Doesn’t it seem as though the older we become the more digestive issues we have? It has been proven that similar to the rest of the body, the aging processess slows down the digestion as well. Those issues of constipation, diarrhea, flatulance and other problems which are considered “normal” in the older members of the population may not necessarily be normal to a degree.
In a 1990 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, by Robert B. Shamburek, M.D., and John T. Farrar, M.D., (http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM199002153220705) states that:
“The anatomical and physio changes that do occur in the elderly may be due to the vicissitudes of life (intercurrent disease or the effects of the environment, nutrition, tobacco, alcohol and other drugs) or to specific diseases rather than to aging alone. The decreased effectiveness of the immune system in the elderly may influence the course of diseases of the gastro-intestinal tract.”
In other words, digestive problems don’t necessarily have to be an issue.
Of course once one get’s an idea of how the digestive system works to a minor degree, than one can begin to analyze why their particular digestive system is not working as well as it use to. But this not only applies to the aged, it might apply to everyone who suffers any kind of digestive disturbance, for what ever reason. It is the flaw of human beings that we concern ourselves with more about how our smartphone works, than how our body works. So a quick and minimal description of the digestive track and how it works will be thrown in for good measure.
If we picture our digestive system as one long chemical processing tube or pipeline, with an entrance and an exit and a tank in between, you would be pretty accurate, to a degree. The entrance has chemicals poured on everything that you put into it, than when it gets to the tank, more chemicals are dumped on. As it moves out of the tank back into the pipeline, more chemicals are dumped on, and it than moves the finished product out of the exit opening. The starting point gets food, and the end points releases the finished product much like a factory assembly line. You start off with raw materials and end up with a finished product. As in the factory process, you want to get the maximum amount of benefit with the minimal amount of waste, although waste IS the end product of the pipeline.
These chemicals are primarily enzymes and acids that serve the purpose of breaking the food ingested into chemically appropriate compounds that serve to energize and and promote all of the processes of the body. When the breakdown chemicals are not there in the right quantities, than you have digestive upsets. Some of the incomplete processess will slow down and gum up the words, while others will speed up the process lushing vital fluids out of the system. The majority of the time the remedies are quite siimple: Fiber, Fluids and Flora, the three F’s the digestive system. Ingesting these 3 in the appropriate amounts can fix just about any digestive issue, except foreign invasion.
Eating a good high fiber cereal for breakfast can usually alleviate any clogging of the digestive pipeline. My favorite is oatmeal or hi fiber breakfast cereal. Fruits and veggies with lots of fiber are a good choice as well.
Fluids are essential for keeping everything working smoothly also. Preferrably the one the that is best utilized is water. The more the better. Also be aware that myth about 8 x 8oz perday, is only for people at or below what is “normal” weight. The more you weigh, the more fluid you need.
The normal Flora of the digestive system pipeline is vast and varied from opening to exit and all play an important part in digestion. As with most things that you push into a pipeline, a lot of the flora may exit with the waste. There are also many detrimental factors that can cause depletion such as a host of drugs and chemical imbalances. Flora may be replenished by ingesting yoga with live cultures or probiotics/acidophilos and the like which can be purchased after consulting with your physician and/or health food store guru.
It is also advisable, especially for those over the age of 40, to begin regular gastrointestinal testing procedures to always be aware of the condition of your digestive tract; both upper and lower. I have found that it is an investment in longevity when you do.