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Peter Dyck
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The Ecology of the Gut

The Miraculous Journey
The human GI tract is not something most people really think about, yet it is something that plays a major role in how well the body functions. The food we eat passes through a truly miraculous journey as it makes its way through the digestive system of our human body This journey can be challenging: It extends a long distance considering the relative size of the human body, and nothing emerges from the experience unchanged.

The adult digestive system is about 8 m long —
about 7.5 m of which is the intestinal tract

The digestive system is made up of a group of organs that work together to break down the chemical components of food into small nutrient particles that can generate energy for the body.

The Digestive Process.

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Digestion begins in the mouth, continues in the throat and esophagus, and then in the stomach, small intestine and large intestines, rectum and anus.

The average American adult eats about
a half-ton (453 kg) of food per year.

As food passes through the body it is combined with a diverse assortment of chemicals to break it down absorbtion in the blood and lymph systems. Some food is used for energy, some as building blocks for tissues and cells, and some is stored for later use. Since not everthing we eat can be absorbed by the body, the waste is disposed of efficiently.

Our digestive system may be compared to a highly complex piece of machinery. It has separate parts that operate independently and work in turn to process the food into useful forms. Like every other system and organ of the body, the digestive system needs support in order to operate at it's best. Three key nutritional requirements for the support of this intricate system are enzymes, probiotics and fiber.

Muscles contract in waves to move food
down the esophagus. You could say that
food would reach your stomach even if you
were standing on your head while eating.

Digestive System Support

In eating the food passes from the mouth to the stomach and intestines. There enzymes break the food down into nurients which the body can absorb and utilize.

Enzymes are biological catalysts — large protein molecules that cause chemical reactions without undergoing any change themselves. Enzymes play a vital role in the digestive process. Problems can arise when food sits too long in the stomach. Enzymes help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates into useful forms and ensure that material passes rapidly through the digestive tract.

While the healthy body produces numerous enzymes, three especially worth noting are amylase, lactase and protease. These key enzymes support the healthy digestion of gluten protein and help maintain normal, healthy stool weight and daily fecal excretion.*

Humans produce about three pints (1.4195 litres) of saliva
every day. Food is either warmed or cooled in the mouth
to a temperature suitable for digestion.


A wide variety of bacteria and other microorganisms help keep the digestive system running smoothly by breaking food down and processing waste. These bacteria and microorganisms are classified as "beneficial" and are essential for keeping intestinal microflora in balance.

Beneficial bacteria are known as probiotics — tiny living organisms that contribute to the health and balance of the intestinal tract. They support both the digestive and immune systems. Probiotics help keep beneficial bacteria at normal levels so that you can maintain a healthy balanced digestive system.*

Fifty to sixty years ago eating a food like yogurt (containing acidophilus bacteria) would supply more than enough probiotics, but the world has changed since then, and this is no longer the case. In addition to factors that are the direct result of our toxin-laden environment, emotional and physical stress, alcohol consumption and poor dietary choices can also destroy the probiotics we need.

While the adult stomach can hold about 2 pints (946.35 ml)
of material, about 20 pints (9.46 l) of digested food, liquids
and digestive juices flow through the digestive system daily.


Most of us know little more about fiber than that it is good for us and helps us keep regular. However, that is only part of the story.

In fact, many minor digestion-related conditions besides irregularity might be averted if we consumed adequate fiber. "How much is "adequate"? The National Institute of Health recommends that a normal adult have a daily intake of 25 to 35 grams of fiber. By contrast, the average adult American's diet typically contains 10 to 12 grams of fiber a day — one half to one-third of the recommended amount.

Fiber is a substance found only in plants such as fruits, vegetables and grains. The part of the plant fiber that we eat is called dietary fiber and is an important part of a healthy diet.

There are two main types of fiber — soluable and insoluable. Soluable fiber forms a gel when mixed with a liquid, while insoluable fiber remains unchanged and passes through the digetive tract largely intact. Both kinds of fiber are important in the diet and provide benefits to our digestive system.

It's a long journey from start to finish. Keep it as comfortable and trouble-free as possible by giving it the maintenance it needs!

adapted from Food for Thought, Mannatech Health & Living Vol. 4, No. 3

* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Need to Perk Up? This Product Could Help.

Posted by Jennifer Evans on 28 August, 2014

You know that sluggish feeling you get from time to time? Or maybe you get it more often than you like? Did you know that it may actually be related to your digestive tract?

Seventy percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract. So, when your gut isn't working its best, you're less likely to absorb vital nutrients from the food you eat. And when you're not getting the right nutrition, you can start powering down a bit and feeling sluggish.

MannaCLEANSE Caplets: Digestive System Support for Total Wellness

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