“Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer-related death in Canada and the United States. The lifetime probability of developing pancreatic cancer is approximately 1 in 79.” – Pancreatic Cancer Canada
Are you experiencing the following symptoms?
• Loss of appetite
• Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
• Back pain
• Digestive upsets
• Passing foul-smelling and fatty feces.
If so, you may have a problem with your pancreas…
What Does The Pancreas Do?
Located in the abdomen, tucked behind the stomach, the pancreas is one of the body’s vital organs. At around 25 cm in length, the organ has dual roles; it is an organ of the digestive system and of the hormonal (endocrine) system.
The Exocrine Pancreas
A healthy pancreas is able to produce the chemicals needed to properly digest the food we eat, particularly protein. After food enters the duodenum (part of the small intestine), the exocrine tissues secrete a clear, watery, alkaline juice that contains several enzymes that break down food into small molecules so that it can be absorbed by the intestines. These enzymes include:
• Trypsin and chymotrypsin to digest proteins.
• Amylase to break down carbohydrates.
• Lipase, to break down fats into fatty acids and cholesterol.
The Endocrine Pancreas
The endocrine portion of the pancreas is made up of several cells that secrete hormones directly into the blood stream. One of these hormones is called insulin. Insulin is manufactured by a small clump of pancreatic cells called the ‘islets of Langerhans’. High blood sugar levels prompt the release of insulin from the islets, so that it can regulate sugar levels in the bloodstream. Insulin also moves glucose from the blood into muscles and other tissues so they can use it for energy. The pancreas makes another hormone called glucagon, which is also involved in the regulation of blood sugar.
Pancreatic Disorders and Dysfunction
For most people, the pancreas operates as it should. However, poor diet choices, lack of exercise and frequent alcohol consumption can causes pancreatic dysfunction for some people. Such dysfunction can cause a variety of symptoms and illnesses. For instance, a pancreas that fails to produce enough digestive enzymes can lead to weight loss and diarrhea because of poorly absorbed food.
If left untreated, pancreas dysfunction can turn into:
Acute pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. This happens when the pancreas becomes suddenly inflamed. The inflammation makes it so the enzymes can’t leave the pancreas causing irritation and burning. The two most common causes of acute pancreatitis are drinking too much alcohol, and gallstones.
Chronic pancreatitis refers to recurring bouts of inflammation (even if triggers like alcohol are eliminated). Symptoms include digestive upsets and passing fatty, foul-smelling stools.
It is difficult for physicians to spot the exact cause of pancreatic cancer, but it is often linked to smoking or heavy drinking. Other risk factors include diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, liver problems, and stomach infections.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not make or properly use a pancreatic hormone called insulin. If beta cells don’t produce enough insulin, or the body doesn’t respond to the insulin that is present, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by cells in the body, leading to prediabetes or diabetes.
How to Improve Pancreas Function
When it comes to keeping your body healthy, there is nothing more important than diet and exercise. The same goes for keeping your pancreas healthy- proper nutrition and regular exercise are of the utmost importance. Another key factor in pancreas health is limiting alcohol intake. The following are ways to improve your pancreatic function:
• Exercise! Activity increases your use of blood sugar, which allows your pancreas to rest. Work out five times a week for 30 minutes to help strengthen your pancreas.
• Lose 5 to 10 percent of your body weight. “When you lose weight it actually recharges your pancreas a bit and helps it work better,” states Linda Delahanty, M.S., R.D.
• Eat a low-fat diet which has lots of fruits and vegetables and minimizes processed foods. This will not only help you lose weight but also help reduce your high triglyceride levels, which the University of Maryland Medical Center, says are a risk factor for pancreatitis.
• Drink green tea. Studies have shown that people who drink more green tea are significantly less likely to suffer from pancreatic cancer than those who drink less.
(Great tips, livestrong.com!)
6 Foods That Can Heal the Pancreas
1) Blueberries and Cherries. Blueberries and cherries are both good sources of antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage.
2) Broccoli. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain powerful chemicals which may help prevent cancer.
3) Garlic. Garlic and onions, are a good source of beneficial nutrients for pancreas health and for the prevention of cancer.
4) Red Grapes. Red grapes are a good source of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant. Note: Avoid red wine if you have pancreatitis (as alcohol aggravates the pancreas) and eat a handful of red grapes instead.
5) Spinach. Spinach is a good source of iron and vitamin B, both of which your pancreas needs. Sweet Potatoes
6) Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes along with other orange and yellow vegetables like carrots, corn and squash contain nutrients which are beneficial for the pancreas and may help prevent cancer.
The Es-Teck Full Body Analysis and Your Pancreas
Interested in finding out if your pancreas is functioning optimally? Santé Chiropractic and Wellness Centre offers the Es-Teck Full Body Analysis. The ES- Teck System is advanced technology and is a Health Canada registered Class III Medical Device. Using a finger “Oximeter” it allows for observation of heart rate, tissue oxygen uptake, arterial stiffness, hemodynamic indicators and autonomic nervous system (ANS) levels of activity. It is able to detect whether your pancreas is working properly, and allows us to provide you with personalized recommendations so that you can live a healthy, long life!
Book your very own Es-Teck Full Body Analysis by calling the clinic at (613) 837-2883.
Thank you for reading! If you found the information in this blog useful, please pass it along to your family and friends! You never know…it could save their life! Oh, and be sure to leave any questions, comments, or feedback below! We’d love to hear from you.