential amino acids and must be supplied from outside sources. But if these are not supplied in the proper balance, the entire amino acid system will reduce in efficiency. All we have to do is figure out the essential amino acid combination that will fit into the delicate AA balance the body demands in order to create the enzymes it needs!
Amino acids comprise the protein carriers that transport minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids into the cells. Organic minerals such as sodium, calcium, and potassium make up the body's absolutely necessary supply of electrolytes.
The body&8217;s enzyme activity, blood purity and immune potential all depend upon electrolyte activity. Electrolyte levels are reflected in the body&8217;s pH. (One indication of body pH is saliva pH. A healthy saliva pH is between 6.4 and 6.8. slightly acid.) If the pH of the body becomes too acid or too alkaline, the body&8217;s electrolyte supply will become severely diminished, opening up the body to disease conditions and depressing the immune system. For example, when organic sodium levels become low our body will use stored supplies in the liver, joints, bile, and stomach. As sodium is taken from the mucosal lining of the stomach there is a proportional loss in the stomach's ability to produce hydrochloric acid (stomach acid.)
This hydrochloric acid both serves in food digestion and in killing bacteria and viruses before they enter the gut, where they can be absorbed into the system. As sodium is taken from the bile, the pH in our gall juices lower and we now have optimal conditions for the formation of gallstones. Organic sodium removed from the joints leads to arthritis, osteoporosis and other joint/bone conditions. When sodium levels fall the body begins to dump potassium to maintain its proper correct sodium/potassium ratios. Potassium deficiency leads to its own set of problems such as heart problems, gastritis, dry skin, eye problems, etc.
These are just a couple of examples dealing with sodium deficiency but the same sad story applies to all the organic minerals. Without the proper pH, electrolyte levels fall and the cells cannot receive the necessary nutrients and energy they need to function correctly. If the pH stays imbalanced, whole organs begin to register disease. Mineral deficiency will cause problems in the body and the body will be mineral deficient if it is protein deficient.
In my career as a holistic chiropractic physician (50 years +) we treated thousands of people and many had this condition mostly incidental to their primary complaints. We were able to clear them all of their distress. We were able to identify the root causes which were malfunctioning nerves to the stomach, diaphragm, and esophagus. The tests we used were standard in Applied Kinesiology and some developed from this by me. They are primarily the BEV Tests and the CCT Tests (Confirmatory Challenge Tests)© which enabled us to identify diskal(spinal) lesions beyond any method known today (See US patent 6,203,820).
Supernutrient Corp. spent years researching this phenomenon and formulating a very specific balance of pure, free form essential amino acids. Supplementation with the proper balance of essential amino acids will help maintain the body⁏s supply of organic minerals and thus its PH balance and its precious supply of electrolytes. Essential amino acids allows the body to reverse this cycle of mal-digestion so that it can heal itself and maintain that health. Taking Properly balanced amino acids along with eating a diet that balances digestive pH levels, will heal the body and ensure that it stays well.