naturopath
Menu

Digestion and dem Bones

Posted in: Aging    Digestion    

You are not necessarily what you eat, but you are what you absorb!

In order to liberate the minerals in our food for absorption there must be adequate stomach acid.  Stomach acid is also necessary for protein digestion (and remember that bones are half protein).  A lack of stomach acid, known as hypochlorhydria, will lead to poor mineral absorption, poor protein digestion, and can contribute to overall acidity in body tissues.

With poor digestion a catch-22 than can develop. We need minerals such as zinc in order to MAKE the stomach acid that helps us to absorb minerals, and we need amino acids from well-digested proteins to MAKE the enzymes that break down our next meals into amino acids, simple carbs, fats, and minerals.

If there are acids entering the tissues the body must pull minerals from the bone in order to buffer them.  This sets the stage for bone loss since the body has to prioritize the pH of the blood (if blood becomes too acidic we die; if blood becomes too alkaline we die!). Shifting a diet towards alkaline ash foods, and improving stomach acid levels along with other aspects of digestion, helps to push the body towards bone deposition rather than bone breakdown.

Assessing stomach acid levels is easy.  Whether you have digestive issues or not, if you are concerned about bone health let me know.  The sooner an imbalance is addressed the faster it is to resolve.

 

Take action:

Eat mindfully (no computers, phones, driving, etc.), chew well, and use herbs and digestive supplements as needed before a meal to maximize your absorption of both amino acids and minerals.

The juice of half a lemon, or 1-3 tsp of raw apple cider vinegar in some water before a meal will improve mineral uptake from the diet by increasing the acidity of the stomach.

Bitter herbs such as dandelion root or citrus rinds before a meal stimulate the secretion of stomach acid and enzymes.  So have the lemon juice AND the zest in a little water before eating.

Some probiotic supplements have been show to improve bone density, presumably through reduced digestive inflammation and improved nutrient absorption.  Fermentation makes the minerals in foods more bioavailable.

 

More info on acid-alkaline balance in the body can be found here.