As we mature, production of stomach acids decreases. Taking ant-acid medications further exacerbates the problems associated with impaired digestion – malnutrition being just one. There are natural methods of assisting the body in maintaining good digestion.
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As we get older, our stomach produces less Hydrochloric Acid (HCl). Good levels of HCl are not only necessary for digestion but also act as a barrier to micro-organisms entering the body. Good HCl levels also play an important role in maintaining the body’s pH (acid-base balance). Not only age but also stress cause reduced HCl levels. When HCl levels drop, opportunistic bacteria can take hold – probably the best known is Helicobacter pylori or H.pylori. H.pylori has been implicated in contributing to stomach ulcers, but in a case report published in the Lancet 374, 2009, was shown to cause Type B insulin resistance syndrome and ITP. All the more reason to ensure you have adequate levels of stomach acid and no H.pylori infection.
Unfortunately, many cases of heartburn, reflux or dyspepsia are treated all too readily with acid suppressive medications (Ant-acids, Proton Pump Inhibitors). These not only inhibit proper digestion of food but also open the gate for H.pylori and other microbial infestation.
If you have any digestive discomfort, see your doctor but also bear in mind the need for good stomach acid levels. Natural therapies can greatly assist in healing any tissue damage (caused by reflux) and balancing stomach acid production as well as elimination the unwanted H.pylori.
Food for Thought: An old view to a young concern
Chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, dementia, obesity and cancer have a long latency onset and may be termed “diseases of ageing” due to their increased prevalence in the ageing population. These “diseases of ageing” are often assumed to be the inevitable consequence of a physiological decline with age, but we should ask the question: is this assumption deterministic? Furthermore if we take better care of ourselves can we impact our disease burden and live healthy lives well into old age?
While the modern pharmacological approach to disease management has a valuable place in health care it is arguably ill suited to the management of chronic disease. This is because: (1) chronic disease requires long term management and drugs are not without unwanted side effects, and (2) the best management approach is lifestyle modification.
Chronic disease processes start largely as a result of poor dietary practices and exposure to environmental pollutants. Most importantly, these processes are preventable and can be changed along with dietary habits. There is now a large body of scientific evidence demonstrating very clearly that simple dietary changes have the power to prevent, slow or even reverse the major chronic diseases.
Perhaps the greatest perceivable threat to human longevity is a diet related disease unique to the modern world, a disease of over-consumption is obesity. On 17 March 2005 a harrowing report was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The report, of which the lead author was Dr Olshansky, an acclaimed expert on human longevity, stated that “the steady rise in life expectancy during the past two centuries may soon come to an end.” The report pointed out that for the first time in a thousand years our life expectancy, rather than steadily increasing, may soon witness a sharp decline. The reason is the dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity. Obesity has been shown to have a substantial negative effect on longevity, reducing the length of life of people who are severely obese by an estimated 5 to 20 years.
Redirecting the focus to “healthy ageing” through dietary weight maintenance is a rational, safe and relevant focus for optimising quality of life.
Contact True Medicine for guidance and support for effective lifestyle modification and individualised high-quality nutritional supplements for optimum health and vitality. Call us on 07 – 5530 1863 today.
Article care of research carried out by B. Brown, ND.