Digestion – Asborption – Elimination


by Charles Hallquist PhD, DN

When digestion, absorption, and elimination are maximized, you will notice a lot of other symptoms will be eliminated. Indigestion can be attributed to a great many causes. Its discomfort, not only in the stomach, but in the areas of absorption and elimination, creates a general “not feeling very well” condition to the client. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of the people working and walking around have a digestive problem, which could easily be eliminated. We will see how enzymes can return the digestive system to normal. Common symptoms of enzyme insufficiency include abdominal bloating, gas, indigestion, and passing of undigested foods into the stool. In order to gain nutritional benefits from the food we eat, it is critical that we properly digest, absorb, and eliminate our food. The best nutrition in the world would go to waste if the body were unable to process that food. Fortunately, the human digestive system is quite efficient in extracting the needed nutrients from “good” food under normal conditions. The major function of the digestive system is to grind down foods and absorb nutrients. The digestive system extends from the mouth to the anus and includes: mouth, throat, esophagus, intestines and all related organs, the salivary glands, the liver and gallbladder, and of course, the pancreas. Digestion occurs as a result of mechanical and chemical processes. The mechanical process includes grinding, crushing, and mixing of the food mass together with digestive juices/enzymes. These are responsible for the chemical breakdown of large molecules into smaller molecules by breaking up chemical bonds (when three or more molecules bond together). The active compounds in the digestive juices are primarily enzymes. Protease breaks down proteins, amylase breaks down starchy carbohydrates and lipase breaks down fat. The digestive process starts in the mouth. Food is mixed with saliva, which contains the enzyme amylase, which breaks down starch molecules into smaller segments. Food is broken down in the stomach by mechanical as well as chemical means. The mixing of food with digestive secretions, including hydrochloric acid and enzymes, is critical to proper protein digestion and nutrient absorption. If hydrochloric acid secretion is insufficient or inhibited, proper protein digestion will not occur. In this process, the food is in the stomach from 45 minutes to 4 hours. When the food leaves the stomach, it is referred to as chyme. It takes the chyme approximately two to four hours to make its way through the 21-foot small intestine. The small intestine is divided into three segments:

  • Duodenum – the first portion, is 10 to 12 inches long
  • Jejunum – the middle portion, is about 8 feet long
  • Ileum – the last portion, is about 12 feet long

The small intestine participates in all aspects of digestion, absorption, and transport of ingested material. The small intestine secretes a variety of digestive and protective enzymes from the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. Absorption of nutrients occurs predominately in the duodenum. Absorption of water -soluble vitamins, carbohydrates, and proteins occurs primarily in the jejunum. Absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, fat, cholesterol, and bile salt compounds secreted by the gallbladder occurs in the ileum during digestion. Disease in the small intestine often results in mal-absorption syndromes characterized by multiple nutrient deficiencies. Examples of common mal-absorption would include, but are not limited to, Celiac disease (gluten intolerance), food allergy (enzyme deficiency), intestinal infection, and Crohn’s disease, which would indicate an amylase deficiency.


The pancreas produces enzymes that are required for digestion and absorption of nutrients. Each day the pancreas secretes about 1-1/2 quarts of pancreatic juices into the small intestine. The enzymes secreted include lipase, protease, and amylase. Lipase along with bile from the gallbladder breaks down fats. Deficiency of lipase would result in mal-absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Amylase breaks down the starch (carbohydrate) molecules into smaller segments. The saliva gland as well as the pancreas secretes the enzyme amylase. Protease is secreted by the pancreas and breaks down protein into single amino acids, Incomplete digestion of protein creates a number of problems, including the development of allergies and formation of toxic substances, which are produced during putrefaction. Protease is responsible for keeping the small intestine free of parasites including bacteria, yeast, protozoa, and parasitic worms. Lack of the enzyme protease increases the risk of intestinal infection and chronic candida. Protease is very important in preventing the formation of fibrous clots, tissue damage during inflammation, and depositing immune complexes in the body tissue. Incomplete digestion and yeast can be the main contributors to the development of many diseases. Ingestion of healthy foods and many nutritional supplements are of little benefit when breakdown and assimilation are inadequate. Enzymes assist in this necessary assimilation. Proper function of the small intestine requires effective digestive enzymes coupled with a fully functional absorptive surface. Improving small intestine function requires addressing the underlying issues, i.e., food intolerance, allergies, lack of enzymes, low immune status, and too much sugar in the diet. The digestive system is a truly integrated system, in which the function of one aspect usually affects the others. Due to the interrelationship among the components of the digestive system, it makes it difficult to determine the exact cause of a digestive disturbance. Using the proper digestive enzymes will eliminate most of the problems.

Copyright © 2010, Enzyme Research Products, Inc

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12 Responses to “Digestion – Asborption – Elimination”

  1. this sure sounds like a good reduction of technical information down into something I can use. Do you recommend a single enzyme package for most people or should be be formulating our own?

  2. Rae & Mark says:

    The other problem seems to be that, not only does a defective digestive system mean you’re not going to absorb all of the nutrient your body needs, but the double-whammy is that about 80% of your immune system is also located in the digestive tract, so you end up with multiple problems.

    Rae & Mark
    Premier Morning Glory Gazebo 16 Foot With Double Roof

  3. Bryan says:

    I always believed that the digestive tract being kepy healthy would be the key to feeling well.

    Sales Success Expert

  4. I’ve always believed a healthy digestion is the key to health and long life.


  5. Don Hill says:

    I have a friend with Celiac disease. He introduced me to some potato bread. I was better than I thought it would be.


  6. Dennis Perry says:

    Excellent review of digestion and elimination; critical processes of the human body and it’s health. Makes the reason for enzymes supplements more clear.

    Create The Life of Your Dreams

  7. I read in several places and experienced how important it is to keep the digestive track healthy!

    Social Media: 7 Reasons People Go Online. And You?

  8. I’m curiou as to whether you think people should do any type of cleansing procedure and then introduce enzyme supplements or if it’s just a matter of finding the proper enzyme for your situation in order to get the most effective results.

    The Success Secrets

  9. Hi Gary,

    What a wonderful and thorough explanation of the digestive system, the need our bodies have to absorb all those great nutrients we eat, and the relationship with healthy elimination and how enzymes promote the healthy proper function of all of those. I appreciated that this was very practical and easy for the common lay person like myself to read and comprehend and was not just written for the experts like you.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    After 40 Dating Expert

  10. kevin hogan says:

    I’m starting to see enzymes as more valuable than I previously understood!
    Thanks Gary

  11. Thanks for the detailed explanation of the digestive process. And the impact that even undetected food sensitivities can have on your overall health and energy. Enzyme supplementation can be an important tool in returning your system to full health and digestive power.

    Karen Van Ness

  12. Gary, after reading your article it sounds like I would benenfit from these enzymes for digestion.
    Scott Sylvan Bell
    Now go implement!