I think it’s safe to say most of us have had a stomach ache at one time or another in our lives. Unfortunately, for many people “one time or another” can turn into several times a week or even daily.
Now, a stomach ache can have many underlying causes—ulcers, overeating, gastritis, medications (especially antibiotics), stress and food sensitivities can all be culprits behind your tummy troubles.
But sometimes, “stomach” aches have nothing whatsoever to do with your stomach.
Instead it’s very possible that your pain and discomfort are due to an issue a little further down the digestive road with another GI tract team member.
Your stomach’s the prep station
Although digestion technically begins in your mouth with your saliva acting on starches as you chew, things truly start to happen in the stomach. Your stomach begins the initial breakdown of protein foods that you eat, plus it continues the breakdown of starches that your saliva started.
The stomach is smart—the cells in its inner lining can sense what kind of food you are eating, and they adjust their enzyme secretions accordingly to ensure that the stomach carries out its job well.
It also serves a protective function--killing dangerous bacteria you might have unknowingly eaten along with your meal. Plus it helps cleave away vitamin B12 from the animal proteins you’ve eaten.
But the REAL action starts to take place a little further south, in the upper portion of your small intestine, known as your duodenum.
This is where the pancreas steps in.
Enter the proficient pancreas
Once you've eaten a meal and your stomach has finished its prep work, your pancreas secretes a substance similar to baking soda that neutralizes the acid in your pre-digested food (called chyme—pronounced “kime”). This prepares it to slide comfortably into the more alkaline environment of the small intestine.
Once the chyme moves into your duodenum, the pancreas secretes 9 other enzymes to further break down all the various types of foods you've eaten -- protein, sugars, starches and fats.
Your pancreas is brilliant -- it knows precisely how much of each enzyme you need depending on what you ate, and like a master chef, it puts together the right “recipe” of catalysts to get everything broken down like it should be.
The gallbladder makes an appearance here too, secreting bile that it has concentrated from your liver to help with the digestion of fats.
Resources can get scarce
The problem with this perfect digestive picture is that your body has a limited capability to produce pancreatic enzymes throughout your lifetime...
And when it starts slowing down (called pancreatic insufficiency), so does your digestion and that spells trouble.
When your body can't produce adequate pancreatic enzymes to finish the breakdown your foods, you can end up with poor nutrient absorption (and the resulting nutritional deficiencies), waste and toxin build-up, an unhealthy gut microbiome, chronic constipation, diverticulosis and diverticulitis, inflammation and possibly even colon cancer in the long run!
Pancreatic insufficiency is common in the elderly as well as people who have celiac disease, autoimmune conditions, parasites, harmful bacteria overgrowth and cirrhosis.
But another cause is your diet!
That’s right--when your meals mainly consist of "dead foods" (burgers, fries, pizza, boxed foods and lots of cooked foods in general), your pancreas has to do ALL the work and use up boatloads of its enzymes, day in and day out, just to break everything down.
On the other hand, what most people don’t realize is that fresh fruits and vegetables have their own enzymes built right in!
When your food comes with its own enzymes, your pancreas doesn't need to supply as many. So it gets a break and you conserve your precious enzyme resources.
So, Mom’s advice to “eat your vegetables” when you were a kid had a lot of merit.
The telltale signs
Here are the most common signs of a pancreas that is getting overworked:
- Abdominal cramps
- Indigestion or belching 1-3 hours after eating
- Tendency to bleed easily
- Fatigue after eating
- Gas and bloating
- Constipation and/or diarrhea
- Greasy, shiny stools; stools that float
- Poorly formed, loose stools
- Undigested food in your stools
- Very foul-smelling stools or flatulence
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar)
- Dry, flaky skin and/or dry, brittle hair
- Pain in your left side under the rib cage
- Acne or skin rashes
- Food allergies or sensitivities
The more of those that apply to you, the more likely it is that you are pushing the envelope with your pancreas.
How to take care of YOUR precious pancreas
Here is the ideal plan to take care of your pancreas (and all your digestive organs!), and help ensure comfortable, complete digestion:
Start by making the stomach’s job easier
When your stomach can do a good job with its prep work, your pancreas doesn’t have to work as hard.
Problem is, our typical modern Western-type meals are extremely taxing on your stomach, so it doesn’t do as good a job as it should…and your pancreas has to work like crazy (and secrete boatloads of enzymes) to pick up the slack!
But when you eat meals that your stomach can comfortably and efficiently tackle, you make the pancreas’ job MUCH easier—and you end up feeling great after meals, instead of painful, gassy and bloated.
My Great Taste No Pain system will show you how to create meals that are a snap for your system to digest.
Great Taste No Pain stresses foods that are natural sources of enzymes (fresh fruits and vegetables), as well as delicious meats, poultry, fish and more, and gives you a collection of scrumptious recipes that will make your taste buds dance and your system say, “Thank you!”
Help your body compensate for any “shortages”
If you feel like your body is already running a little low in enzymes, or if you just want to help conserve your supplies or have a little “digestion insurance,” when you need it, then a top-notch enzyme formula like Digestizol Max is your ticket.
Digestizol Max provides a complete blend of 15 plant-based enzymes that will help your body tackle virtually anything you can eat!
Plus its blend of gentle, cooling herbs (including peppermint, ginger and fennel) help to soothe any inflammation you may already have going on in your intestinal tract.
Help bring your gut microbiome into balance
If you’ve had a long history of poor digestion and/or low pancreatic output, it’s very likely that your gut microbiome is topsy-turvy.
This is not good, because not only does your microbiome help break down sugars and fibers and enhance nutrient absorption, but it also houses most of your immune system (which protects you from diseases like cancer)!
The best way to support a healthy gut environment is to have a wholesome, real foods diet and supplement with an outstanding probiotic like Super Shield multi-strain probiotic formula.
Super Shield’s full-spectrum blend of 13 robust, well-studied bacteria can help repopulate your supply of intestinal good guys to help ensure their numbers stay strong and support your optimal health and sound digestion.
Now you are on the road to pain-free digestion and a very pleased pancreas!
To your health,Sherry Brescia