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Speed Up Digestion

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/30/2020

Let’s face it, digestion isn’t the world’s sexiest subject. Nonetheless, when you understand your digestive process, and discover how to improve it, you can also improve your overall health.

In this article, I’ll cover:

Speeding up your digestive process helps not only if you’re constipated, but also if you have indigestion, gas, bloating, and stomach pain - anything that indicates an incomplete cycle of digestion.

I’ll break down each part of your digestive tract process to show you what happens.

drawing of a woman sketching the digestive system


The Key Parts And Processes Of Your Digestive System

Stomach Acid

For your stomach, acid is the key ingredient for healthy digestion. Stomach acid - hydrochloric acid - helps you break down the protein you eat. It helps with the absorption minerals, and kills off pathogens.

Many people either don’t have enough acid in their stomach; or, if they do, it’s not strong enough to get its part of digestion done very well. The pH needs to be between 1 and 3. For comparison, that’s like battery acid!

If your stomach acid is strong, and you have enough of it, the valve at the top of your stomach closes as it should. Then, when you eat food, it gets broken down quickly.

Adding more hydrochloric acid directly would improve your digestion, but you won’t actually drink it because it would burn your mouth and esophagus on its way down. Instead, take betaine hydrochloride - a weaker acid that will build up your own stomach acid levels. You can get it in a supplement.

an illustration of stomach acid

As well, you can take the raw materials that help you build up hydrochloric acid. One is salt, which is sodium hydrochloride. The other is potassium. These are the two most important nutrients you need to improve your stomach acid.

Drinking apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon in a cup of water, will also help strengthen and increase your stomach acid, as will drinking kombucha. Make sure you get a bottle of kombucha that has the least amount of sugar in it. 2 grams per bottle is ideal.

Avoid taking antacids. They counter the beneficial acid in your stomach, and will worsen your situation. The calcium carbonate that’s in antacid actually harms the healthy acid.

Bile In Your Liver and Gallbladder

Bile is the digestive fluid made by the liver and stored in your gallbladder. Bile helps your body break down the fats that you eat. To boost your bile, you can take purified bile salts. Take one capsule after your meal to help with bloating, burping, and belching as well as to help break down dietary fats.

If you want to increase your body’s ability to make bile, you can do several things:

  • Take a probiotic, since probiotics help you recycle bile
  • Consume beet tops, ginger, artichokes, lemon, or milk thistle
  • Take choline

All of these substances stimulate the liver to increase its production of bile.

In order to not end up with too little bile, avoid decreasing your probiotics (the friendly bacteria). This can happen after you take an antibiotic, for example, so you need to be ready to consume probiotics in response.

Having your gallbladder taken out, or having a fatty liver will decrease bile. Any general liver damage puts you at risk of too little bile, as will having an issue with drainage through your bile ducts or simply having a sluggish gallbladder.

Enzymes In Your Pancreas and Intestines

Enzymes that are produced by your pancreas and by both the small and large intestines play an important part of healthy digestion. Enzymes help you break down specific parts of food; the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

The more raw food you eat, the more help you get from enzymes. Heat from cooking and pasteurization destroys the enzymes in food, meaning that the more cooked, pasteurized, and canned foods you eat, the fewer enzymes you’ll have. You may end up having to take enzymes as supplements.

Signs that you have insufficient enzymes include indigestion and dark, tarry stools that stick to the toilet because you’re not breaking down the fats properly. There’s an enzyme called lipase that works together with bile to break down fat into the smallest particles, which will help eliminate these issues.

Flora In Your Large Intestine

Flora is friendly bacteria that comprises your gut microbiome. Most of your flora is found in your large intestine, although there are small amounts found in every crevice of your body including the outside.

To boost your flora, I recommend that you:

  • Take a probiotic
  • Take prebiotics; that is, fiber, which is the food that feeds the microbes in your gut microbiome. The best source of fiber is vegetables.

If you’ve taken an antibiotic or you consume a lot of GMO food, you’ll lose your friendly bacteria. You can then develop constipation; be unable to make certain vitamins; and, develop nutritional deficiencies.

Your Parasympathetic Nervous System

You’ve probably heard of your sympathetic nervous system, because it’s the seat of your fight or flight mechanism that kicks in with stress.

By contrast, your parasympathetic nervous system is known as “rest and digest”. It helps with what’s called peristalsis, the pumping action of your colon that moves food through your intestines.

It’s stimulated by keeping your stress levels low, taking vitamin B1 found in nutritional yeast along with taking potassium and magnesium.

Up Next:-

an illustration of gut microbiome


Time To Speed Up Your Digestion

Like I said, digestion is definitely not the sexiest subject. Yet you can tell how incredibly important it is for it to be speedy and smooth. Your health relies on it.

For a comprehensive overview of the entire digestive system, check out this video I put together for you.

Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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