Digestive system

The digestive system is concerned with chewing, swallowing, processing and absorption of food, as well as removal of the unwanted part of the food from the body. Hence it is composed of the following parts:

 

The mouth

The mouth contains the teeth, tongue and salivary glands. The teeth are used to break food into bits. The saliva (produced by the salivary glands) help to mould the food together so that the tongue can roll it into a bolus that can be swallowed. Some enzymes in the saliva also help to start the digestion of foods like carbohydrates.

 

The oesophagus

This is a tube about 25cm long, through which the swallowed food bolus passes from the mouth into the stomach.

 

The stomach

The stomach is a muscular sac which acts as a ‘hopper’, retaining and grinding food, then actively pushing it into the upper small intestines (bowel).

The stomach produces hydrochloric acid which helps sterilise the upper part of the intestines and activates enzymes for food digestion. It also produces a substance called intrinsic factor necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12 used in blood production.

Mucus and bicarbonate ions also produced by the stomach protects it from the effects of the acid and enzymes so that ulcers don’t develop.

 

The small intestine

The small intestine structurally has 3 parts: the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. However, doctors may sometimes refer to the small intestine as only the latter two. Stretching up to a length of about 6 metres (which is more than the height of 3 average men stacked up!), the small intestine is essential for digestion and absorption of food, as well as protection against ingested toxins.

 

The liver and gallbladder

The liver is the largest gland in the body, weighing approximately 1500g and receiving about 1500mLs of blood every minute. It is brownish in colour and wedge shaped, positioned in the right upper quarter of the abdomen. 

 

The liver functions as a processing house for the absorbed carbohydrates, fats and amino acids (from protein breakdown). It is also involved in processing drugs and environmental toxins.

 

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac with a capacity of about 50mL lying under the right half of the liver. Its function is to concentrate and store bile (the greenish bitter fluid). About 1-2 litres of bile is produced by the liver cells daily. Bile helps in the absorption of fat.

 

The pancreas

The pancreas is a gland lying in the upper left quarter of the abdomen, just below the stomach. In shape, it resembles the upper end of a thick walking stick, lying sideways with the handle on the right and turned downwards. It has a length of about 15cm and firm in consistency with a somewhat bumpy surface.

 

The pancreas produces some enzymes necessary for the digestion of fat, protein and carbohydrate.

 

The large intestine (colon)

The colon is about 1.2 metres long, and as the name suggests, it is wider than the small intestines. It is divided into 4 parts: the ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid colons. The colon absorbs water and electrolytes and also acts as a storage organs for the faeces pending when they will be ejected.

 

The rectum and anal canal

The rectum is continuous with the sigmoid colon and is about 12cm in length. The entry of faeces in the rectum triggers the urge to defecate. With relaxation of the muscles of around the anus, faeces is then passed out of the body through the anal canal anus).

 

Neutra-Clesnse— $29.95 (Save 14%!)

Neutra-Cleanse® Digestive Support Capsule What Neutra-Cleanse® may do for You: May help gently remove harmful toxins from your gastrointestinal tract while adding friendly bacteria for intestinal health. Delivery method: Easy to swallow vegetable based capsule Ingredients: All Natural • Acidophilus blend • Cascara sagrada • Citrus…
Neutra-Cleanse® Digestive Support Capsule What Neutra-Cleanse® may do for You: May help gently remove harmful toxins from your gastrointestinal tract while adding friendly bacteria for intestinal health. Delivery method: Easy to swallow vegetable based capsule Ingredients: All Natural • Acidophilus blend • Cascara sagrada • Citrus pectin Goldenseal Prune concentrate • Oat bran powder • Psyllium seed husks • Senna leaf Psyllium seed husks: • Water-soluble seeds from the Plantago plant • Good source of dietary fiber promoting regularity Senna leaf powder: • Natural laxative producing bowel movement in as few as 3-10 hours • Works to help the digestive system function properly. Oat bran powder: • Water-soluble dietary fiber • Found in many breads, muffins and cereals. Citrus pectin: • Helps in management of elevated cholesterol levels • Derived from citrus peels and apple pulp • Water-soluble fiber found in most plants, especially in citrus fruits and apples Goldenseal: • Multi-purpose perennial herb • Aids in digestion Prune concentrate: • Good source of iron and potassium. • Capable of curbing growth of certain pathogens Acidophilus: • Aids in digestion • Naturally replenishes “friendly” probiotic bacteria in intestinal tract. • Supports colon health
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Sari kunyit ( Turmeric)— $12.00 (Save 45%!)

Turmeric has been used long ago to overcome flatulence, gastritis and other digestive problems. In Japan, Hong kong and America, turmeric has been consumed widely. Especially in Japan, turmeric is very popular which consumed as a food supplement for preventing gastric and liver disorders caused by drinking alcohol and smoking. Toxicity…
Turmeric has been used long ago to overcome flatulence, gastritis and other digestive problems. In Japan, Hong kong and America, turmeric has been consumed widely. Especially in Japan, turmeric is very popular which consumed as a food supplement for preventing gastric and liver disorders caused by drinking alcohol and smoking. Toxicity studies on SidoMuncul Sari Kunyit conducted by Medical Faculty of Maranatha Christian University,Bandung shows that the product is safe for consumption in the long term. COMPOSITION: 500mg of Curcuma domesticae Rhizoma (turmeric) extract, equivalent to 100mg of standardized curcuminoid or 40g of fresh turmeric. BENEFITS: 1- Maintains stomach health . Treats stomach pain and reduces gastric acid. 2- Reduces dyspepsia,gas formation, treats diarrhea and constipation. 3- Effective for the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS) 4- Improves liver function 5- Prevents senility (Alzheimer). 6- For the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis 7- As an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals. 8- Prevents oxidation of cholesterol in the body so as to prevents blood vessels damage and the onset of plaque in blood. 9- Lower cholesterol and blood triglycerides. DIRECTION FOR USE: For maintenance: 3/1 capsule daily before meals. For treatment: 3/2 capsules daily before meals Packing: 50 transparent capsules in plastic bottle
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Papaya Enzymes digestive supplement from NOW Foods Chewable digestive enzyme tablets with mint and chlorophyll Vegetarian/Vegan formula Get the most nutrition out of the foods you eat with a digestive enzyme supplement. Digestive enzymes are essential to the body's absorption and full use of food. The capacity of the body to make…
Papaya Enzymes digestive supplement from NOW Foods Chewable digestive enzyme tablets with mint and chlorophyll Vegetarian/Vegan formula Get the most nutrition out of the foods you eat with a digestive enzyme supplement. Digestive enzymes are essential to the body's absorption and full use of food. The capacity of the body to make enzymes diminishes with age, and therefore the efficiency of digestion declines. NOW Foods Papaya Enzyme supplements have a refreshing taste and support optimal digestion when taken after meals. The tablets are made from whole, unripe spray-dried papaya powder and contain 40 mg of papaya per tablet. In addition, protease, lipase, and cellulase have been included for a full spectrum of enzyme activity. Contains no salt, starch, yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, shellfish or preservatives. 180 Lozenges
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Healthy Intestinal Flora Promotes Positive Probiotic Balance Supports Immune System This NOW product has been designed to provide a high potency, balanced blend of the two prominent species of resident intestinal bacteria. Regular intake of beneficial probiotics can aid in maintaining healthy intestinal flora. Contains milk…
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Digestive Support Healthy Gut Flora Cardiovascular Function Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale) has been used since antiquity to support digestive function and Ginger's historical applications have been confirmed by modern research. Scientific studies have demonstrated that Ginger helps to maintain healthy gut flora, aids in the…
Digestive Support Healthy Gut Flora Cardiovascular Function Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale) has been used since antiquity to support digestive function and Ginger's historical applications have been confirmed by modern research. Scientific studies have demonstrated that Ginger helps to maintain healthy gut flora, aids in the digestion of dietary fats, and can calm and soothe the digestive tract. In addition, Ginger contains a number of constituents that are known to support healthy cardiovascular function and encourage balanced immune responses. Contains no sugar, salt, starch, yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, milk, egg, shellfish or preservatives. 550 IU, 100 CAPS **This is for 2 Bottles!!
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Chewable Original Papaya Enzyme Vegetarian formula 3 tablets per serving American Health's famous blend is the perfect "after meal" supplement for helping maintain daily digestive health. They combine the finest quality of freshly ripened papaya fruit with papain, amylase and protease enzymes. Take this delicious digestive supplement…
Chewable Original Papaya Enzyme Vegetarian formula 3 tablets per serving American Health's famous blend is the perfect "after meal" supplement for helping maintain daily digestive health. They combine the finest quality of freshly ripened papaya fruit with papain, amylase and protease enzymes. Take this delicious digestive supplement regularly to promote gastrointestinal wellness. 250 TABS
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100% Organic flax seeds One pound Add to cereals, salads, and blender drinks Gluten free Flax seeds are thought to have originated in the ancient Middle East during biblical times. They are an important source of polyunsatured fatty acids, including Omega-3, plus Magnesium, Zinc and dietary fiber. Flax oil from flax seeds is the richest known source of linolenic acid. It contains protein, mucilage, phytosterols and lignans, which are naturally included at 100 times the level of the next best source, wheat bran.
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Acidophilus probiotic supplement from 21st Century Supports healthy digestion and intestinal flora Combined with 3 other probiotic organisms and FOS prebiotic A good probiotic supplement has its place in any well-rounded supplementation program, regardless of diet. Why? Maintaining healthy intestinal flora helps the whole body stay…
Acidophilus probiotic supplement from 21st Century Supports healthy digestion and intestinal flora Combined with 3 other probiotic organisms and FOS prebiotic A good probiotic supplement has its place in any well-rounded supplementation program, regardless of diet. Why? Maintaining healthy intestinal flora helps the whole body stay well. 21st Century's Acidophilus, synergistically combined with 3 other genetically distinct probiotic organisms and prebiotic Fructooligosaccharide (FOS), is designed to aid in the maintenance of probiotic activity in the intestine. Probiotics is a good step to take for supporting healthy digestion and optimal nutrition.
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For healthy digestive flora 7 strain formula specifically designed for children ages 0-5 Mixes easily into beverages Primadophilus for Children is especially designed for children 5 years of age and under. It contains specially selected strains of freeze-dried microorganisms in a neutral base. Primadophilus for Children is designed…
For healthy digestive flora 7 strain formula specifically designed for children ages 0-5 Mixes easily into beverages Primadophilus for Children is especially designed for children 5 years of age and under. It contains specially selected strains of freeze-dried microorganisms in a neutral base. Primadophilus for Children is designed to deliver helpful bacteria to the gut. These microorganism strains are essential to maintaining healthy intestinal flora. 5 oz. powder May contain a minimal residual amount of milk or soy proteins. Recommendation: Children under 2 years of age give 1/2 teaspoon (1.5 grams) daily between meals. Children 2 years of age and older give 1 teaspoon (3 grams) daily between meals. May be added to liquid or infant formula. Keep refrigerated to maintain maximum potency.
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Nature's Way Activated Charcoal, 100 Capsules— $14.96 (Save 6%!)

Activated charcoal helps in easy digestion Available in capsule form Charcoal's high absorbency may reduce the effectiveness of certain medications Nature's Way Activated Charcoal (from Indian Hardwood) is one of the finest natural adsorbent agents known. Each particle contains many small chambers and cavities that bind-up…
Activated charcoal helps in easy digestion Available in capsule form Charcoal's high absorbency may reduce the effectiveness of certain medications Nature's Way Activated Charcoal (from Indian Hardwood) is one of the finest natural adsorbent agents known. Each particle contains many small chambers and cavities that bind-up unwanted material or gas. Activated Charcoal is commonly used to adsorb digestive gas. It also protects the body from overdosing on harmful toxic substances. Due to its large surface area, activated charcoal has high adsorption properties, meaning that it keeps certain substances from being absorbed in the body's gastro-intestinal tract.
14.96 USD InStock
 
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Promotes regularity A maximum strength herbal laxative Each capsule delivers 250 mg of aloe vera leaf Maximum strength herbal stimulant laxative for relief of constipation. This product generally produces a bowel movement in 6 to 12 hours. 100 CAPS Supplement Facts Serving Size 1 Servings Per Container 100 Amount Per…
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ZEN Pro™ contains a premium protein blend of whey, rice, pea, and chia seed powder that keeps you feeling fuller longer. The ZEN Pro™ formula also incorporates a probiotic blend of healthy bacteria to optimize digestion and help you stay lean. ZEN Pro™ unleashes the powers of performance. Get toned. Protein helps build muscle and contour…
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Probiotic Supplement B. infantis 35624 Align Digestive Care — $36.00 (Save 7%!)

Builds & maintains a healthy digestive system Restores your natural digestive balance Protects against mild, occasional digestive upsets Align Digestive Care Probiotic helps to build and maintain your digestive health with active probiotic bacteria that support your body's own natural defenses, delivering ongoing protection against…
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Colon Cleanse Health Plus Original — $33.96 (Save 17%!)

48 oz Pwdr High fiber colon cleanse 100% pure psyllium husk Supports heart health Product Description: Original Colon Cleanse The Original Colon Cleanse from Health Plus delivers 23% of your daily fiber with each serving. This 100% pure psyllium husk powder is formulated especially for people on low carb diets or those who…
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Supports digestive tract health Vegetarian, non-dairy probiotic and FOS supplement Yeast free Mega Probiotic-ND contains eight species of microorganisms from non-dairy sources to provide a full spectrum of probiotic strains for proper digestive tract health. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a soluble fiber and prebiotic that selectively…
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22 USD InStock
 
 

Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Diseases

In normal health, there is some awareness of the functioning of the gut and this can be partly related to the body’s needs. For example, thirst and hunger are common symptoms and the latter may come with abdominal discomfort.  A dry mouth can suggest the need to drink. Swallowing is normally felt, and there is some temperature sensation in the mouth, oesophagus and even sometimes in the stomach (such as when you gulp down some really cold drink). Vigorous contractions in the gut, the movement of gas and fluid in the gut, called borborygmus (that embarrassing sound your intestines make in a quiet room), and the sensation of fullness prior to defaecation or during constipation, are all aspects of normal sensation of gut activity.

 

However, problems with the digestive system can present with any of the following symptoms:

 

  • Swallowing difficulty and pain during swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • Reflux
  • Indigestion
  • Excessive wind
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Alteration of bowel pattern
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Bloody vomitus
  • Bleeding through the anus
  • Black tarry stool
  • Jaundice
  • Itching

 

Swallowing difficulty and painful swallowing

In swallowing difficulty (dysphagia), there is an awareness of something sticking in the throat or at the back of the breastbone during swallowing. Dysphagia often has a significant cause which can be cancerous and almost always needs investigation. An oesophageal or upper gastric cancer usually presents with dysphagia and weight loss. Dysphagia can also be due to a neurological problem.

 

Odynophagia (pain during swallowing) may indicate infection of the inner lining of the oesophagus, classically due to candida associated with HIV infection.

 

Heartburn

This is due to the backflow of acid from the stomach into the oesophagus. It causes pain in the upper abdomen, at the back of the breastbone, and in the neck. It occurs particularly at night when the patient lies flat in bed, or after bending or stooping when abdominal pressure is increased. Alcohol often induces heartburn.

 

Reflux

Reflux is a symptom which occurs without heartburn, when non-acidic fluid or bile regurgitates into the mouth, causing a bitter taste and a disagreeable sensation at the back of the breastbone.

 

Indigestion

Dyspepsia is the medical term for indigestion, a symptom which includes upper abdominal pain, heartburn, bloating, nausea or ‘an acid feeling’ occurring after eating or drinking. The symptom is subjective and frequent. In many cases, there is no obvious cause but it may be associated with peptic ulcer, acid reflux and occasionally cancer in the upper part of the gut.

 

Excessive wind

Flatulence is associated with belching, bloated abdomen and farting. It usually represents a functional disturbance, some of which is due to excessively swallowed air. Sometimes, it is clearly related to certain foods such as vegetables. Rarely, it can be as a result of actual disease in the gut.

 

Vomiting

Vomiting may be triggered in the brain or by irritation in the stomach. Most nausea and vomiting of gut origin is associated with local discomfort in the abdomen.

 

Loss of appetite

Some people may not want to eat at all while some have the appetite to eat but feel full after just a few mouthfuls. This may indicate important digestive problem especially in the upper gut.

 

Constipation

The frequency of bowel action varies greatly from person to person. The passage of formed stool less frequently than three times per week is usually taken to indicate an abnormality of bowel frequency.

 

Constipation may be caused by lack of fibre and/or fluid intake; drugs which slow down gut movement; abnormal gut structure like in cancers or inherited disorders; obstructed defaecation, anal tears and piles.

 

Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is also subjective, but the regular passage of stool for more than three times per day, or the passage of a large amount of stool can certainly be called diarrhoea. It is common as a result of dietary indiscretion or from viral or bacterial infection.

 

When diarrhoea lasts more than one month, it could mean that the bowel is inflamed or there is a problem with absorption. There could also be passage of pale, bulky stools containing excess fats that commonly float in water and are difficult to flush away.

 

Abdominal pain

Abdominal pain is a common symptom which often accompanies serious conditions but frequently has no definable cause. It can be due to inflammation like in appendicitis; peptic ulcer or gut obstruction. Abdominal pain may also be due to causes that are not specifically in the abdomen such as metabolic disorders (lead poisoning) or depression.

 

Abdominal swelling

A large abdomen has many causes, which include gas, fluid, pregnancy and solid masses like tumours.

 

Weight loss

It is as a result of reduced food intake (loss of appetite, swallowing difficulty or vomiting), improper absorption of nutrients or systemic effects of diseases such as cancer (within or outside the gut) or chronic infections such as tuberculosis (within or outside the gut).

 

Weight loss may occur in healthy people due to dieting, exercise, starvation or old age. Psychiatric conditions such as anorexia nervosa and depression can also cause weight loss. Alcoholics lose weight as a consequence of self-neglect and poor food intake.

 

Bloody vomitus

This results from bleeding in the upper gut, causing the vomiting of blood. Blood that lies in gastric juice for a while turns black and may be vomited looking like ground coffee.

 

Bleeding through the anus

If bright red, separate from the stool or just on the toilet paper, this usually indicates a source in the lowest part of the gut, haemorrhoids (pile) being the commonest cause. If darker red and mixed with the stool, this usually indicates a source higher above in the large intestines, of which cancer is the most important cause.

 

If the stool is black and tarry, it is most probably due to bleeding from the small intestines or higher up. Sometimes, it can be from the first part of the large intestine too.

 

Jaundice

Jaundice is yellowish discolouration of the eyes and skin due to raised level of a substance called bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is gotten from the breakdown of red blood cells in the body. Jaundice implies disease of the liver or the bile system although it may also occur from excessive breakdown of red blood cells. It may also occur with itching or dark urine.