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Supporting Organs of Digestion

by Jodi Cohen

Healthy digestion allows you to assimilate the nutrients or building blocks you need.  Supporting the energy of your organs of digestion, including your pancreas and gall bladder, helps support your critical digestive function.

Essential oils and other herbal remedies may help support the functioning of your digestive organs, especially if fatigue or inflammation is present.  If your organs are lacking energy or vitality, also known as qi (pronounced Chi), function suffers. Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes that the qi or life-energy of your body’s organs and organ systems can suffer from a deficiency or weakness that lies at the root of illness and disease.

Plants and herbs, including essential oils, can be used to nourish and rebuild the energy of your organ systems.  This process, known as tonification of the organ systems, is based on the principal that herbs can be used as tonics to boost vitality and sustain the energy of the organ systems.

Herbal tonics, including essential oils, have been found to help restore vitality and energy to your organs systems.  This helps balance your energy levels and stimulate the life-energy of the organs, improving their ability to assimilate and utilize vital nutrients during the process of digestion.

 

Supporting Pancreas Function

Your pancreas is a six-inch-long, flat organ located in your upper abdomen near your liver and part of the small intestine that produces digestive enzymes to help break down your nutrients, and hormones, such as insulin, that aid in digestion and help regulate blood sugar levels.

More specifically, your pancreas plays a dual role in your bodily functions:

Endocrine system:

Your pancreas secretes hormones, including the blood sugar-regulating hormones: insulin (to lower blood glucose when levels get too high) and glucagon (to increase blood glucose when levels get too low), help regulate and balance your blood sugar levels.  Balanced blood glucose levels are critical to healthy function of your brain, nervous system, liver, kidneys and cardiovascular system.

Exocrine system:

Your pancreas also secretes enzymes into your digestive tract through a duct into your duodenum to aid in nutrient absorption and help neutralize your stomach acids.   These pancreatic enzymes work in tandem with bile from your gallbladder to help break down food for proper digestion and absorption.

Enzymes produced by your pancreas for digestion include:

  • Lipase to digest fats
  • Amylase to digest carbohydrates
  • Chymotrypsin and Trypsin to digest proteins

The Digestive Process:

Your pancreas works closely with your gallbladder as part of your digestive process.

Remember, your digestive process begins in your brain with your vagus nerve sending signals to your gastrointestinal tract. Your brain needs to be in a relaxed (parasympathetic) state to effectively trigger the digestive cascade, which includes the stomach releasing HLC, the pancreas releasing digestive enzymes, the gall bladder releasing bile, the small intestine absorbing and assimilating nutrients and the large intestine excretes waste.  Learn more here!

Your vagus nerve triggers the release of stomach acid which serves as the “on switch” signaling your pancreas to produce and release its digestive enzymes. These enzymes then travel through a series of ducts until they reach the main pancreatic duct which connects with your common bile duct that carries bile from your gallbladder into your duodenum (small intestine). From there, enzymes from your pancreas and bile from your gallbladder are released into the your small intestine to help digest, absorb and assimilate nutrients like fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Gallbladder:

Your gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ that stores and concentrates bile, a yellowish-green fluid that is produced in the liver.  When you eat a meal that contains fat, your gall bladder secretes bile to help emulsify the fat for digestion.

Bile also serves as a depository to carry toxins and old hormones out of the body.  Ideally, the gall bladder releases bile into the small intestine where it breaks down the fat for the body to absorb, before being eliminated from the body in the stool.  When we eliminate the bile, we eliminate the toxins along with it.

 

Dysfunction of the Digestive Organs

Pancreas Dysfunction

A fatigued pancreas might struggle to produce sufficient levels of insulin.  Similarly, an inflamed pancreas can cause problems with digestion, absorption of nutrients, contributing to symptoms of malnourishment or vitamin deficiencies, and production of insulin.

If your pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin to maintain stable or balanced blood sugar levels, you might experience blood sugar imbalance symptoms like:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive fatigue or energy dips during the day
  • Blurry vision
  • Tingling sensations in your hands and feet
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Sugar and Caffeine cravings
  • Brain Fog

 

Gall Bladder Dysfunction

Stress, toxicity, hormones, or diets too low or too high in fat can make the bile thick, viscous and stagnant which impedes its ability to flow both to the small intestine and out of the body.  This can contribute to gallbladder stones that can block the duct that drains digestive enzymes from the pancreas. If the enzymes don’t drain properly, they can back up and damage the pancreas. In addition to gallstones, blockage can be caused by scarring from prior surgery, tumors, or abnormalities of the pancreas or of the shape or location of the pancreatic duct.

Compromised bile flow can contribute to the following problems:

  • Fats and their corresponding fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are not properly emulsified, digested or absorbed. This robs of the body of the building blocks it needs to create healthy hormones and cells.
  • Undigested fats rancidify creating an additional toxic burden for the body
  • Toxins, waste and old hormones that were stored in the bile do not exit the body and are therefore reabsorbed further adding to the body’s toxic burden, contributing to hormonal imbalances and gall bladder challenges.

In other words, the good things can’t get into the body and the bad things are not removed from the body.  Your gallbladder and pancreas work together to support healthy nutrient absorption. The combination or pancreatic enzymes and bile help you break down and digest fats, including fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, and K.  Undigested fats in the intestine from poor bile flow will interfere with absorption of all other nutrients

Fat and cholesterol are also precursors to important hormones that your body needs for healthy function.  When you are not able to properly digest your fats, your body’s ability to make and metabolize hormones is seriously compromised. This is one reason that supporting healthy pancreas and gall bladder function is a critical step in reestablishing hormonal balance.

 

Essential Oils to Support Organs of Digestion

Parasympathetic™:

As mentioned above, your digestive process begins in your brain with your vagus nerve sending signals to your gastrointestinal tract. Your brain needs to be in a relaxed (parasympathetic) “rest and digest” state to effectively trigger the digestive cascade. Digestion is a parasympathetic event.   Applying a small drop of Parasympathetic™ blend to the vagal nerve (behind the ear lobe on the mastoid bone) helps begin the digestive process. Read about how the Parasympathetic state activates optimal digestion here!

Pancreas™:

As detailed above, your pancreas secretes digestive enzymes that help break down the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats so the nutrients can be properly absorbed in the small intestine. The pancreas also controls blood sugar levels and can get overworked and fatigued, impacting its optimal function.  Herbal remedies, like the Pancreas™ blend of essential oils of  Rose Geranium, Anise Seed, Geranium, Cucumber, and Rose helps tonify and balance the pancreas against overload and fatigue to support optimal function.  To put the pancreas in balance, consider rubbing some Pancreas™ on the fifth rib (2 down from where the bottom of your bra) on the left side of the body to help put the pancreas back in balance for optimal function.

Gall Bladder™:

The Gall Bladder™ stores and concentrates bile, which helps to emulsify fats for optimal absorption.  Bile is supposed to flow relatively easily through the bile duct to the small intestine.  Unfortunately, it can often become viscous and stagnant, impeding fat digestion and resulting in symptoms like mild headaches, pain between the shoulder blades and floating stools.  Fat assimilation is critical for numerous functions in the body, including the absorption of critical fat soluble minerals, like vitamins A, E, D and K.  Applying some Gall Bladder™ to the gall bladder, on the right side of the body under the bra under-wire or along and slightly under the right rib cage, can help ease bile flow for optimal fat assimilation and absorption.

All three oils are including in our Digestion Support Kit.

 

Featured Oils:

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References:

 

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About The Author

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.

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