The Question of Digestion

In January 2008, a report was published with the ominous title, “The Burden of Digestive Diseases in the United States.” It’s not an easy or pleasant read: gastrointestinal infections, digestive cancers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, inflammatory bowel disease, etc. Since its publication eleven years ago, the burden seems to have grown heavier. And it’s no longer just a North American problem.

Several decades ago, Asia seemed to have avoided such “Western” diseases, primarily because most of the population had healthier diets. But over the past two decades, digestive diseases have appeared in increasing numbers in countries such as China, Japan and South Korea, where people have more income and frequently choose processed and fast food for meals instead of wholesome nutrition. There are other factors, such as increased antibiotic usage, but dietary changes that decrease the intake of natural nutrients and increase fat and sugar are primary factors.

It’s as though when economies grow and more people move away from farm-based food, addictions to convenience increase as a result of a faster pace of life, less free time and disposable income.

One stunning example is the rise in obesity in Thailand since the 1980s, when this Asian country began transitioning from a mostly agricultural society to a more industrialized nation. The result has been an increase in overweight and obese adults and children because “eating patterns have shifted from a traditional Thai diet – vegetable, rice-based and low-fat diet – to a westernized diet, which is rich in meat, fats and sugars . . . As obesity prevalence is increasing in Thailand, the risk for mortality and morbidities such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and coronary heart disease is increasing too.”

Of course, the companies that created fast foods and processed foods years ago were out to sell products. Some have been incredibly successful, growing into global franchises and multi-national companies. In the beginning, there was likely no intent to create health problems by marketing their products, but over time, a link between these dietary changes and health problems has been firmly established.

Natural Support from AIM

The AIM Companies was firmly established in 1982 with the intent to introduce a whole-food, barley grass juice powder via network marketing that improves people’s health: BarleyLife. Thirty-seven years later, AIM continues to successfully improve people’s health with a wide variety of natural products. And, being a network marketing company, over the years an incredible number of AIM Members have built independent distributorships that create monthly incomes by sharing these products. It’s AIM’s way of sharing the wealth.

Along with BarleyLife, a number of AIM products have proven to be particularly beneficial for digestive health: Herbal Fiberblend, Herbal Release, FloraFood and PrepZymes, just to name a few.

Herbal Fiberblend arrived on the scene in 1988 and ever since, countless individuals have benefited from its cleansing and detoxifying combination of fiber and herbs that supports a healthy digestive system. For example, constipation is noted in the 2008 report as one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders, and Herbal Fiberblend has proven to be an effective supplement for relieving this all-too-common health issue.

Herbal Release became available in 1993 to provide a unique selection of herbs that cleanse at the cellular level for the health of organs and body systems, most notably for the lymphatic and immune systems. Nature has provided natural medicine from herbs since the beginning of time, and knowledgeably combining the variety in Herbal Release has allowed AIM to provide their natural benefits.

FloraFood was introduced in 2000, long before the word microbiome became a regularly discussed aspect of human health and disease. Containing three types of healthy human bacteria, FloraFood contributes to balancing out the necessary friendly and unfriendly bacteria that make up a body ecosystem that is vital for maintaining good health.

PrepZymes also became a part of the AIM lineup in 2000, providing a variety of enzymes that target the digestion of different food components: protein, fat, carbohydrates, dairy, etc. The digestive system can use all the help it can get from the supplemental enzymes that PrepZymes delivers, not only for the break down and assimilation of food, but as backup for the enzymatic reactions that occur in the body.

As the rise in digestive disorders continues worldwide, it is comforting to know that The AIM Companies continues to provide natural products that can support a healthy digestive system and maintain body health.

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The AIM Companies has been dedicated to improving the quality of people’s lives with life-changing products like BarleyLife and Herbal Fiberblend and by rewarding passionate Members with a free-enterprise compensation plan.

5 Nutritional Strategies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Irritable bowel syndrome affects a significant segment of the population (around 15%).  The underlying cause or causes of IBS is unknown, but it often manifests in a variety of symptoms like cramps, diarrhea, gas, bloating and constipation.  To complicate matters further, each sufferer’s symptoms can be triggered by any number of factors specific to the individual.  That means a nutritional strategy has to be self-tailored, possibly under the watch of a healthcare professional.  We will examine what experts are saying about nutrition for IBS as well as some of the latest research.

Fiber Supplements

The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders calls fiber a double-edged sword because some IBS sufferers may experience gas or bloating after use. However, they also add that almost every IBS sufferer would likely benefit from a moderate fiber increase. The IFFGD recommends gradually increasing fiber intake until reaching 20-35 grams per day (based on the individual’s recommended dietary allowance).

Probiotics

There is evidence that probiotics which contain Bifodacteria may alleviate or reduce some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. There is a caveat to this, however.  In terms of IBS, it is less about just taking a probiotic and more about gut-flora manipulation. Some people found relief from IBS by taking antibiotics which kills gut flora, and others have benefited by gradually changing the landscape of their gut biome over time.

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes like amylase, lactase, protease and lipase help break down food, making digestion easier. There have only been two small studies on digestive enzymes and IBS. Both have been positive. One study found that enzymes improved post-meal IBS symptoms. The other showed that enzymes helped relieve gas and bloating.

Magnesium 

Dr. Carolyn Dean wrote The Magnesium Miracle. She also, conveniently, wrote IBS for Dummies. In her works,  she explains that magnesium taken orally can have a laxative effect, helpful for people whose IBS has made them constipated.  However, if a person suffers from IBS-related diarrhea, he or she can use a topical magnesium on the skin to reap magnesium’s benefits without upsetting the stomach.

A Low-FODMAP Diet

There is evidence that short-chain carbohydrates (aka fermentable oligo-saccharides, si-saccharides, mono-saccharides and polyols) can aggravate IBS because they tend to ferment in the gut and cause gas. That is why many IBS sufferers choose to follow a low-FODMAP diet. You can find a complete list of low- and high-FODMAP foods here. Spicy foods, sugary foods and caffeine can be problematic as well.

AIM offers nutritional supplements that can fit into a low-FODMAP diet as well as digestive enzymes, probiotics, fiber and topical magnesium. But in the case of IBS, you should consult a medical practitioner before making any drastic dietary changes. This post is for education purposes only.

FloraFood and PrepZymes: Stronger Apart

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Even though AIM provides products that can be taken with most others, two AIM products really don’t get along. Like two talented people who cannot work together but individually produce excellent work, AIM FloraFood® and AIM PrepZymes® must be kept separated to be mutually effective.

Both work wonders for your digestive and immune systems, supporting overall good health. The enzymes in PrepZymes not only help to digest food, they provide supplemental enzymes needed for literally thousands of essential chemical reactions in your body. The friendly bacteria in FloraFood promote a healthy balance of intestinal flora and pH, while helping to produce vitamins and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of these natural health products.

But if you take FloraFood and PrepZymes at the same time, the internal battle begins. Without perceptive brains (or any brain matter for that matter), enzymes simply start to digestively devour FloraFood, destroying the equally brainless bacteria that have only your healthy interests at heart. What a waste of effort (and money)!

Taken separately at different mealtimes allows FloraFood and PrepZymes to get their work done without any mean-spirited interference or supposed superiority. So if you take PrepZymes with breakfast and dinner, take FloraFood with lunch and a snack. Whatever you do, just keep ‘em separate. They just don’t get along. And they never will.

AIM Products and Digestion

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The Digestive System

The main function of the digestive system is to break down food into smaller bits so that the nutrients can be absorbed by the body and converted into energy.  Its secondary role is to remove the waste leftover from the conversion process.

Fiber

The average person gets only 15 grams of fiber a day. The American Heart Association recommended amount of fiber is 20-35 grams per day. Research has shown that people with high-fiber diets increase their survival rates by 22%.

Fiber comes exclusively from plants, and there are two types of fiber:  Soluble and insoluble.  Although both are necessary, soluble breaks down in water and insoluble does not.

Insoluble fiber can absorb water and keep you fuller, longer and can help make waste easier to pass. Some soluble fibers work as prebiotics.

Symptoms of low fiber intake include weight gain, constipation, blood sugar fluctuations and fatigue.  Fiber also helps control cholesterol levels and may improve mineral absorption.

Studies have shown that fiber may prevent diverticulitis, reduce the risk of first-time stroke by 7% and help your body remove the carcinogens in cooked meat.

Related Products: fit ‘n fiber, Herbal Fiberblend

Digestive Enzymes:

Digestive enzymes are proteins that act as biological catalysts that help the body convert food into usable stuff like energy or amino acids. They also facilitate the absorption of nutrients. Digestive enzymes are fragile things.  Food, in its natural state, should contain enzymes. Because so much of today’s food is processed and/or cooked, we often don’t get the enzymes that we’re supposed to.

Digestive enzymes may help with or relieve symptoms of:

  • Promoting growth of beneficial gut bacteria
  • Transforming food into nutrients
  • Tissue repair
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Flatulence
  • Gas pain
  • Stomach ache
  • Constipation
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Immune system health

Related Product: PrepZymes

Probiotics

Probiotics are living microorganisms that regulate the movement of food through the digestive system and have been used to supplement the treatment of several digestive diseases. Additionally, probiotics help balance intestinal pH and keep unfriendly and unwanted bacteria populations from thriving. Our gut flora does a number of other beneficial bodily tasks like producing B vitamins, pathogen protection, aiding our immune systems and disarming toxic compounds.

A thriving and healthy gut microbiome can be thrown off kilter by relatively common things: stress, not eating enough fruits and vegetables, artificial sweeteners, antacids, antibiotics, toxins and individual digestion problems.

Probiotics may help with or relieve the symptoms of:

  • Infectious diarrhea
  • Traveler’s diarrhea
  • Digestion problems following or caused by antibiotic use
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Intestinal infections
  • Immune system health
  • Yeast infections and urinary tract infections
  • Atopic eczema
  • Respiratory tract infections in children
  • Tooth decay

Related Product: FloraFood

Lymphatic System

As a sub-section of the circulatory system, the lymphatic system—composed of the spleen, thymus, bone marrow and lymph nodes—acts a filter for interstitial fluid. Sixteen percent of your body weight is comprised of this fluid.  It provides the cells a method of receiving nutrients and removing waste.

The lymphatic system cleans the fluid and returns it to use. As a central part of the immune system, the lymphatic system removes pathogens and toxins, generating antibodies for bacteria and viruses in the lymph nodes.

This system also plays a huge role in digestion because lipids—molecules such as fats, fat-soluble vitamins, etc—are also transported by the lymph fluid.

Herbal Release provides a unique blend of herbs that target the various mechanisms of the lymphatic system for improved digestion and overall health.  Thirty minutes after ingestion, our time-release capsules ensure delivery directly to the intestines. This product has been known to provide a gentle laxative effect.

Related Product: Herbal Release

Know Your PrepZymes Enzymes

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Digestive enzymes are these little proteins that act as biological catalysts that help the body convert food into stuff you can use, like energy or amino acids. They also facilitate the absorption of nutrients. Digestive enzymes are fragile little guys.  Food, in its natural state, should contain enzymes. Because so much of today’s food is processed and/or cooked, we often don’t get the enzymes that we’re supposed to. That’s where PrepZymes comes in. One capsule provides your body with eight active enzymes to replace what’s been lost.

Here is a quick and handy guide to the possible benefits of digestive enzymes.

General enzyme benefits

Promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria

Transforms food into nutrients

Tissue repair

May improve digestive health by relieving symptoms of:

  • heartburn
  • diarrhea
  • flatulence
  • gas pain
  • stomach ache
  • constipation

May relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

May promote immune system strength

What The Enzymes Do and What They May Do 

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Protease I and Protease II (Proteolytic enzymes)

Proteolytic enzymes are commonly found in plants like papaya. These enzymes digest proteins and may help to reduce inflammation.

Studies have indicated that these enzymes may provide some relief from:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic Muscoskeletal Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Shingles
  • Sports Injuries
  • Pain from Surgery

Source: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 

Lipase

Lipase breaks down fatty substances and plays an essential role in weight loss and weight maintenance.

Studies have indicated that lipase may provide assistance with the following conditions.

Souce: University of Maryland

Amylase

This enzyme helps the body break down and digest starch and may help with inflammation and bolstering the immune system.

Lactase

This enzyme breaks down lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. People who are lactose intolerant cannot break down lactose and lactase may help them do that.

Cellulase

Cellulase converts cellulose into beta-glucose, helping the body maintain a stable energy supply.

Maltase 

Maltase assists the body in the digestion of sugars and starches, converting them in into glucose, the body’s main energy source.

Invertase

Invertase allows the body to deconstruct table sugar/sucrose into its component parts: glucose and fructose (fruit sugar).  Both are used for energy.