The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ

By Giulia Enders



Originally published





Sep 16, 2021


Aug 5, 2021

PurchaseExternal link
At night we have lower saliva production → easier for bacteria to reproduce and fester.
Bad breath is caused by bacteria
You can either remove the bacteria somehow (brushing) or do something that stimulates more saliva production, such as chewing gum.
"Inquisitive:" they check incoming substances and train the immune system.
They have crypts which can be too deep, can get stones or material stuck in them, causing bad breaths or infections.
By the age of seven we have “seen it all” which means our tonsils are not as essential.
Interesting side effect: removing tonsils before the age of 7 often results in weight gain.
There is other tissue that is actually part of the tonsils which are not removed in tonsillectomies. If we removed the entire tonsils then it would be more dangerous.
Anus / stool
Out internal anal sphincter signals to the external anal sphincter which we have more direct control over → partial control over bowel movement timing
Enteric nervous system controls all smooth muscle in the digestive track.
Feces are 3/4 water. Whatever fluid is left in them is supposed to be there since they transport metabolic waste. Feces also include indigestible vegetable fibers. More fiber can significantly increase the weight of feces that you produce.
On any given day, you produce and destroy the same number of blood cells. A byproduct of this destruction is yellow, and is disposed of through urine and feces. Issues with gut bacteria can result in more yellowish feces.
If stool is dense and drops through water quickly, then there may be undigested minerals in the stool.
Healthy stool has more gas in it and is thus less dense.
Laxatives work by introducing long strands of molecules which cannot be absorbed by the gut, but which cause water to flow into the intestines in an effort to standardize concentrations of the molecules. Certain foods can have similar (though more muted) effects.
Tape worms lay eggs on the rim of our anus, and then squirm around to cause us to itch. From there, we may scratch and then end up transporting those eggs into our mouth. The eggs can hatch in the small intestine so that the worms are active by the time they reach our large intestine. Wash hands regularly. Change underwear every day.
Esophagus enters to the right side of the stomach instead of directly in the center. This smooths the path of food between the abdomen, stomach, and esophagus.
Fluids can pass through the shorter side of the stomach towards the top. Whereas food drops to the longer side of the stomach towards the bottom.
Alcohol can significantly scale the number of gas producing bacteria in the stomach.
If you were to eat a raw egg, the same thing would happen within your stomach acid as happens in the pan. We have an intuitive understanding of what’s easier to digest, and that’s what we find more appetizing. Thus, we find a cooked egg more appetizing than a raw one. Cooked food “outsources the first part of the digestion process.”
Molecules absorbed by capillaries in the villi of the small intestine get fed through the liver, which filters for harmful molecules.
Large intestine is not as velvety as the mall intestine. It is home of most of our gut bacteria.
Large intestine absorbs important vitamins and balances salt and water levels.
Molecules absorbed in the upper part of the large intestine feeds to the liver. This is not true of the lower part of the large intestine, since generally all things have already been absorbed by then. That is why ingesting drugs through the rectum is particularly effective, since it goes straight to the circulatory system.
After digestion, only a few small pieces of food remain in the small intestine.
The large intestine is not as direct and hasty as the small intestine. It takes time to break down the last pieces of food; the large intestine can pace to align with signals from other parts of the body around when it is time to pass stool; it is constantly reabsorbing fluids.
There are three parts to the large intestine: one goes up, then over, then down. When we pass stool, we are normally just removing the matter in the downward third of the large intestine.
Store of good bacteria. Though sometimes the wrong germ gets stuck in the appendix and causes extreme inflammation, and potentially requires an appendectomy.
The immune cells in the appendix are useful, though there are many immune cells across the large intestine as well.
Lymphatic vessels are everywhere that our blood vessels are. They pump away fluids produced in the body. All of the fats in here go straight to the heart. Detoxification of these fats only happens once it passes through the heart to the blood vessels in the liver. This is why avoiding bad fats is so important. Good fats can protect against many diseases and inflammation.
Good olive oil tastes green and fruity—not greasy.
Heat damages to good olive oil fats.
Butters and coconut oil are much more stable when exposed to heat.
You need a complete diet to get all amino acids. This is required for healthy protein production.
People from outside of western EU, the US, and Australia are far more likely to be lactose intolerant. As we age we may have fewer lactose digesting enzymes. This is a spectrum. We can only digest so much lactose.
We are exposed to an overabundance of fructose. What we label as an “intolerance” is adapting to a food situation totally different that what we evolved under. If we eat more than the amount our transporters can handle naturally, that can cause a lot of issues with our body and generally can negatively impact our mood.
High fructose corn syrup can interfere with our ability to feel full.
Since Europe introduced caps on the amount of nitrites that can be used in curing meats, there has been a large reduction in the rates of stomach cancer.
When we smell food, we are smelling detached molecules.
When we swallow, various things happen. As we age the timing of these actions can deteriorate, making it easier to choke.
Compared to carbohydrates, it takes longer for proteins and fats to be broken up to the small enough size where they can pass out of the stomach compared to carbohydrates. This is why carbs lead to such a relatively quick spike in blood sugar. A piece of steak could stay in the stomach for six hours.
Acid reflux
Sipping tea or chewing gum keeps the gut track working, and can combat acid reflux. If the sphincter is too relaxed, that makes it easier for acid to rise. Activities and substances which stimulate the body can fix this.
Neutralizing stomach acid is not a good long term strategy since the acid is necessary for digesting complex molecules. Use antacids sparingly and do not rely on them.
If you have acid reflux at night, prop the body up at a 30 degree angle. This can also generally be good for your cardiovascular health.
The brain surveys across the nervous system to decide whether to vomit or not. The body goes into an orchestrated emergency mode.

← Back to all books