Are You Digesting Everything You Eat

Digestion Relief Center

By Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, IHS


digestive health-toxinsEver read an article whose description of symptoms points to that idea you need to supplement your diet with more of “this or that”?

Have you ever gone to a doctor or nutritionist and learned you are “low” on a certain nutrient?

Ever had an official blood test that has revealed you are deficient in, say for example, vitamin D, B12, or iron?

There are numerous ways to find out what we are lacking in our diet, from doing our own research to seeking the help of a medical professional. And numerous signs and symptoms may point the way. See “Symptoms of Poor Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat Digestion” below. While it is useful to learn that certain symptoms connect to certain food groups, or that you have a deficiency, just knowing it is not the solution.

And here’s the reason:

Just because you take a vitamin D supplement doesn’t automatically mean the body is digesting the nutrients in the supplement. So just because we eat something doesn’t guarantee our bodies can process and digest the nutrients.

It might be helpful to think of nutrition as a six-step process:


Patrick-bloatingStep 1: Ingestion—taking in nutrients via food or supplements


Step 2: Digesting—breaking down the food or supplement to extract the nutrients


Step 3: Absorption—the propulsion of nutrients moving into your bloodstream

Step 4: Transport—nutrients traveling to their cellular destinations


Step 5: Assimilation—use of nutrients inside the cells


Step 6: Excretion—eliminating waste completely from all the organs of detoxification: bowel, kidneys, liver, lungs, and skin.


These six steps are the processes by which the body grows, metabolizes, energizes, and repairs itself. Each step is dependent upon the step before it. Not a single step can be missed for our bodies to be able to enjoy good health and prevent disease.


Why Step 2DigestionIs the Most Important Step in the Process

The most essential step in this “nutrition tower” is step 2, digestion (besides eating, of course)! None of the other steps—absorption, transport, assimilation, or excretion—happen if your body is not able to first digest what it ingests.

Nutrients in the digestive tract are accessible to the body only via the digestion step. If your body cannot break down the nutrients through your digestive tract and move them into your bloodstream, then you’re not receiving the full cellular nourishment that the food could provide. Thus, no amount of high-quality healthy food or supplements matters if you are not digesting your intake.

For most folks with digestive issues, the trouble begins with Step 2.

And what’s the traditional nutritional treatment for a deficiency? Supplement the deficiency. But what if the body can’t extract the nutrients? Supplementing the deficiency doesn’t get to the cause of the problem. That only answers that there is a deficiency. What’s lacking is an understanding about why certain nutrients are not being broken down enough to enter your bloodstream.

Let’s take vitamin D, for example. Many people show a deficiency in vitamin D based on a blood test. Their doctors often prescribe large doses of vitamin D, yet the patients may still be deficient on follow-up tests. Why? Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it has to be dissolved in fat in order to be absorbed. If your body cannot digest fats, guess what? No amount of vitamin D is going to solve the problem because your body is not absorbing fat properly. You have to fix the fat-digestion problem first for a vitamin D supplement to work.

Another example—Iron deficiency/anemia. Iron is transported by protein molecules in the blood. If you are unable to digest your protein efficiently, then blood tests will continue to reveal iron deficiencies. So until your body’s ability to digest protein is improved, you will continue to be anemic or low in iron.

Many people have mineral deficiencies from eating carbohydrates that they cannot digest properly. This can result in bone loss, achy joints, headaches, and fatigue. Again, improving the body’s ability to digest carbohydrates will address the deficiency, which in turn addresses the condition.

In each of these examples, the cause of the deficiency is not to continue to give the body a nutrient it can’t digest and absorb but to figure out what your body is or is not digesting. Remember that nutrients have to be bioavailable to the body, which can happen only if the body can digest the nutrients from the protein, fats, and carbohydrates that you eat.

That’s how work we do at the Digestion Relief Center differs from the traditional approach. Our approach looks at a deficiency as a function of digestion, not as a function of a missing nutrient in the bloodstream.

If you have tried to make supplement and food changes and your digestive system is still not working right, the good news is that we have helped thousands of patients figure it out since 1999. Our approach identifies which foods you are not digesting properly, which areas you may be deficient in, and which organs are not functioning well to enhance the digestive system’s ability to digest your food. We also identify food sensitivities and desensitize your body to those foods so that you can eat your favorite foods again without reaction.

To find out how you can get relief from stomach and bowel problems, call our office at 530-899-8741 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Patrick.


Since 1999, Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, has helped North State residents by using a whole-body systems approach to health. He specializes in providing natural relief for food and environmental sensitivities, intolerances, and digestive problems. For more information contact Dr. Patrick at 530-899-8741 or visit

© 2017. Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, IHS. All Rights Reserved.