Upper GI Digestion
By upper gastrointestinal (GI), we mean the stomach and pancreas. The stomach adds hydrochloric acid and pepsin to help digest the food. The food then moves to the first part of the small intestine, or duodenum. There the pancreas adds enzymes to digest protein, fat and carbohydrates, and the gall bladder secretes bile to help emulsify fats.
Problems with digestion in the stomach and duodenum include inadequate production of hydrochloric acid (also called ʺhypochlorhydriaʺ), pancreatic enzymes and bile salts. If this initial phase of digestion is inadequate, nutrients will not be absorbed, the GI tract can become irritated and yeast and other improper flora can grow in the lower bowel.
Poor digestion can be the beginning of digestive problems, fatigue, nutrient deficiency, obesity, food cravings, and allergies. It can also be the cause of irritable bowel, colitis, and Crohn’s disease.