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The 'Production Line' to Cellular Nourishment

by Vivienne Bradshaw-Black(more info)

listed in nutrition, originally published in issue 178 - January 2011

The alimentary tract is a passage through the body starting at the mouth and ending at the anus and can be likened to the channel made through an apple by an apple corer.

Apple Man illustration
Representation of the Alimentary Tract

Food passes through the alimentary tract to allow the digestive system to extract nourishment from the contents and send it to the target of all nutrition, the individual cells which make up the body.

Nourishment from food has the specific purpose of providing fuel for:
  • Growth;
  • Maintenance;
  • Repair;
  • Reproduction;
  • Energy;
  • Movement.
Intake of nourishment via food also provides:
  • Enjoyment of eating through the physical senses;
  • Opportunities for building relationships and fellowship with others;
  • Creative outlets in food preparation, cookery and presentation;
  • Opportunities to teach and acclimatize children to healthy life-giving food choices, tastes, culinary and cultural expertise.
The first phase of digestion (brain phase) is where the anticipation of food triggers release of the chemical cascade of digestive enzymes, each in its turn when needed. This is at its most efficient where the brain is pulsating in the alpha phase, which is an alert but calm, peaceful and relaxed state.[1] This can be severely disrupted in high adrenalin / stress levels, preventing transition from beta to alpha waves, and also by over-riding appetite-based food choices by emotional problems such as the self-rejection of anorexia.

Whilst passing down the alimentary tract, food is modified by the actions of chewing and the additions of watery fluids and enzymes, so that solid food is broken down sufficiently to allow the nutrients to be absorbed through the intestinal wall and rendered into an alkaline liquid form which allows for its uptake by the cells. Cells can only use food in an alkaline liquid form.
Nutrition is about getting all the right nutrients to the right places in the right amounts.
This starts with the ability of the body to deal with food intake. The brain phase and proper chewing begin the process of digestion, which triggers the release of ptyalin from the salivary glands, acid and gastric enzymes from the stomach, bile and pancreatic enzymes from the liver and pancreas to form the transformation necessary for the potential absorption of nutrients. However, sufficient quantities of water are required to ensure adequate fluid and enzyme release to complete the brain phase and all other processes.  A pint of pure water with a pinch of unrefined sea salt about 15 minutes prior to a meal is one of the best digestive aids there is and an important pre-cursor to sound digestion. In dehydration neither enzyme release nor peristalsis will be efficient, and drugs and/or herbs used to force bowel muscle contraction, isn't a good idea where water shortage is the cause of poor peristalsis.

Even if the right amounts of the all relevant nutrients make it through the gut wall, uptake of nutrition is not guaranteed unless there is a clear run from intestines to cell, and even then nutrients have to be able to traverse the cell membrane into the cell body. The rationale of nutrition and digestion is sacrificial and cyclical in its nature.
  • The right food has to be eaten in the right atmosphere;
  • It has to be physically and chemically broken down by the digestive system;
  • Nutrition from the food has to be absorbed through the gut wall;
  • It has to be transported to the cells;
  • It has to be taken across the cell wall into the cell body;
  • Cellular products made from the nutrients have to be secreted out and transported to targets
  • Cellular waste has to be excreted and transported out of the body.
The lower alimentary tract is also the place where resident bacteria perform many important functions and finally functions to eliminate excess and unwanted matter.

Things can go wrong at any stage of digestion and result in a potential state of malnutrition which can cause problems in structure and/or function. This will manifest in signs or symptoms ranging from mild to extremely serious, depending upon the complexity and duration of the malnutrition and taking into account any compensatory factors. A vivid example of symptom range is in the potential effects of dietary lectins which can produce low grade symptoms such as bloating and brain-fog after eating offending itemsm to dramatic anaphylactic shock. However, no story relating to dietary factors is simple because of the complex 'negative synergy' inherent in 21st Century societies and cultures from such things as not being breast fed, vaccines, mercury fillings, drugs, food and drink chemicals, pesticides etc. Adverse metabolic changes are virtually impossible to assign to one simple culprit, and that goes for lectins too, even though identifying and eliminating an offending food group from the diet will bring symptomatic relief.

Body size has no bearing on malnutrition, even though indicators can be present in body size. For instance the same malnutritional state can be present in both the obese and skeletal. One is over-fed and undernourished, the other under-fed and undernourished. Obesity is not necessarily simply taking in more food than required, although this can be one factor, but usually has multiple contributory factors. Presumptuously cutting food intake (especially in children) can increase the severity of malnutrition. Where food is empty junk food with nutrition below the required level, taking in double the quantity (or even more than that) is one way of increasing the in-take of needed nutrition. However, it is not that simple, and both excess and insufficient (e.g. anorexia) food intake bring their own serious health problems. The body will usually crave what nutrition it has access to until a better form is introduced and it will then reject the former sub-standard form.

This principle can be demonstrated using kinesiology or bio-electrical testing. If someone is short of a particular nutrient, for example, any form of it could potentially test strong until a natural whole food form of it is tested and after that all other forms are rejected. This is in a testing situation, of course, and if on a daily basis only sub-ideal forms of that nutrient are available, the body will not say, 'this isn't good enough' but take anything it can get in an attempt to correct a deficiency. Of course, correct test interpretation presumes that the nutrients do not contain an over-riding block such as a gelatine capsule or additional toxic substances. The substance is best tested against muscles most relevant to that nutrient, and tested in proper sequence and conditions to ensure a correct test assessment.

Accurate muscle testing demonstrates individual requirements - here, testing using the latissiums dorsi muscle.[2]
Latissumus Dorsi Muscle
Latissimus Dorsi Muscle

Taking synthetic supplements has its hazards because the body is not designed to assimilate synthetics. No manufactured nutrients can equal natural whole food-dose nutrition, even though some products are manufactured more naturally than others.

Between IN at the mouth and OUT at the other end the digestive system can only extract what is available for adequate cellular nourishment. We must use our minds to become aware of what is good or detrimental and make active food and life-style choices. The digestive system is not responsible for these areas.


1 We generate multiple brainwave states constantly and don't switch compartmentally from one isolated state to another. Fluid adaptation is the healthy state for body and mind and being able to 'live in the flow' of adaptive circumstances is extremely healthy but is a learned process unless you happen to have had perfect inheritance, perfect parents and  perfect internal and external environment.
2    Latissimus dorsi picture courtesy of Robert Frost,


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About Vivienne Bradshaw-Black

Vivienne Bradshaw-Black Cert Ed produced a health information course. She believes that the understanding of what causes health and what causes sickness can cut through the maze of confusion which dominates the sickness industry. Her desire is to teach this to those who choose health and offer contacts and support to individuals and groups taking responsibility for their own health choices. She can be contacted initially by email at

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