As we grow old, our digestive system slows down, both in the motility of food mass and absorption of nutrients. Digestion starts with the first bite, where enzymes secreted in our saliva is mixed into the food we chew, progresses to the stomach where acid is used to dissolve as well as hydrolyse proteins and carbohydrates, to the small intestines where nutrients are further broken down and absorbed, and finally the remaining mass enters the large intestines where fluids and salts are taken up into the body.
When our digestion slows, less nutrients are taken up and more sugars and carbohydrates are left in the food bolus that travels along the small intestines and into the large intestines. The leftover food is also in the intestines longer due to the slower motility. The slow transit and the extra food is metabolized by the bacteria living in our gut and they multiply in numbers and produce more metabolic wastes, one of which is gas. This larger than normal amounts of gas causes us to feel bloated and is expelled from our bodies as flatulence.
Some medications may also increase flatulence. Antibiotics may disrupt the flora of the gut and leads to less absorption of nutrients and increase gas production. Drugs the decrease motility like benzodiazepines may also increase gas production. Medicines that blocks the absorption of carbohydrates and or fats will also increase the amount of nutrients available to the bacteria in the digestive system, leading to gas and bloating.
What can you do to minimize the gas production? Chew you food. Masticating food to finer bits allows for easier and faster digestion and absorption. It also allows more enzymes from the saliva to start the process of digestion earlier. Exercise will increase the tone of smooth muscles. These are muscles involve in moving food along the digestive organs. Increase tone means increase motility. Avoid foods that are known increase gas production in the gut. They are fruits and vegetable that are high in sugars and hard to digest fibres that are the perfect food for bacteria. Well known vegetables include beans, cabbages, peas, and cauliflower. Fruits that increase gas output include bananas, apples and dried fruits. Sugary drinks like soda and sugared beverages also increase the amount of gas production.
Gas Promoting Vegetables
There are supplements and medicine that can help you with bloating and flatulence. If you experience persist and bothersome gas production, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist.
This year, the number of people with the flu seems more that any other. For those that have had the flu vaccine, take comfort that you may be better protected. Note that I state “may” as the vaccine does not give complete protection. Washing your hands frequently and being aware of where they have been before bringing them close to your face is required to avoid becoming sick with the common cold.
For the non-vaccinated, the debate should continue if you should get it. Many are reluctant to be injected because the benefit is unclear and unequivocal and the risks murky and not clearly defined.
A short education on the immune system is in order. Your body produces antibodies against foreign agents. It works best if the agent or antigen is a living organism or replication capable virus. This is because these antigens will persist for a longer time in your blood stream as they multiply and invade many different tissues in many different sites. You suffer, but your body will remember how to fight these antigens for a very long time. A passive agent or antigen that enters your body will also cause an antibody response, but these antigens are quickly eliminated, the fight with your immune system is short and the “memory” of how to fight them is also short-lived.
Our flu vaccines are made up of the second kind of antigens. Passive, non-living virus particles that elicit an immune reaction, but short-lived. The risk is clear, you will not get the flu from these vaccines. The benefit is murky: if the wrong virus particles are used to make up the vaccine, then your get no protection from the circulating virus of the season; if your body does not respond sufficiently to the “dead” virus particles, then your protection will also be lacking.
Without clear, unequivocal effectiveness, many choose to forgo the flu vaccine. If you have a compromised immune system, suffers from an illness that may be aggravated by the stress of having the flu, or you experience debilitating symptoms from influenza then you should get the flu vaccine.
There will always be a risk when foreign matter is injected into your body. It is unnatural and goes against the desire of keeping to what is natural and organic. No matter how safe and well tested a vaccine, it is an unnecessary intrusion into your body. So what if you want to be protected from the flu, but do not want an injection? There is a solution. You can have a vaccine spray up your nose. It will elicit an immune response and nothing is injected into the body. If you want more information, follow this link: