Our digestion is a process that we don’t have to apply much conscious thought to and when it is running smoothly we are much happier. A happy tummy means that you are less likely to suffer mood disorders (anxiety and depression), maintain a healthy weight range, assimilate energy well so that you have an abundance of energy as well as many more functions.
It is relatively common to talk to clients today that have had some organs taken out of their body, from their tonsils to one kidney to gall bladder to uterus and ovaries to appendix to wisdom teeth. Although we can live without these organs, does not having them affect how well our body is functioning?
One of the main roles of the gall bladder is to store and hold onto bile acids (produced in the liver) for when we consume a meal or snack that contains oils and fats. Ideally our gall bladder is being activated on a regular basis (yes that means having good oils and fats on the menu frequently) as then the bile acids are moved and then replenished and not being stagnant for long periods of time.
When this isn’t the case then gravel or gall stones accumulate in the gall bladder which then can cause issues when the body attempts to force them through the small gall ducts (think about trying to get a tennis ball through a garden hose). When this happens then there is the potential for complications, and a normal story is one of having the gall bladder removed.
When this is the case then a low-fat diet is commonly given at the same time (without the gall bladder the liver can still make bile acids salts but doesn’t have the ability to store them and therefore means that the ability to digest fats is decreased), otherwise the gut doesn’t do well with high amounts of undigested oils.
Given that there is still the need for fat soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E and K) for proper and healthy body function the ability of the body to absorb these vitamins is reduced. Over time this may affect vision, immune health (colds and flus as well as cancer protection), hormonal health, cardiovascular health and many more.
This has been commonly thought of as an organ that does nothing at all! But more recently there has been some novel research to suggest a more meaning purpose for our humble appendix.
There has been suggestion that the appendix is used as a safehouse for our gut flora. What this means is that if we were to come across a new plant or food that cause diarrhoea (AKA the squirts!) this increase in bowel movement will often take with it many of the bacteria that lives in our digestive tract with it in order to get the foreign substance out of our body.
If this were the case and we didn’t have a backup store of good bugs then our whole digestive health would fluctuate very readily over the next few weeks to months. However due to this safe house our body is able to hold onto specific healthful strains and allow them to repopulate our bowel.
The health benefits of the right balance of gut bacteria is fairly well established (immune health [atopic conditions like eczema, asthma and hay fever], mood balance [ the majority of our happy feel good hormones are produce in our bowel not our brain!], as well as allowing for proper detoxification), with more literature being published daily.
In summary we can live and function without some of our digestive organs, but perhaps not as well as we could if we still had them in us and functioning well. Preventative health is a priority and putting steps in place to improve the function of these accessory digestive organs so that you can keep them will improve your health in the long term.