Digestion can make or break you. This is why it’s the first thing Nutritionists study in school. People who come to see me always want to know what to eat or how to eat better. But most people overlook the fact that you can eat perfectly and if you don’t digest your food, it’s not really going to matter that much.

So, digestion starts in the mouth. You need to chew well – just like Mama said – because that gives your body a chance to see what is coming down the pike. Your saliva needs time to tag metals and chemicals to be eliminated, provided your system is healthy enough to do this. Your body also needs time to know how much protein, fat, starch etc. is coming so it knows how much hydrochloric acid and which digestive enzymes to release – again, providing you still make these substances, which is the topic of this article. Saliva, which contains enzymes, has started the digestion process, that now continues in the stomach.

So in a perfect world: no one is over 35, no one has stress in their lives, everyone has ample B1 and Zinc in their bodies and eats lots of raw vegetables. I say this, because around 35, you quit making as much Hydrochloric Acid you need in your stomach to break down protein, any stress shuts down your production of hydrochloric acid, you need zinc and B1 to make Hydrochloric Acid and the enzymes you need to break down the rest of your food are supposed to come from vegetables.

So Hydrochloric Acid’s role is to break down proteins and activate other enzymes that aid in the digestion of out food. Also, the acid aids in fighting off infections, kills any pathogens, disease-causing particles or organisms that may be on the foods we eat -including parasites.

Now we add more enzymes to the mix. The protein and starch get broken down by special enzymes in the stomach as well as the HCL, but the majority of the enzymes to digest vegetables and fat are released in the small intestines – that is if you have any enzymes left to speak of. As I mentioned, Enzymes are supposed to come from the vegetables we eat (what vegetables?). But we either don’t eat vegetables, or we cook them to death, so we don’t have enough and deplete our poor pancreas of the stores of enzymes that get made there. The pancreas was not made to make up the difference due to our crappy diets.

So now what happens if you do eat right and eat your perfect meal of poached Salmon on a bed of Kale with no Hydrochloric Acid or Digestive Enzymes to speak of? The undigested protein sits in your stomach and rots and gives you acid reflux or indigestion (So you take an antacid, which by the end of this article you will see is about the dumbest thing you can do.)

Here is a short list of possibilities that can happen when you don’t digest your food:

No Protein Absorption. No amino acids. These are the building blocks of life. About 75 percent of the human body is made up of chains of amino acids, which is why they are so vital to how your system functions. All the chemical reactions that occur in the body depend on amino acids and the proteins they build. So you can have major depression, fatigue, serious learning and concentration problems – not to mention you will start breaking down your own muscle for the amino acids (not a good look).

No Calcium Absorption. This can mean cramps, frequent illness, menopausal problems, tooth decay and osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

No Magnesium Absorption. This can mean nervousness, anger issues, depression, kidney stones, prostate problems, low stomach acid, obesity, heart conditions, confusion and sensitivity to noise, just to name a few.

No Copper Absorption. This can mean slow healing and poor development of bones, brain, nerves, connective tissue, hair and skin, as well as poor red blood cell formation.

No Iron absorption. This can mean fatigue, constipation, brittle nails, colitis, anemia and menstrual problems.

No Zinc absorption. This can mean fatigue, poor appetite, prolonged wound healing, sterility, high cholesterol and infertility.

No B 12 absorption. This can mean chronic fatigue, dermatitis, eczema, poor memory, pernicious anemia, short cell life, nervous system problems and walking and speaking difficulties.

Leaky Gut. This can mean fibromyalgia, every kind of arthritis, food intolerances and every kind of autoimmune disease.

Bloating and/or Gas. You know what this means. Bloating is very uncomfortable. You can really tell if you need Hydrochloric acid because the lack of HCL gives you the kind of gas that you really don’t want! If you don’t like or can’t digest meat, or became a vegetarian, chances are it’s because you don’t have any HCL. If you can’t eat vegetables, you are deficient in Enzymes.

So is it any wonder you don’t feel good? So now you can see why ignoring your digestion starts the downward spiral in your health. If you never did anything else for yourself, do this: Take digestive supplements!

I personally take Zypan, and Enzycore from Standard Process. I would never, ever eat without them. They make all the difference in the world.

These recommendations are for the reduction of stress only.They are not intended as treatment or prescription for any disease, or as a substitute for regular medical care.