Bloating and Flatulence

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.

Digestive System


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.



Debating the Flu Vaccine



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.


Wash Hands

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.


Flu Virus

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.

Flu Clinic

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:

Flu Vaccine

Super Grocer & Pharmacy is holding a Flu Clinic on October 22 and 23, 2011. Please sign up as soon as possible as we only have a limited number of flu shots. Almost everyone qualifies for this program funded by the BC Government. Please call our pharmacist at 604-274-7878 for more information and to book your appointment.

The Thanksgiving holiday is the first of many social gatherings most of us attend during the fall and winter months. When we congregate in groups, we also spread the commonest of communicable diseases, the flu. The elderly and the young are the two populations that are affected most – each more susceptible because of lower than normal immune activity.

Flu vaccines are the only “treatment” that helps us prevent the disease. When we are infected by a foreign organism, our bodies fight back by manufacturing immune agents called antibodies. The flu vaccines are basically antibodies harvested from chicken eggs infected with a flu causing virus. When this “vaccine” is introduced into our blood stream, they attached to any of the same virus that comes into our bodies and signal our immune system to manufacture more of the same type of antibodies, thus preventing the flu virus from becoming established and we avoid the symptoms that causes discomfort in the healthy and severe if not fatal consequences in the elderly and the young.

The BC government recognized that preventing the spread of the flu will not only reduce the mortality due to the flu, but also saves money by lowering the number of medical help required to those that suffer from the symptoms of the disease.  Each year, a limited number of vaccinations are funded and is available to those who are more susceptible and the people they associate with.  Visit the Flu BC website for more details.

Choosing a Walker or Rollator

Walkers are three sided frames that aid balance when walking.  Rollators are wheeled walkers.  There are several types, each suitable to individual needs and demands.

The most primary walker is a lightweight frame that easily folds away.  This walker is easy to maneuver and lift over low obstacles.  It has four legs and provides the most stability for those who has good upper body strength and a strong grip.  Fine for indoor use and limited outdoor distances.

A variant of the basic walker is one with small wheels attached to the front two legs.  This adaptation allows a glide/push action without having to lift the whole walker, just the back legs.  This allows patients with weaker upper body strength or constraints in arm movement to use.  Although easier to move on smooth and relatively flat surfaces, low obstacles are harder to overcome as this model is heavier.

Other variations of the basic walker includes those that have a fold down seat or specialized grips to better spread the weight from the palms.  Each enhances utility at the price of mobility.

Rollators are wheeled walkers.  They come with three or four wheels.  Three wheel versions are lighter, but less stable.  Four wheel variants are more stable, but heavier.  They are ideal for use over longer distances, requiring little effort to move forward while offering good stability.  A toe lift tilts the rollator over low obstacles.  Usually, these come with seats that allow rest stops between destinations.  Unfortunately, the seat also interfere with the gait of the user.

Another issue to consider with rollators is the braking system used.  They are usually spring grips that connect to the wheels by cables.  The loops tend to catch on objects in close confines.  One model over come this by cleverly incorporating the cables inside the frame of the rollator – these costs more.

Consideration should be given to where the walker/rollator is to be used.  If there is more than one level involve, and a powered lift is not available, having one for each level would be ideal.  Ideally, one would have a walker for indoor use and another for outdoor use.

Please consult our pharmacist for what will work best for you.  Super Grocer & Pharmacy staff can measure and fit you the right size of walker or rollator.

Pharmacare Change Medication Review

Pharmacare have announced that starting August 1, 2011 patients must have seven (7) medication, either prescription or non-prescription, recorded on their pharmacy profile for the government to continue to fund their Medication Review.

Medication Reviews are a health enhancing service.  Many misused and misunderstood medications have been corrected in the patients who have under gone this review.  Please contact our pharmacy to arrange for this valuable service if you have not reviewed your medication history with our pharmacist.

We can try to help you preserve your eligibility for Pharmacare funding.   Please bring in all your medications, vitamin and other medicines like Aspirin as well as herbal remedies that you current take.  If the containers are too bulky or inconvenient, you may write a list and we will record these medications for you in your pharmacy profile.


Summer Eating

There has just been but a trickle of hot weather this summer, yet many of us have started on our regular summer fare of barbecues and salads.  The fatty meats that tastes so good from the grill and the dressings that, well, dresses up our salads all contribute fats to our diet.  So here is a quick review of fats and our health.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are part of every healthy cell, but they can’t be produced by the body. EFAs must be consumed through food or supplements.  There are two major types of essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

 Omega-3 are polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish and some plant oils.  Not only are omega-3 fatty acids beneficial for a healthy heart, they also play a part in improving brain function ( learning ) and visual acuity.

Omega-6 fatty acids are very common, found in cooking oils such as sunflower and corn oils, plentiful in grain fed meats and in egg yolks.  They play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development.  They help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and maintain the reproductive system.

Both types of fatty acids are easily found in the foods we eat everyday.  The question then is what do we do to make our eating choices healthier.  The answer is balance.  It is how much of each type of fatty acid we eat that affect our health.  With our meat and oils heavy diet, we are consuming too much omega-6 fatty acids.  This leads to all the bad things we associate with fats – deteriorated blood circulation, leading to strokes, heart disease, and blindness.

Since we consume lots of foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids, we should emphasize eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.  Common sources are from oily fish like sardines, salmon, trout and mackerel, oils from flax seed, canola seed, grape seed and olives and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and raw spinach and lettuces.  If taste preferences or availability is an issue, then supplements of omega-3 is easy to introduce into our lifestyle and found in the the vitamin section of our pharmacy.

If you have more questions please ask our pharmacists.   Direct phone number is 604-274-7878.  While consulting the pharmacist, be sure to ask about our Medication Review service from Pharmacare.