The Migrating Motor Complex

<—-Part VII  


Now, because you’ve stuck with me so far in this master class, I’m going to give you something that you can put into action immediately.

It may not resolve all your digestive issues, and then again, it might. But it will serve as a starting point and certainly get you on the path to better digestion. And remember, you can put this to work right after this master class.

Let me introduce you to the migrating motor complex.

This is a specialized type of peristalsis or muscle contraction that occurs in the small intestine in the fasted state. Keep this in mind. In other words, when you’re not eating. It consists of rhythmic contractions that begin in the stomach or small intestine. You see, the GI tract from the exophagus to the anus is a layer of smooth muscle.

This smooth muscle responds to electrical signals that are issued from a series of cells that are called the interstitial cells of Cajal.

Cajal was a Spanish neuroanatomist.

These cells are thought of as the pacemaker of the gut. And just like the pacemaker of the heart that sends electrical signals, for contraction of cardiac muscles on the atria and the ventricles to pump blood, so do these electrical signals cause contraction and relaxation of the intestine smooth muscle, a process we know as peristalsis.

These events, the contraction and relaxation of the smooth muscles, take place every ninety to a hundred and twenty minutes. But as I said above, in the fasted state when you’re not eating. And it will last around one to three hours to complete. Now the purpose of the migrating motor complex is to sweep the GI tract clean during periods of fasting.

It performs a housekeeping function, if you will, in that it prevents bacterial overgrowth due to stagnant food contents.

The hormone motilin is thought to be responsible for the initiation of the migrating motor complex, and motilin is secreted by an empty stomach. So when we’re in a fast state, there’s no food in the stomach, this hormone is released to initiate the migrating motor complex.

Now here’s the interesting part, and one that you should pay attention to. If we eat, this system stops immediately.

The intestines shift their function from cleaning to digestion.

And it doesn’t have to be a big meal. It can be anything you put in your mouth, A piece of celery, a cookie, a carrot, anything that the body perceives as having calories.

Drinks like juice, milk, sweetened coffee and tea, and sodas all have carbs or fats or proteins or any energy or calories containing nutrients that we take will stop the house cleaning work of the migrating motor complex.

So if we are grazing throughout the day, this becomes a problem because now we’ve allowed bacteria to multiply to continue fermenting leftover undigested food leading to bloating. And it is thought that this interruption of the migrating motor complex by constantly eating will lead to SIBO, or the small intestinal bacteria, overgrowth that we talked about earlier. This is why intermittent fasting has helped a lot of people alleviate digestive problems.

When you fast, you are given the intestines a chance to take the garbage out, so to speak. So put this into action right after this master class, and you will see the benefits. And if you have any questions, we can talk about it later