Don't Ignore Your Pancreas

In today's modern world, degenerative diseases are rapidly becoming "epidemics." Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, hypo and hyper-thyroid and all the other thyroid diseases, ADD, ADHD, OCD - well, you get the picture. As an environmental toxicologist, if similar pandemic events occur in nature, like the Burr Oak plague, the Jack Pine worm infestation, or the sudden, mysterious disappearance of the Golden Tree Frog, environmental scientists search until they identify the culprit, remove it, and then restore the natural environment so it can begin restoring balance again.

But humans don't think to do this with their own bodies. Modern consumers are so far off track, primarily because of the chemicals in our foods and the dependence on medications to mask the symptoms those chemicals create. The root of disease prevention is becoming historic fantasy. Return to the basics of cause and effect when diagnosed with a disease, and see if you can find that cause and, then, eliminate it.

Take the pancreas, for example. A handy little gland/organ, and a darn vital key to the root of many disease syndromes.

The pancreas produces pancreatic digestive juices and produces insulin and other hormones critical for proper digestion. Actually, the pancreas produces the body's most important enzymes created to digest foods and to break down starch. Every good nutritionist knows that digestion is one of the most important components to good health. If you are not digesting efficiently, your body and health will inevitably suffer.

The digestive system breaks up and digests the food we eat. After two or more hours inside the stomach, partly digested food moves into the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine right after the stomach. When the food reaches the duodenum, the pancreas releases its digestive juices, which flow down the pancreatic duct and mix with the food. The juices contain enzymes that help break down the food into very small fragments. These fragments are absorbed into the body through the small bowel.

The pancreas is quite high up in your abdomen and lies across your body where your ribs meet at the bottom of your breastbone, just behind your stomach. It is connected to the small intestine at the duodenum. The pancreas contains enzyme-producing cells that secrete two hormones, insulin and glucagon. Insulin and glucagon are secreted directly from your pancreas into your bloodstream, and together, they regulate the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood. Insulin lowers your blood sugar and glucagon slowly increases it if it falls too low. If the insulin secreting cells do not work properly, diabetes occurs.

Let me repeat that last sentence: If the insulin secreting cells in your pancreas do not work properly, diabetes occurs. So that means if your pancreas is not working properly, diabetes, and MS too, can appear as a result.

So why aren't you encouraged to nourish your pancreas through diet and digestive enzymes in order to prevent disease? Something as simple as supplementing with pancreatic enzymes might prevent diabetes, and will certainly help control many diseases.

So - don't ignore your pancreas!

Pancreatic production of insulin, somatostatin, gastrin, and glucagon plays an important role in maintaining the sugar and salt balances in your body. Problems with the production or regulation of these hormones can manifest into issues with blood sugar and fluid/salt imbalances. The pancreas also helps neutralize chyme, which helps break down proteins, fats and starch. Chyme is a thick semi fluid mass of partly digested food that is passed from the stomach to the duodenum. If the pancreas is not working properly to neutralize chyme and to break down proteins, fats and starch, starvation...and diabetes...and MS....may occur.

More than 90% of the total cell mass in your pancreas is responsible for producing digestive enzymes. The enzymes are secreted into the intestines to help digest (break down) the food you eat. These enzymes break apart the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in your food into much smaller molecules so the intestines can absorb them more efficiently.

The size of your pancreas is similar to a banana that has been stepped on; it has a slight curve to it, and it's about the same length, width, and thickness of a small banana. The pancreatic duct runs through the middle of your pancreas and shoots the digestive enzymes made in the pancreatic cells into the duodenum in order to mix with food as it comes out of your stomach.

Your pancreas is such an important contribution to human health! The importance of the pancreas and the digestive enzymes it supplies the body, plus insulin and glucagons, have been disregarded.

So - don't ignore your pancreas!

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, Type I or II, then pump up your pancreas to avoid the progression of your diabetes. MS has been proven in laboratory studies to be a response to high protein levels in the bloodstream and in the brain. Digestive enzymes produced in your pancreas can help lower these blood protein levels. Alzheimer's has been shown in laboratory studies to be a result of high insulin levels in the brain. Digestive enzymes produced in your pancreas can help lower these blood/brain levels.

There are three classes of digestive enzymes: proteolytic enzymes needed to digest protein, lipases needed to digest fat, and amylases needed to digest carbohydrates.

Proteolytic enzymes are some of the fastest "switching on" and "switching off" regulatory mechanisms in the physiology of the human body. These enzymes are involved in a multitude of physiological reactions from simple digestion of food proteins to highly regulated cascades, such as the blood-clotting cascade.

Lipase is an enzyme manufactured in the pancreas that is used by the body to break down dietary fats into an absorbable form.

Amylase is most prominent in pancreatic juices, and breaks starch down by breaking apart large, insoluble starch molecules into soluble starches. This typically yields dextrin, maltose or maltotriose after certain chemical reactions have taken place.

Here is a brief list of the pancreatic endocrine hormones and their purposes:

Insulin regulates blood glucose (sugar) in the normal range by forcing your cells to absorb and use glucose normally. Thus, insulin decreases blood sugar levels.

Glucagon balances insulin by regulating blood glucose (sugar); opposite of insulin. Glucagon forces the cells to release (and sometimes produce) glucose, increasing blood sugar levels.

Gastrin assists digestion in the stomach through stimulating the acid producing cells of the stomach to produce digestive acids. Gastrin is secreted as a direct response to the amount of food in the stomach and intestines.

Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) helps control water secretion and absorption in the intestine. VIP causes the intestinal cells to secrete water and salts into the intestines.

The endocrine hormones originating in the pancreas play vital roles in digestion and body function. When the pancreas cannot function properly due to genetics or a bad diet, including diet sweeteners, pancreatic diseases such as diabetes and MS typically result. So, support your pancreas by supplementing with digestive enzymes after each meal, especially a meal high in protein. If you successfully target the root of your health issues, you may find you can avoid, and at the very least you can control, diabetes, MS, and other diseases that have their roots within your pancreas.

Look at it this way: for a smashed banana, your pancreas is a vital organ you should never take for granted. Never ignore your pancreas and help your pancreas prevent disease!


Posted October 2007 | Permanent Link

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