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How our Digestion System Works and benefits of Black Walnut

By Apricot Power

March 2018 Newsletter

Our Digestion System

The Who, What, When, Why, and How

The digestive tract is really a simple system. A long tube open at the top and bottom. Food goes in the mouth, it travels along as if on a conveyor belt, nutrients are extracted, and the nonusable waste is eliminated out the rear end.

If you read no further, get this point: Nutrients cannot come into the body unless the food is digested (broken down). Digestion is the process by which food, as we eat it, is broken down into chemical substances that can be assimilated (taken into) the body. Almost all foods, whether it is a sugar, carbohydrate, or a protein, must be digested before it can be assimilated and utilized. It is the end product of digestion that is used to build and nourish cells and provide energy (fuel) for the body to function. Digestion begins in the mouth and is completed in the small intestine. The process is the same for dogs, cats, horses, and people.

Proteins are made up of one or more chains of amino acids. In order for the body to utilize the amino acids in the protein, the protein must be cleaved into individual amino acids. The individual amino acids are absorbed from the intestines, carried by the bloodstream to the liver where the liver warehouses the amino acids. When particular amino acids are needed to build and repair, the liver is signaled to construct the new protein and deliver it where it is needed.

Proteins are fundamental components of all living cells and include many substances, such as enzymes, hormones, and antibodies. They are essential in the diet of animals for the growth and repair of tissue and can be obtained from foods such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, and legumes.

Carbohydrates include bread, potatoes, pastries, candy, rice, spaghetti, fruits, and vegetables. Many of these foods contain both starch (which can be digested), and fiber (which the body cannot digest).

The digestible carbohydrates are broken into simpler molecules by enzymes in the saliva, in juice produced by the pancreas, and in the lining of the small intestine.

Starch is digested in two steps: First, enzymes in the saliva and pancreatic juices break the starch into molecules called maltose. Enzymes in the lining of the small intestine (maltase) split the maltose into glucose molecules that can be absorbed into the blood. Glucose is then carried through the bloodstream to the liver, where it is stored or used to provide energy for the work of the body. Table sugar, a type of carbohydrate, must be digested to be useful. Enzymes digest table sugar into glucose and fructose, each of which can be absorbed from the intestinal cavity into the blood. Milk contains a sugar called lactose, which must be digested by an enzyme called lactase.

Healthy fats are important to maintain a healthy body. Fat digestion begins with the mixing of bile acids (which are produced by the liver) with the fat. The bile acts as natural detergents to dissolve fat in water and allow the enzymes to break the large fat molecules into smaller molecules like fatty acids and cholesterol. The bile acids combine with the fatty acids and cholesterol and help these molecules move into the cells of the mucosa. In the mucosal cells, the small molecules are formed back into large molecules and then are carried by the blood to storage depots in different parts of the body.

By now it should be clear that enzymes play a crucial role in the digestive process. When food is not digested, it can lead to inflammation and serious health issues.

“Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food”

- Hippocrates

What the Heck is...

There is a whole world of vitamins, nutrients, and supplements in the market. It’s very difficult to know everything about each of them. How can they benefit me? Why do I need them? This column will highlight something you may not have heard of and what its benefits may be. This month we are featuring a very interesting supplement with a very long name—“Fresh Green Black Walnut Wormwood Complex”. You may have heard of it referred to as “black walnut”.

Is Something Bugging You?

There are many species of parasitic organisms that can live in a human along with some strains of fungus. Some species of parasites invade the intestines, while others can dwell in the liver, lungs, lymph nodes, soft tissue, and the nervous system. Parasites can invade the human body in a few different ways, but primarily through consuming bad water.

Some parasites go away on their own, and some don’t. That’s where black walnut may help. Black walnut hulls contain naphthoquinone (juglone), a chemical that is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal. It is also known as an effective herbal laxative and a source of several vitamins including Vitamin E. Following are some other potential benefits of this interesting supplement.


May Lower Blood Pressure: It may also help with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The black walnut hull’s tannin content is thought to help shrink the sweat glands and reduce excessive sweating. It may also help with menorrhagia and diarrhea.

Promotes Healthy Skin: The tannins in black walnut have an astringent effect, which tightens the epidermis and helps relieve irritation.

May Improve Cardiovascular Health: Black walnuts are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid, which are necessary for health, but cannot be produced within the human body. They must be acquired through diet. Black walnuts may also help with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Our Fresh Green Black Walnut Wormwood Complex contains black walnut, wormwood, and clove.

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