We can say that maturity begins when 60% of the changes due
to biological age have begun: In this sense, there is a decrease in the active
cell mass, maximum oxygen consumption of the basal metabolic rate, total body
water, bone mass, enzyme activity and hormonal and immune response.
Some of these changes particularly affect the nutritional
aspects. Thus, decreased taste buds, lower perception of flavors and dental
problems make food less pleasurable. The reduced production of hydrochloric
acid, changes in renal function and reduced ability to digest, affect the
absorption and digestion of food. Finally the loss of appetite and lower basal
metabolic rate, contribute to anorexia and malnutrition. The different nutrient
deficiency states are more common in older people. These nutritional problems
can lead to organic changes resulting from the deficit of these nutrients, such
as alterations of immune favoring infectious diseases.
Often the elderly presenting various chronic diseases that
may influence nutritional status, such as diabetes, heart failure, respiratory
failure, hypertension, osteoporosis, depression, etc. may also experience loss
of taste, olfactory acuity, impaired masticatory function (sometimes with
denture), dysphagia, decrease in salivary secretion, pancreatic insufficiency,
and in many cases, constipation, intestinal motility reduction, etc.
GASTROINTESTINAL FUNCTION CHANGES WITH AGE
MOUTH: Salivation is maintained, but decrease of taste and smell
STOMACH: Few changes (normal gastric secretion and pepsin secretion
changes). Increased prevalence of H pylori infection. Increased gastric emptying time for liquids, not solids
SMALL INTESTINE : Likely decrease in calcium absorption
PANCREAS: Enzyme secretion decreases
SPLANICH FLOW: Decreases with aging
GASTROINTESTINAL MOTILITY: Intestinal transit can be slowed
Some habits are especially counterproductive in this age,
alcohol intake increases the need for vitamin B, magnesium and zinc and reduces
bone mass. Smoking can lead to malnutrition mainly because it curbs the
appetite, but also increases the needs of certain nutrients, such as vitamin C,
as smokers have a requirement of this vitamin 60 times greater than nonsmokers. Poor digestion, environmental toxins, unhealthy lifestyle habits and insufficient nutrients in our food make it necessary to incorporate supplements into our daily routine.