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The Hunger Project Bolen Report
Ohm Society
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Pancreas Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy The pancreas is a small lumpy gland with a head and a tail with the head pointed to your right. The pancreas would fit easily in the palm of your hand, as it weighs only about 85 grams. It is located on the back wall of the abdominal cavity at the level of your belly button. It lies transversely across that wall and consists of two glands in one.

The larger gland is the so-called "exocrine" gland, which manufactures and supplies digestive enzymes to the small intestine. These enzymes include lipase, proteinase and amylase for the digestion of fat, protein and complex carbohydrates respectively. These enzymes are injected through the pancreatic duct into the head of the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) about four centimeters from the pyloris, the valve that separates the stomach from the duodenum. The secretion of these enzymes is stimulated by the presence of acid (from the stomach) in the duodenum. Because enzymes are injected into the open space of the duodenum, this part of the pancreas is called exocrine (exo = outside).

The smaller gland in the pancreas is made of many anatomically separated glands called the "Islets of Langerhans," after the person who first described them. They are seen, by microscopic section of the pancreas, to be clumps of cells isolated from each other and embedded in the exocrine tissue of the pancreas. The Islets of Langerhans secrete their products directly into the blood stream, thus earning the name endocrine ("endo" = inside) gland. These products are called "insulin" and "glucagon," and they have the function of regulating the metabolism of sugar in the body.

The consumption of alcohol is very hard on the pancreas. It is even less able to withstand alcohol than the other organs of the body. There is a variety of toxic substances in coffee, some of which are thought to be damaging to the pancreas (and the adrenal glands), particularly caffeine and tannic acid.

Equally or even more toxic substances to the pancreas are the simple sugars. Ingestion of large amounts of sugar results in degeneration of the tissues in the body and sugar is hidden in almost all processed foods which are commonly eaten in the West.

When the pancreas degenerates, the result is a decreased ability to respond with the secretion of enzymes to the presence of food in the small intestine and an imbalanced ability to respond with insulin and glucagon to the presence of sugar in the blood. The final result is a lessened ability to carry on the vital functions of the body, because less nutrition is being delivered to the cells. When the body is receiving less nutrition, appetite is stimulated, and greater quantities of food are ingested — but to little avail, since the pancreas cannot respond adequately.

The overall result is a colon overworked by shear quantity of food. Under this circumstance the colon slows down, allowing food to collect and putrefy there. This releases toxins, which the body must deal with. This process accounts for premature aging so commonly seen and — combined with hyperinsulinism/insulin resistance disease (see Insulin Resistant Diabetes) — for the rather round figure commonly associated with middle age.

By age twenty, at least in many people eating a typical Western diet, the pancreas is already seriously compromised. This shows up as increased appetite, slowed digestion with excess gas and loss of normal vitality. Many people have compromised pancreatic function, even as children. Doctors are generally unaware of this and do not recommend treatment. Nevertheless, digestion is where health begins. Failure to digest and assimilate food will lead to illness. A good test for this problem is gas production. Production of gas reflects dysbiosis in the large intestine. If undigested food reaches the colon, bacteria take if for themselves and produce two things: acidifying toxins and gas. Your liver has to deal with the toxic load and your family/spouse/friends/perfect strangers must deal with the gas.

The good news is that it is possible to provide the conditions for the pancreas to regenerate its normal capacity to handle food and sugar. The first step is to stop the ingestion of alcohol, coffee and all other forms of caffeine and refined carbohydrates. This allows the pancreas an opportunity to heal in the absence of further insult. This is the first and most important condition for regeneration of function. It is possible to do even more by using oral pancreatic enzymes. These are available off the shelf of your organic grocer, health food or vitamin store. Simply buy a supply, and take them within the dose range recommended on the label at every meal. However all brands do not work equally well. Some do not work at all. Here is a test you can do at home: make a bowl of cooked oatmeal. Allow it to congeal. Then empty one enzyme capsule into the bowl and stir. This should produce liquification within five minutes. If not, your enzyme is worthless.

It is possible to have an assay done to determine if you need enzyme replacement or not. However, in my opinion, the best test available is to use a good enzyme replacement for a period of ten days and see if you notice a difference. The evidence that this therapy for the pancreas is making a difference is better digestion and greater vitality. One good index for therapy is production of gas. This should be almost zero. If you need enzymes now you will need them for the rest of your life and most people do benefit from enzymes. Very few people can fully digest cooked food on their own.

If you adopt a raw food diet you will not need enzymes. Raw food comes with enzymes not destroyed by heat and digests itself very efficiently. This is a better choice than taking enzymes, however few people are able to fully implement a 100% raw food diet. If you can't get to 100% raw, get as close as you can and supplement enzymes with each meal containing any cooked food, no exceptions.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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