Saturday, May 25, 2013

All About the Importance of Water

The Importance of Water in Digestion-
Water is Life
Experiments have documented that when we drink a glass of water (8 oz.), it  passes directly into the intestines and is absorbed. Approximately one-half hour later, almost the same amount of water that was ingested is secreted into the stomach.
Water serves two purposes:
  1. Together with acid and activated enzymes it breaks down the food into a homogenized fluid state that can pass into the duodenum for the next phase of digestion.
  2. It protects the stomach lining from strong acids.
The water we drink is secreted through the glandular layer in the mucosa. The mucosa swells from underneath and the water gets into the stomach, plus, the mucus layer maintains its function as a buffer system containing sodium bicarbonate. As the acid from the stomach tries to go through this protective layer, the sodium bicarbonate neutralizes it. Without the correct amount of water, the mucus layer is less homogenous and sticky, allowing the acid to come through, causing pain.
The pyloric valve (or sphincter) is in control of emptying the stomach into the duodenum. The stomach sends a signal to the pyloric valve to open. When the highly corrosive and acidic load from the stomach is properly neutralized, the duodenum also sends signals for the pyloric valve to open. The pyloric valve will not open unless it receives messages from the stomach and the duodenum.
It is the responsibility of the pancreas to produce insulin and some digestive enzymes, but most importantly, it must create an alkaline environment before the acidic content can reach the intestine. In order to manufacture this watery bicarbonate solution, the pancreas must have water from the circulatory system. If enough water is not provided (sodas and teas do not count toward water consumption) this process will not be efficient. The “intelligent” coordination will not be there.

If this process is not completed correctly, the body will not allow the food to continue on its journey- the damage would be too severe to the intestine. The walls of the intestine do not have the same protective layer against acid that is available to the stomach. The pyloric valve will receive a message to tighten up. At the same time, the cardia valve (cardiac valve, or sphincter) will become more relaxed. When the valves reverse their mode of operation, the food cannot stay in the stomach forever, and the body actually prepares itself to eject the contents of the stomach (vomiting).
Mild cases of dehydration are often called heartburn, while severe cases are labeled bulimia. The bulimic’s sensation of hunger is, in fact, an indicator of acute thirst. The bulimic’s urge to throw up is only the body’s natural mechanism to protect their sensitive intestine.

How do we know if we're getting "enough water"?
Rule of thumb for water intake: We need to be drinking at least one half of our body weight in ounces per day in order for our systems to run at maximum efficiency. When we get services such as massages, or foot zones, where our bodies go into detox mode, we need to double that water intake. Everything just runs more smoothly with water!
  • Foot Zone Therapy Advanced Training, The Endocrine and Digestive Systems; 2009; K. Duvall and C. Christensen, pp.93-94, Academy of Foot Zone Therapy©   (some re-wording at Admin’s discretion)
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