The Stomach acid and acid-activated enzymes combined with the Alkaline bile and pancreatic alkaline-activated enzymes plus gallbladder alkaline bile to liquify food in order for the nutrition to be extracted and absorbed.
Yes, this included the alkaline foods many are eating. Unfortunately, many are under the assumption that eating “alkaline” foods are going to make their body “Alkaline”. All food must undergo chemical breakdown to extract the nutrition from it.
This brings into question what happens when those “alkalizing” with baking soda or alkaline water. In addition to those taking Antacids (Tums, Prevacid, Gaviscon) or Acid Blocker or Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) Pepcid, Tagamet, Zantac are either neutralizing or stopping stomach acid production. Anyone who has ever attended a Chemistry class should know that mixing a large amount of Alkaline with an Acid dilutes and neutralizes the Acid.
It is important that the proteolytic enzymes of the pancreatic juice not become activated until after they have been secreted into the intestine because the trypsin and the other enzymes would digest the pancreas itself.
When the stomach is repeatedly alkalized or the pancreas is damaged and/or a duct becomes blocked, large quantities of pancreatic enzymes become pooled in the damaged areas of the pancreas. Under these conditions, the effect of trypsin inhibitor is overwhelmed, in which case the pancreatic secretions rapidly become activated and can start digesting the insulin producing cells of the pancreas first, giving rise to the condition called Insulin Resistance.
At a pH of 8.5 – 9.5, the stomach acid and acid-activated enzymes from the stomach are no longer active. The stomach acid kills the alkaline – loving bacteria, parasites and fungi. Alkaline – loving microbes cause the most serious disease conditions. The pancreas juices and bile kills the acid – loving bacteria (Acidophilus – acid / philus – loving), parasites, and fungi. This leaves the stomach, duodenum and jejunum in a virtually sterile environment with very few bacteria able to survive in that terrain.
This is how alkalinity supports the breakdown and liquefaction of food into chime.
Chyme or chymus is the semi-fluid mass of partly digested food that is expelled by the stomach, through the pyloric valve, into the duodenum (the beginning of the small intestine). The chyme that enters the small intestine from the stomach should be acidic due to secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Acid-activated enzymes also play a role in the stomach to liquify and emulsify food.
Chyme results from the mechanical and chemical breakdown of a bolus and consists of partially digested food, water, hydrochloric acid, and acid-activated digestive enzymes produced by the stomach. Chyme slowly passes through the pyloric sphincter and into the duodenum (first part of the small intestine), where the extraction of nutrients begins. Depending on the quantity and contents of the meal, the stomach will digest the food into chyme in anywhere between 40 minutes to a few hours. In the small intestine another set of alkaline-activated enzymes from the pancreas are stimulated hormonally to be released. But only when Acid is sensed in the small intestine.
No Acid – No Release of Alkaline-Activated Pancreatic enzymes.Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology
Because these pancreatic alkaline-activated enzyme are so caustic. The body defends itself by releasing the pancreatic enzyme and bile only if food is acidic entering the small intestine.
With a pH of approximately 2, chyme emerging from the stomach is very acidic. The duodenum secretes a hormone, cholecystokinin (CCK) into the blood, which causes the gall bladder to contract, releasing alkaline bile into the duodenum. The duodenum of small intestine receives bile juice via the hepatic duct. It is secreted by the liver and stored and concentrated in the gall bladder. This contains bile salts which not only neutralize the acidic chyme but also serve other functions like emulsification of lipids and fats.
The duodenum simultaneously secretes the hormone Secretin into the blood, causes the release of digestive juices and enzymes from the pancreas. Without the proper pH of 2 diluted to a ph of ~4, the pancreatic enzymes will remain trapped in the pancreas. A single H+ cation can chain activate the enzymes within the pancreas. The 99% of the exocrine pancreatic cells that produce the enzymes are protected from the enzymes. However, the 1% of endocrine pancreas cells that produce insulin are not. The endocrine cells are constantly being damaged and destroyed by the enzymes resulting in insulin resistance symptoms. There is a constant need for their replacement.
The duodenum is a short section of the small intestine located between the stomach and the rest of the small intestine. The duodenum also produces the hormone secretin to stimulate the pancreatic secretion of large amounts of sodium bicarbonate, which then raises pH of the chyme to 8.5 to 9.5. The combination of the alkaline enzymes and the alkaline pH liquefies the bolus of food into the semi-fluid chime.
The chyme then moves through the jejunum and the ileum, where digestion and absorption progresses, and the nonuseful portion continues onward into the large intestine. The duodenum is protected by a thick layer of mucus and the neutralizing the alkaline actions of the sodium bicarbonate and bile.
This then leads into the further breakdown of the nutrients still present by anaerobic bacteria upon reaching the large intestine (colon), which at the same time help to package the remains for elimination. These bacteria also help synthesize vitamin B and vitamin K, which will be absorbed along with other nutrients.
Marc R. Yago, Adam R. Frymoyer, et. al. Gastric Reacidification with Betaine HCl in Healthy Volunteers with Rabeprazole-Induced Hypochlorhydria. Molecular Pharmaceutics 2013 10 (11), 4032-4037
After gastric pH > 4 was confirmed for 15 min, 1500 mg of betaine HCl was given orally with 90 mL of water and gastric pH was continuously monitored for 2 h. Betaine HCl significantly lowered gastric pH by 4.5 (±0.5) units from 5.2 (±0.5) to 0.6 (±0.2) (P < 0.001) during the 30 min interval after administration. The onset of effect of betaine HCl was rapid, with a mean time to pH < 3 of 6.3 (±4.3) min. The reacidification period was temporary with a gastric pH < 3 and < 4 lasting 73 (±33) and 77 (±30) min, respectively.