By Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC
It’s no secret that as our ages change, our bodies also change.
Some of these changes we can see on the outside as we age, such as changes to our hairlines, waistlines, and facial lines. Other changes occur on the inside that we can’t see, but we sure notice a difference—changes to musculoskeletal, circulatory, and nervous systems but especially changes to our digestive systems.
The health of your digestive system—sometimes known as the body’s “second brain”—has a profound
effect on your overall health because it’s the source of your body’s ability to nourish itself. Without adequate nourishment, an impaired digestive process affects all of our other bodily systems and can lead to nervous, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and immune diseases.
When our digestive systems are working right, the process is just short of a daily miracle. A well-functioning digestive system is able to absorb and use the nutrients in your food and eliminate the waste daily—in other words, take in the groceries and take out the trash!
As we age, however, these processes slow down and our digestion is not as ef?cient. This results in tummy and bowel symptoms such as heartburn, cramps, constipation, IBS, diarrhea, food sensitivities, and food intolerances.
So what may be happening that impairs our digestion as we age?
To understand the journey our food makes every day, use the illustration as your reference. Starting at the top …
1. We may have missing teeth or gum problems, making it hard for us to chew and break down our food—that’s the ?rst step in digestion.
2. We may have a decrease in saliva production, making it hard to mix and mingle liquid and food in preparation for swallowing.
3. The lower esophageal sphincter—which regulates the ?ow of food from the esophagus into the stomach—can weaken. This may result in a regurgitation of food or acid known as “acid re?ux,” GERD, and heartburn.
4. We may not be producing enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach, leading to a decrease in the ability to digest our protein, and thereby increasing cravings in the other two food groups—carbohydrates and fats.
1. Reduced acid secretion may also lower absorption of some vitamins and minerals, which increases risk of osteoporosis and degenerative neurological diseases.
5. We may not be producing as many digestive enzymes, leading to increases in food sensitivities and intolerances. For example, a decline in the production of lactase—an enzyme that digests dairy foods—can lead to lactose intolerance, causing bloating, diarrhea, and gas.
6. We may not be producing as much bile in the liver, making it more dif?cult to digest our fats and leading to impaired thyroid function and hormonal problems.
7. We may develop a “leaky gut”—meaning our intestinal barrier has become permeable—allowing pathogens to systemically enter our bloodstream and tissues. When this occurs, we are at risk for increased occurrence of potentially fatal gastrointestinal bacterial infections, autoimmune disease, and cancer.
8. We may lose muscle tone in our digestive tract—just as we lose muscle tone elsewhere as we age—causing the food to move more slowly through the digestive tract (known as decreased motility) and resulting in fecal incontinence and constipation.
9. Finally, we may have accumulated a toxic burden as we age that affects our colon. Slower transient time, increased intestinal permeability, and bacterial imbalances are a few of the factors that place an extra burden on our colon, liver, and kidneys—all-important organs for eliminating toxicity.
When DIY Treatments Do Not Work
While these changes may start out subtly, when they can become severe enough to prevent us from feeling good or having the energy to do what we want to do in life, it’s time to take action. Untreated stomach and bowel problems can lead to a host of other troubles that can otherwise be prevented with a few lifestyle changes.
Here are 10 DIY tips that may help you to improve your digestion:
1. Drink more water.
2. Eat more fiber via fruits and vegetables.
3. Exercise more often.
4. Create a peaceful mealtime.
5. Find a probiotic that works.
6. Reduce processed foods.
7. Avoid prescription drugs with gastrointestinal side effects.*
8. Take care of your teeth and gums.
9. Limit sugar intake.
10. Cleanse your internal body.
*Some drugs are particularly damaging to the body’s gastrointestinal tract. Studies have shown that acid-blocking medications, proton pump inhibitors, and NSAIDS sometimes cause gastrointestinal issues with the very conditions they are designed to relieve. If you think about it—when we take a pill where does it go? Right into our gastrointestinal tract!
The good news is that if you have tried to make lifestyle changes and your digestive system is still not working right, we have helped thousands of patients ?gure it out since 1999. Our approach identi?es which foods you are not digesting properly and which organs are not functioning well to enhance the digestive system’s ability to digest your food. We also identify food sensitivities and desensitize your body to those foods so that you can eat your favorite foods again without reaction.
To ?nd out how you can get relief from stomach and bowel problems, call our of?ce at 530-899-8741 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Patrick.
Since 1999, Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, has helped North State residents by using a whole-body systems approach to health. He specializes in providing natural relief for food and environmental sensitivities, intolerances, and digestive problems. For more information contact Dr. Patrick at 530-899-8741 or visit www.DigestionReliefCenter.com.
© 2016. Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC. All rights reserved.