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The Importance of the Ileocecal Valve and How to Eat in Season

It’s curious how even though most Asians don’t have high calcium dairy products in their traditional diets, they generally have much lower incidences of dental cavities and osteoporosis than do Westerners who generally eat a lot of dairy. Asians traditionally eat a predominantly cooked diet albeit el dente, in comparison to the typical healthy Western diet where we eat a lot of fresh fruit, juices and salads even in winter.

The ileocecal valve is the valve that separates the small intestine from the large intestine and can become weak if a person is low in calcium for more than 5 days. That’s when your “Good bacteria” become “Bad” meaning your beneficial bacterial flora grow out of control, coined Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), and yeast (Candida) will also propagate. The alkaline pH of the small intestine allows yeast to multiply profusely.

Absorption of calcium requires Vitamin D which is made by your skin when exposed to ultraviolet rays (UV) and then stored in an inactive form in your liver. If you are out in the sun without sunblock, your skin can make enough Vitamin D. Our kidneys convert this weak form of D into a much stronger form that can improve calcium absorption up to 1000 times. In winter when we don’t get enough sun to make Vitamin D, if we aren’t supplementing, this will impact our bone density.

The kidneys oversee regulating calcium levels by activating enough D (for absorption into bone) with the changes in seasons. The smallest component of a substance is called an atom which can exist by itself or combine with more atoms to form a molecule. Kidneys monitor electrically charged atoms (ions) in foods and beverages we eat to figure out which season it is and whether to convert the weak form of Vitamin D for calcium absorption. If we are eating tropical fruits and salads in winter, the kidneys think it is summer, therefore we are getting lots of sun and vitamin D and so they don’t activate D causing us to become deficient in calcium which then weakens the ileocecal (IC) valve – the valve connecting the small intestine to the large intestine. A weak IC valve causes Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and depletes our bone density at the same time.

The kidney’s activation of Vitamin D is crucial to get calcium from the gut to the blood and it is Vitamin K that delivers calcium from the blood to the bone. If you have bone density issues you need all the minerals not only calcium. Magnesium, boron and strontium are strong bone builders; vitamin D3, essential fatty acids like EPA and DHA and vitamin K are needed to deliver the minerals to the bone. Keeping your body alkaline by limiting acidic foods such as coffee, alcohol, meat, dairy and sugar will also help improve bone density. And during the winter, try to eat more warm as opposed to cold foods. Fruits can be baked, salad dressing can be warmed up and tossed through the salad and cooking vegetables to an el dente texture ensures more nutrients.

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