HOW AGEING AFFECTS YOUR DIGESTIVE HEALTH (AND THE SUPPLEMENTS THAT CAN
It’s no secret that our bodies slow down as we get older. Stiff joints, sagging skin and greying hair are just a few of the most common changes associated with ageing. But while these might be passed off as nuisances, there’s one change you shouldn’t ignore: an increase in digestive problems.
What goes on in the gut can have a real impact on your health, so it’s super important to know exactly how your digestive system changes as you age, what’s normal, and how you can keep it in tip-top condition with the help of supplements.
Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease (GERD)
What causes GERD?
GERD is caused when stomach acid becomes backed up in the esophagus, causing heartburn and indigestion. Not only does it cause discomfort, but the acid can do long-term damage to the lining of your esophagus if left untreated.
Why is it more prevalent in older people?
A Gallup Survey on Heartburn Across America found that 22% of respondents older than 50 years of age use heartburn medications everyday compared to 9% of younger respondents.
So why is GERD more prevalent in older people?
1. Older people are more likely to take medications that aggravate gastroesophageal reflux
2. GERD can be made worse by conditions including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
3. Increased inactivity can result in weight gain, which in turn increases the likelihood of developing GERD.
The supplements that can prevent and treat GERD naturally
* Digestive Enzymes – research suggests that Digestive Enzymes can help decrease distension of the stomach. Just make sure that the enzymes are acid-resistant, so they work in the stomach itself, not in the small intestine.
* Aloe Vera – In a recent study, aloe syrup was found to be comparable to Zantac and Prilosec in relieving symptoms of GERD.
* Probiotics – No human studies have been carried out on the effectiveness of probiotics in treating GERD, but it’s thought that dysbiosis might relieve out-of-control bacterial proliferation, which can be the cause of acid reflux.
What causes constipation?
Food moves through our bodies with the help of a series of muscle contractions. However, as we age this process can slow down, This causes the body to absorb more water from the food we eat, leading to constipation.
Why is it prevalent in older people?
1. Exercise helps constipation by lowering the time it takes food to move through the large intestine. But as older people slow down, so does their digestion.
2. Staying hydrated and eating regular meals is very important to help prevent constipation, but limited mobility can make eating and drinking regularly more difficult for the elderly.
3. Medications can increase the likelihood of becoming constipated.
The supplements that can prevent and treat constipation naturally
1. Fibre supplements – high-fibre ingredients like psyllium husk, flaxseed, sugar beet and prune juice have been shown to help ease constipation. Look for a practitioner-grade supplement like ncapsulate’s Multi-Fibre Nutritional Complex to help prevent constipation, and Max-Lax to treat it.
What causes diarrhea?
Diarrhea occurs when the digestive tract pushes matter through it too quickly (fast colonic transit time), leaving the large intestine without enough time to adequately remove water out of the colon. This leads to increased fluid, volume, and frequency of bowel movements.
Why is diarrhea prevalent in older people?
1. A variety of bowel disorders can lead to acute or ongoing diarrhea in seniors, including diverticulitis, ischemic colitis, and fecal obstruction.
2. More than 700 medications can potentially cause diarrhea. As elderly people are more likely to need medication, this can lead to a higher rate of diarrhea.
3. Research suggests that the elderly are more likely to report the onset of IBS – a condition that frequently causes diarrhea.
The supplements that can prevent and treat diarrhea naturally
* Probiotics – research suggests that probiotics are particularly helpful in treating diarrhea caused by antibiotic usage. For the best results, look for a multi-strain probiotic supplement like ncapsulate’s Multi-Flora 20 Bil.