Functional Nutrition Blog

Focusing on gut health and Functional nutrition

Migrating Motor Complex: How to Get Food Unstuck

Apr 25, 2023 | Gut Health

What is the Migrating Motor Complex?

The Migrating Motor Complex (MMC) is the nerve complex that is responsible for moving your food through the GI system.  It can be hard to remember sometimes that food doesn’t just move straight through our system with gravity.  Something is responsible for pushing food through as it’s getting digested and absorbed.

That “thing”, is the MMC!

The MMC sends a nerve impulses to the intestines to create a peristalsis movement that pushes food through your system.  If you’re feeling like “food gets stuck” in your GI tract, you may want to try some of these tricks to help stimulate MMC and move food through more efficiently.

How To Stimulate the MMC

Gut Rest + MMC

The number one thing to know about the migrating motor complex is that it only functions when you’re not consuming food.  While you’re eating, you don’t want food to be moved through your system right away.  You want your body to have a chance to break the food down and absorb it before it starts immediately moving through. So, the migrating motor complex turns off when we eat. The first thing that you can do to help make sure that your body has an opportunity to start moving food through it is to implement gut rest.

I recommend three to four hours of gut rest in between your meals to the migrating motor complex a chance to work.

*If you’re having a hard time making it 3-4 hours without being hungry, you might consider how you’re structuring your meals. By making some small tweaks, you can create longer satiety.

Ginger + MMC

The second thing that you can do is use ginger. Ginger stimulates the migrating motor complex. I recommend using ginger between meals (remember, the MMC can’t be stimulated while you’re eating).

  • ginger tea
  • ginger candy
  • ginger capsules
  • raw ginger in hot water
  • lemon/ginger shots

Gargling, Singing, Humming + MMC

A few other options for stimulating the MMC are gargling, singing, and humming.

Give some of these foundational practices a try and see if you can help get things “unstuck”.  Don’t forget, if you still need some support, you can try using some digestive enzymes with meals (I recommend Power Enzymes).

Lastly, you can also check out my guide on the Gut-Brain Connection to learn more about how you can implement more habits into your day to support gut health and digestion.

Cheering for you!

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