The Stomach In Motion

By Atom Bergstrom

Atom’s Blog

Anxiety, worry, and/or annoyance can easily delay or stop stomach peristalsis.

Simple annoyance often causes bile to defy gravity and be retropulsed upwards into the stomach.

It’s easy for fat to do this since it floats on water.


Robert Coleman Kent, M.D. (Stomach, Intestines, and Pancreas, 1917) wrote …

“[Walter] Cannon [1871-1945] has studied the movements of the stomach by the x-rays, by administering food mixed with bismuth, and by observation with a fluoroscope. He found that the contractions start in the middle of the stomach and pass toward the pylorus at regular intervals. The pyloric end of the stomach lengthens out and the peristaltic waves increase during advanced digestion. At intervals the pylorus relaxes and the contraction squeezes part of the chyme into the duodenum.

“He found that carbohydrates pass out the soonest after ingestion and require only about one-half the time that proteins do for gastric digestion. If the protein is given first. the passage of the carbohydrate will be delayed. Fat when taken alone remains for a considerable time in the stomach, and if combined with other food, the exit of the latter is delayed. It is believed that chemic stimuli, such as hydrochloric acid, control the opening and closing of the pylorus. With achylia gastrica [partial or total absence of gastric juice], however, the motor function of the stomach, in spite of the absence of hydrochloric acid, is frequently normal. The consistency of the chyme, to which Cannon refers, and possibly some new formed chemical constituents, may be responsible for the regularity of the pyloric reflex in this case. [Anthony] Bassler [1874-1959] has made some rather interesting observations with the x-ray in this regard.

“Grützner and Cannon have demonstrated, moreover, that the waves in the fundus are very slight and do not affect the contents in that portion of the stomach for a considerable period of time, so that the food lying there does not immediately mix with the acid gastric juice. This is an important fact in connection with the salivary digestion of the starches, so that ptyalin digestion may in some cases continue for an hour, before it is inhibited by the acid gastric juice. The swallowed food arranges itself in consecutive layers in the stomach. Physiologic observations apparently show that nature provides against the danger of diluting the gastric contents during digestion by the drinking of fluids during the meal; since O. Cohnheim [1873-1963] observes that even in a stomach containing considerable food, the ingestion of a large quantity of fluid causes a separation of the food from the lesser curvature, along which the fluid passes rapidly into the duodenum.”


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