is Nutritional Absorption a Concern?
Dr. Marc Grossman and Jeannette Manning
we are witnessing new breakthroughs in vision loss prevention.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) is studying 4,600 people
to follow the effects of nutritional supplementation on cataracts,
macular degeneration and glaucoma. The human eye requires more
nutrition to maintain healthy tissue and function than any other
organ in the body! The study is identifying "which"
supplements are most important and "how" these nutrients
should be taken.
ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat and the supplements
you take may decrease between the ages of 40 to 60 years as much
as 70-90%! Research on senior absorption characteristics indicates
that reduced levels of digestive enzymes in your mouth, pancreas
and intestines, coupled with reduced hydrochloric acid production
in your stomach are culprits contributing to this condition.
you can't completely digest your food or nutritional supplements,
your body can't absorb the vitamins they contain. Vitamins are
"locked up" and your body's digestive system uses enzymes
and hydrochloric acid (HCI) as keys to release them for absorption
into the bloodstream.
raw foods come naturally packaged with their own digestive enzymes
but are destroyed by cooking. Digestive enzyme supplements derived
from plants are helpful replacements and begin their work in the
upper stomach. Amylase for carbohydrate digestion, protease for
protein digestion, lipase for fat digestion and cellulase for
cellulose (fiber) breakdown are all available in supplement formulas.
Animal enzymes such as pancreatin and pepsin are also available
and help in the digestion of food once it has reached the lower
stomach and the intestinal tract.
acid is responsible for the activation of the specific enzymes
needed for digestion as nutrients travels into the small intestine
and colon. Low levels of stomach acid may allow undigested nutrients
to travel farther along the digestive tract than the optimal distance
for efficient absorption. In older people, this may contribute
to lowered levels of vitamins B2, B6, and B12, as well as decreased
absorption of zinc from vegetables.
you pass your 50th birthday, you are likely to produce less stomach
acid than you did at age 25. According to estimates, between 24
and 37 percent of adults aged 60 to 80 years suffer from a lack
of digestive acid also known as atrophic gastritis. Many people
over 50 will benefit from taking HCI with meals. The acid in your
stomach is a key player in the thorough breakdown of food. Those
who don't have enough stomach acid often can't digest fiber rich
food, whole foods or vitamin pills, and end up turning to highly
processed foods for energy. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies often
already exist because of poor food choices and poor digestion
compounds the problem.
times we know the therapeutic dosage for a specific condition,
but we do not know how much of the prescribed nutrient is absorbed
into the bloodstream via the gastrointestinal system when taken
orally by tablet, capsule or gel cap. We do know that after age
40 and continuing on as we age, our gastrointestinal absorption
rate reduces significantly. (1-4) This problem becomes even more
serious when combined with health conditions or digestive disorders
that further reduce absorption such as ulcers, diverticulitis,
acid reflux, dysbiosis, etc.
its not how much you take but how much your body tissues
absorb that is important. With a higher level of absorption, more
nutrients reach their intended destination thereby requiring a
lower dosage intake. More nutrients in a pill or capsule is not
necessarily better. What is important is how we can best insure
the uptake of recommended "therapeutic dosages".
way around this problem is to take nutritional supplements using
the most efficient delivery system available. The most important
should be taken in the form of sprays when available. Spraying
inside the mouth (intraoral) or under the tongue (sublingual)
has the best absorption rate.