Presented by True North Counseling, “Thank God for Pooping: Transforming Your Health by Improving Your Gut Health”

Digestive system with book title

True North Counseling Presents the First Three Chapters Free

Chapter 1: Stomach Acid

Your stomach acid’s pH might change depending on a number of things, including drugs and medical conditions, according to True North Counseling. A pH that is very high or low might lead to issues.

The lining of your stomach secretes a watery, white liquid known as gastric acid or stomach acid. Its strong acidity aids in the digestion of food by breaking it down. This facilitates the easier absorption of nutrients by your body when food passes through your digestive system.

The acidity of stomach acid is necessary to break down tough, fibrous vegetables as well as meat and can act as a sort of revive therapy.

To prevent sickness or other health issues, your body is made to withstand normal amounts of stomach acid.

Nevertheless, it’s possible that such systems don’t always function as intended. Consuming low- or high-acidity gastric juices might lead to further health issues.

Learn how powerful stomach acid is and what happens if your body produces too much or too little of it.

How much acid is in the stomach?

The benefits of stomach acid to your health are many. It transforms the food you ingest into smaller, more easily absorbed pieces. Additionally, it serves as your body’s first line of defense against germs and viruses that might cause illness. A very acidic liquid is needed for these operations. Just how acidic, though?

In order to really comprehend the strength of stomach acid, it is necessary to first comprehend how the acidity of a beverage is determined. Between 0 and 14 is the pH scale, which is used to quantify acidity. The greater the acidic levels in the fluid, the lower the pH level. For instance, battery acid is very powerful since it has a pH of 0.

There are fourteen least acidic fluids. We refer to them as alkaline liquids. Neutral fluids, such as pure water, are in the center at 7.

With a pH of between 1 and 2, stomach acid is considered to be very acidic.

Remember that items like metal and bone may dissolve in battery acid. Because stomach acid has a pH balance that is just one or two points higher than normal, it may also break down very durable objects like teeth and bones.

What composes stomach acid?

Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is primarily responsible for the low pH of stomach acid.

Nevertheless, stomach acid contains relatively little hydrogen chloride (HCl). Sodium chloride (NaCl) and potassium chloride (KCl) are additional ingredients.

This acidic trio is secreted by the cells lining the wall of your stomach. The cells also secrete mucus and a number of enzymes. The procedure depends on this mucus. It shields the stomach lining from the damaging effects of acid and other gastric secretions, preserving the delicate organ.

What happens if there is not enough hydrochloric acid in your stomach?

It’s normal for the pH of your stomach acid to change periodically.

Stress and some medications may cause stomach acid to become unbalanced. As a result, your body may not produce as much HCl.

Signs of low amounts of HCl

When this occurs, you could start to feel symptoms such as:

  • burping
  • bloating
  • upset stomach
  • acid reflux
  • diarrhea
  • indigestion
  • vomiting and nausea
  • gas
  • hair thinning

Hypochlorhydria, though, is a disorder that you can have if your stomach acid is consistently low. When acid production is consistently low, there might be serious consequences. In the first phases of this illness, you may have trouble adequately digesting meals and absorbing the nutrients your body needs to operate. It might harm your digestive system if left untreated. Your risk of infections and long-term medical problems rises as a result.

Therapy for low levels of HCl

The probable reason will determine the specific course of therapy for low acid gastric juices.

An HCl supplement could be recommended by your physician. This may raise the pH of your stomach acid. Additionally, they could recommend drugs that include the pepsin enzyme, which helps raise stomach acidity.

Other therapies consist of:

  • using antibiotics to address an underlying illness
  • improved diet and more supplements
  • medications
  • strategies for reducing stress

What occurs if the hydrochloric acid content in your stomach is high?

The mucus in your stomach may lose its effectiveness if the acidity of your gastric secretions is too high.

High quantities of stomach acid may cause a variety of issues, such as:

  • Gastric ulcers
  • Acid reflux
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)

High HCl level symptoms

The following are the most noticeable signs of elevated stomach acid levels:

  • vomiting or nausea
  • bloating
  • stomach pain that may worsen on an empty stomach
  • diarrhea
  • acid reflux
  • loss of appetite
  • unexplained weight loss

Therapy for elevated HCl levels

Medication is the most frequent treatment for excessive stomach acid as a revive therapy. PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors, reduce stomach acid production. PPIs may be prescribed by your doctor on their own. PPIs are sometimes administered in combination with other drugs.

Other interventions will be contingent upon the presumed etiology of these elevated acid levels. Among these therapies might be:

  • medications
  • diet modifications
  • tumor removal surgery, gastrectomy, or vagotomy, which involves cutting out a portion of the stomach or vagus nerve

Acid levels that are consistently too high or too low might be detrimental to your health and wellbeing. Getting help may help you avoid long-term issues.

Reasons for low levels of HCl

Reduced acidity is more likely to occur under certain situations. Among these risk factors are:

  • having a premature birth
  • being over 65
  • having surgery on the stomach
  • stress
  • being deficient in several nutrients, particularly zinc
  • having an H. pylori infection
  • chronic illness

Reasons why HCl levels are high

There are several things that might make you more likely to have excessive stomach acid. These consist of:

  • overproduction of certain hormones known to cause the production of stomach acid
  • rebound gastric acid production upon cessation of stomach acid-lowering medicines
  • an infection with H. pylori
  • blockage of the gastric outflow
  • tumors, although rare

Schedule a visit with your doctor if you believe you are exhibiting signs of either high or low stomach acid.

Tips for optimum acid production

It is necessary to do further study on non-pharmacological methods of influencing acid production. However, a 2019 analysis found that persons with high acid production could benefit from dietary and lifestyle modifications

Among these modifications are:

  • consuming frequent, smaller meals as opposed to big, calorie-dense ones
  • Never lay down for two to three hours after a meal, and never eat two to three hours before to going to bed.
  • Steer clear of anything too tight that presses on your abdomen.
  • Increasing your diet’s fiber intake
  • cutting down on the calories you consume each meal
  • if you smoke, abstaining from smoking
  • eating a Mediterranean-style diet
  • chewing thoroughly
  • drinking plenty of water in between meals
  • getting enough sleep
  • keeping a healthy weight
  • Crucial insights

Your body naturally creates stomach acid, a highly acidic liquid, to aid in food digestion and nutrient absorption. Your body also creates enzymes and mucus to help defend itself from the acid’s potency.

Reflux, ulcers, and heartburn may all be caused by elevated stomach acid levels. You may have trouble digesting meals if your stomach acid is low.

In the event that you exhibit symptoms of low or excessive acidity, get medical help. Both of these may provide issues if left untreated and could develop into chronic conditions.

A medical expert can assess your symptoms and determine the most appropriate course of action for you. Sometimes, they could search for underlying medical conditions, such as an infection, that might be causing your abnormal acid levels.

Chapter 2: Gut Health

“Gut”: What Is It?

Everyone has heard about the significance of gut health and gut health, but what exactly is the “gut”? Although some would argue that the whole digestive tract—from ingestion to excretion—is the “gut,” the majority of the actual action takes place after the material has been broken down and exited the stomach.

Indeed, the stomach plays a crucial role in the process, but the intestinal system comes to mind when considering the gut, mostly the small intestine, which is responsible for about 90% of nutritional absorption. Many food intolerances also originate in the small intestine. About 70% of people are lactose intolerant, and after consuming a dairy product, they may have diarrhea, nausea, bloating, gas, or stomach discomfort for 30 to 2 hours.

Individuals who are lactose intolerant have trouble digesting milk products because they do not create enough lactase, an enzyme that aids in the breakdown of milk sugars. After ingesting dairy products, undigested lactose remains in the gut and ferments, causing the symptoms that many individuals have.

Therefore, the small intestine is really the major location of the often reported “stomach ache” or “upset stomach”! The large intestine, also known as the colon, is the primary location for the microbiome—the community of beneficial bacteria—while the small intestine is responsible for nutrition absorption and a host of other processes. In actuality, the intestinal tract contains the whole “gut” that we are all talking about.

Gut Microbiome and Flora

The majority of readers have almost certainly heard the terms “gut flora” and/or “microbiome,” but what exactly is the microbiome? And what’s meant by gut flora?

All of the bacteria, viruses, fungus, and other tiny creatures that reside in your intestines are together referred to as the microbiome. We refer to those same microorganisms as the gut flora. I know it seems scary, because fungus and bacteria are nasty, right? Not all of them, however. Beneficial microorganisms are essential to bodily processes. Your general health is really primarily dependent on maintaining a healthy gut flora.

The microbiome serves a wide range of purposes, including a sort of revive therapy. Maintaining a healthy gut flora facilitates digestion by assisting the body in breaking down certain meals that the stomach and small intestine are unable to process. Additionally, gut flora contributes significantly to the immune system by acting as a barrier, stopping the development of dangerous bacteria, and assisting in the synthesis of vitamins B and K.

Studies have even connected the gut-brain axis’s health and function to the microbiome. Experts now refer to this microbiota as an “organ,” given its primary role in the body’s regular operation and the many tasks it performs. Nonetheless, because the microbiome is not innate, it is regarded as an “acquired organ,” beginning at birth and changing throughout the course of a person’s life.

The total weight of microbiota may reach up to 2 kg (4 lbs). The cecum is a little area of the big intestine that is home to a significant population of these bacteria. The region where the small intestine joins the large intestine, known as the cecum, is pouch-like and located close to the appendix.

Microbes may also be found in the stomach, esophagus, and small intestine, but in much lesser quantities. Healthy intestinal walls will be able to host more of that ideal microbiota than an unhealthy intestinal wall since these microorganisms reside in the mucosal lining of the intestinal wall.  In order to increase the amount of good gut flora, several diets and supplements may also be beneficial. These supplements are often probiotics.


For those who have visited health stores, attended natural product exhibits, or read up on health trends, it is evident that prebiotics and probiotics are becoming more and more popular. In 2012 alone, there were about 3 million more persons in the US using probiotic or prebiotic supplements than there were in 2007, a four-fold increase in the usage of these supplements. These figures have only gone up in the last several years. However, you may want to grasp what the distinction is between probiotics and prebiotics before getting too technical.

In actuality, prebiotics and probiotics vary greatly but both are required and together make up a harmony therapy. Dietary components like fiber are referred to as prebiotics because they aid in the development of beneficial bacteria in the stomach. These consist of flaxseeds, apples, oats, garlic, asparagus, and bananas, among other things.

Probiotics, on the other hand, are real, live microorganisms that are said to provide several health advantages, including assistance for the digestive system. Live culture yogurts, fermented meals and drinks, nutritional supplements, and even non-oral items like skin lotions are all marketed as probiotic goods.

Though some people may find the concept of purposefully ingesting germs and microbes unusual or unsettling, the advantages of probiotics have made this notion more popular among the general population. Probiotic bacteria aid in vitamin production, aid in food digestion, and eliminate pathogenic microbes. Furthermore, a large number of the microbes included in probiotic supplements are identical to or comparable to those that our bodies naturally contain in order to carry out these tasks.

Recognize that not all probiotics are created equal while reading about how to choose one. Probiotics include a wide variety of microorganisms that, while belonging to the same family of bacteria, have distinct roles in the body.

For instance, the most prevalent are from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families. Numerous bacterial species from each of these two groups’ respective families are included. If one strain of Lactobacillus bacteria is shown to be protective against a disease, it is not a given that another strain would be as effective. When adding new bacteria to their bodies, those with compromised immune systems or major medical conditions should exercise caution. Apart from probiotics, several dietary supplements may also assist to enhance the intestinal environment and increase the hospitability of beneficial bacteria. In any case, it is essential to speak with a doctor before starting a new nutritional supplement.

Leaky Gut

Increased intestinal permeability, a condition where toxins and germs may seep past the intestinal wall and into the circulation, is essentially what is meant to be understood when one has a leaky gut.

Our food is broken down by the digestive system into usable nutrients, which are then transferred to the bloodstream and distributed throughout the body as required. Furthermore, the digestive system functions as a physical gatekeeper, permitting only useful substances to pass through.

Tight junctions are the name for these gatekeepers. Tiny gaps called tight junctions exist throughout the intestinal wall. They let water and nutrients pass through while blocking the passage of germs and poisons into the circulation. The so-called leaky gut syndrome results from these tight connections becoming loose, which essentially makes the gut wall more permeable to both dangerous bacteria and toxins as well as helpful chemicals. Inadequate circulatory circulation of germs and toxins leads to hyperactive immune response and systemic inflammation. This subsequently causes gastrointestinal bloating, excessive wind, poor digestion, tiredness, underproductivity, and even skin issues—symptoms of a leaky gut.

Many people are still curious about the etiology of leaky gut. Although research on leaky gut syndrome is ongoing, zonulin is assumed to be partially or maybe entirely to blame. The gut may become more permeable if this protein is activated by intestinal bacteria that have seeped out of it. Numerous factors may cause zonulin activity, such as consuming a diet heavy in sugar, using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (like ibuprofen) for an extended period of time, stress, inflammation, and routinely consuming excessive amounts of alcohol.

We are hearing more about the illness these days as researchers gain better understanding of the gut and its function in immune system and general health. More people are taking responsibility for their own health, reading up on topics, and learning about ailments like leaky guts. We then desire to take action to mend our own intestines after realizing that’s maybe what we’ve had all along. Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and a few food allergies have all been linked to leaky gut syndrome. Making every effort to stop and fix a leaky gut may help shield us against long-term illnesses.


Absorption is a critical component of gut health that is often disregarded but is essential for harmony therapy. In the nutrition and supplement sectors, this phrase is often used. However, how many people really get it? The small intestine, which is the primary location of nutrition absorption, is where it all begins. These nutrients need to cross the intestinal lumen, enter the mucosal cells that line the digestive system, and finally enter the circulation in order to be absorbed. Several processes are involved in this, and they vary depending on the kind of nutrient that is flowing through.

First is diffusion. Simply said, this is the movement of molecules from a high concentration location to a lower concentration area. Molecules may effortlessly pass the cell membrane on their own when simple diffusion is occurring.

Osmosis, or the dispersion of water, comes next. Then came enhanced diffusion, in which the nutrient enters the circulation without the requirement for a carrier or transport molecule. The transportation mentioned above are all passive and don’t need energy to operate. Additionally, there is active transport, which requires a carrier molecule in addition to energy to be absorbed. In contrast to straightforward passive diffusion, this kind of transport may carry materials from a lower concentration into a greater concentration.

Even though the body naturally absorbs nutrients, having a sick stomach might reduce the amount of nutrients that are really absorbed and used by the body. Certain supplements for gut health may assist to improve this absorption, which will raise the vitamins, proteins, and other vital components in our meals’ bioavailability.


Simply said, bioavailability is the amount of a nutrient that the body can absorb and utilize. The vitamins and minerals we ingest have widely differing levels of bioavailability. Almost all of the sodium we consume is absorbed by the body because some minerals, like sodium, are absorbed at a very high percentage. In contrast, just around 25% of what we consume is usually absorbed when it comes to calcium. Iron has much less, at 5%.

Generally speaking, the body absorbs animal goods more readily than plant ones. This is due to the fact that plants include compounds like fiber, phytates, tannins, and oxalates that bind minerals in the digestive system and limit absorption. Regrettably, the body would benefit from these plant-based diets’ increased bioavailability since they include a lot of nutrients.

For instance, turmeric is well known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, yet its bioavailability is often poor. Many firms incorporate compounds that promote absorption to assist the increase of the bioavailability of curcumin, the main chemical in turmeric, so that lesser quantities taken will have a bigger impact. This allows consumers to actually benefit from turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties. Once again, it is critical to consider the impact those gut-enhancing substances have on absorption. Do they swell up to force nutrients through? Or instead, do they collaborate with the stomach to stimulate natural transporters and repair the lining?

A Diet for Gut Health

Our whole health is directly impacted by the condition of our stomach. Immune system strength, mood, and food digestion are all influenced by the integrity of our gut; difficulties with food digestion brought on by a compromised gut may result in inadequate nutrition and even disease.

Our microbiome, a vital collection of billions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, lives in our stomach. These microbes, also known as “good bacteria,” support the proper function of our digestive tract. Furthermore, the microbiome in our stomach affects our skin, immune system, emotional and physical well-being, and risk of contracting illnesses like cancer. Take care of our microbiome, and it will take care of us. Our gut health and microbiota are influenced by the foods we consume, so what should we eat more of and less of to keep our guts healthy?

Pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, and kefir are examples of fermented foods and beverages that are excellent for the digestive system. They have probiotic bacteria, which aid in keeping the harmful bacteria out of our digestive tract and helping the healthy bacteria populate it. A particular kind of fiber known as prebiotics is what the microbes in our microbiome love to eat. Prebiotic fibers include inulin, which is found in foods like garlic, onions, and leeks. Good-for-you meals also aid in the absorption of water by the colon, facilitating the easy movement of waste products and food throughout the whole length of the intestines. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains fall within this category.

Food that May Impair Gut Health

The adage that fresh veggies and whole grains are healthy while processed red meats, sweets, and saturated fats are unhealthy has a basis that goes beyond heart health and weight control. Controlling these is like harmony therapy. Sugary, salty, and high-fat diets are terrible for the intestines. As much as possible, stteer clear of processed meats, baked goods, desserts, chips, fried meals, and fast food if you want to strengthen the health of your digestive system. Store them as seldom sweets.

And trust your instincts. Many individuals have dietary intolerances to certain proteins, like gluten, or sugars, such lactose, which is present in dairy products. You should stay away from these foods if they make you feel bloated, gassy, or uncomfortable after eating them. You may be intolerant to them.  A sick stomach will physically talk to you. As it attempts to process the food you consume, it will gurgle and create sounds that are beyond your control. Along with gas and bloating, you could also feel gastrointestinal aches that go throughout your body. Along with regular weight gain or loss, you could also have diarrhea or constipation.

Digestion is not the only symptom of a sick gut. Because of the gut-brain link, having a bad stomach may cause mood changes, depression, difficulty concentrating, and even skin conditions like eczema. Also, you might have difficulty getting a decent night’s sleep, which would leave you feeling drained and agitated all the time. For many people, these symptoms are frequent and daily occurrences, and they are often attributed to other factors like stress or just having a busy life. If this describes you, it may be time to listen to your body and your nutrition. You may regain control over your health and find the correct path to gut health by learning to listen to your body’s cues.

What is your gut telling you?

Chapter 3: Exercise

The digestive system’s functions include breaking down, or digesting, food, getting rid of impurities, and absorbing energy and other essential elements that our bodies need to operate properly. But it’s also significant in other respects.

Gut health’s impact on mental health

Additionally, the state of our gut affects our mental and emotional well-being. Poor gut health may also have a negative impact on our mental health. Therefore, maintaining the health of our digestive system is crucial to our general well-being and goes beyond just avoiding digestive illnesses like gas, bloating, and constipation. Fortunately, there are easy things that we can all do to promote gut health.

In addition to the apparent importance of eating and drinking the correct foods, our digestion is also influenced by the way we exercise our body. It aids in stimulating the stomach and raises digestive activity, to start.

Train to maintain intestinal health

The muscles in our digestive system get more blood flow when we exercise, which massages our food as it passes through the digestive tract, a mechanism called peristalsis, which speeds up and improves the efficiency of their job.

Additionally, studies indicate that exercise modifies the microbiota’s equilibrium in the gut. The so-called gut flora actively defends our immune system, inhibits the development of harmful bacteria, and aids in the body’s digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food we consume.

Steer clear of intense cardio workouts

During the period of digestion, it is crucial to steer clear of certain high-impact workout kinds, like:

  • Dance
  • Trampoline
  • Kickboxing
  • Jogging
  • Team sports

Choose walking and other low-impact physical activities instead of these workouts, since they might disturb the digestive system and create pain and stitches.

The Super 3 Peristalsis is a pattern of digestive workouts that helps us digest meals by rubbing food along the digestive canal. It is an involuntary muscular activity in the gut. By aiding this process, this particularly crafted workout program helps improve your digestion.

After a short meal or snack, you may start the program right away; however, if you’ve had a larger meal, you should wait around half an hour.

To protect your knees while kneeling for the exercises, it is advised that you use an exercise mat or towel.

Workout 1

It’s okay to do this workout just after a little lunch or snack. It’s crucial that you take your time, so concentrate on moving slowly and deliberately.

Put your hands flat on the floor just under your shoulders as you drop on all fours. Right behind your hips is where your knees should be. Make sure your back is straight.

Stretch your right arm out till it’s parallel to your shoulder, very slowly. Elevate your left leg concurrently to align your heel with your hips. Try to draw a straight line that extends from your right arm to your left foot.

After maintaining this posture for a little while, very gently begin to pull in your left knee and right arm to return to the beginning position.

From this position, let your back arch as if a belt is drawing you up, lowering your head and tailbone. Hold this for a brief moment before repeating at least 10 times with the same arm and leg. Repeat after resting on the other side.

After you’ve finished this program, go directly to the stretches. In addition to massaging the stomach muscles and easing any bloating sensations, they will facilitate the peristalsis process.

Workout 2

You should now be laying on your back on your mat or towel after turning over. All you have to do is fold both of your knees into your chest and give them a little embrace.

Now, while still holding onto the opposite knee, carefully stretch one leg straight out. After that, swap by drawing the straight leg back in.

For the whole exercise, keep your head and shoulders on the floor. Do this ten times.

Workout 3

In order to complete the exercise, return both feet to the floor and gradually extend your legs straight out so that you are resting flat with your arms by your sides.

Keep your arms in touch with the floor as you slowly stretch them out to the side and up beyond your head.

Now extend yourself to your maximum length. Any internal pressure is released as a result. Keep this pose for ten to twenty seconds.

These workouts may even reduce abdominal fat and improve digestion:

Workout 4

Riding a bike is another excellent way to keep the digestive system running smoothly. Not only can cycling promote intestinal health, but it also helps reduce belly fat.

Workout 5

The goal of ab exercise is to strengthen the abdominal muscles and correct the digestive system. This exercise may be tried in a variety of ways, such as the vertical leg crunch, long arm crunch, and reverse crunch. One of the finest workouts for a healthy digestive system is a sit-up or crunch. Your intestines and bowel movement are strengthened by the muscles in your belly and core. Additionally, they aid in avoiding digestive problems including bloating and gas. Better more, this workout may help you get flat abs and decrease belly fat!

Workout 6

You may be surprised to learn that even this basic breathing exercise has an impact on your digestion. An appropriate breathing pattern may assist with issues like bloating and heartburn. All you have to do is practice breathing in and out using your abdominal muscles while sitting up straight. By relaxing, you’ll be able to control your stress levels.

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