Aging and Digestion in Chico

Do You Have the Guts to Age? 10 DIY Tips For Better Digestive Health As You Age. 

It’s no secret that as our age changes, our bodies change also. 

Some of these things we can see on the outside as we age, like 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 system. 

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 system is working right, it is just short of a daily miracle. A well functioning digestive system is able to absorb and utilize 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 efficient.  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 first 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 flow of food from the esophagus into the stomach - can weaken. This may result a regurgitation of food or acid known as ‘acid’ reflux, 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.

Reduced acid secretion may also lower absorption of some vitamins and minerals, which increases risk of osteoporosis and degenerative neurological diseases. 

5. We may be 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 our liver making it more difficult 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) resulting in fecal incontinence and constipation.

9. Finally we may have accumulated a toxic burden as we age that impacts 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 of eliminating toxicity.

When DIY Treatments Do Not Work 

While these changes may start out subtlety, 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. 

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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 prescriptions drugs with gastrointestinal side effects.*

     8. Take care of your teeth and gums.

     9. Limit sugar intake. 

    10. Cleanse your internal body.

* There are some drugs that are particularly damaging to the body’s gastrointestinal tract. Studies have shown that acid blocking medications, proton pump inhibitors and NSAIDS cause gastrointestinal issues sometimes used for 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!

If you are have tried to make lifestyle changes and your digestive system is still not working right, the good news is we have helped thousands of patients in the Chico, Redding, and Sacramento Valley figure it out since 1999. Our approach identifies what foods you are not digesting properly and what organs of 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 find out how you can get relief from stomach and bowel problems, call our Chico office at 530-899-8741 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Patrick.

Since 1999, Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC has thousands of Chico Redding and Sacramento Valley 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 

© 2016. Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC. All Rights Reserved. 

First Published in the Lotus Guide for Healthy Living Issue #58, Spring 2016

Digestion Relief Center 

2639 Forest Avenue, Suite 120 Chico, CA 95928


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