There are several reasons why the intestinal tract works slower as we get older. If there are sclerotic processes in the blood-vessels in the heart and brain, then they are also inevitable in blood-vessels elsewhere, such as in the abdominal cavity, and this affects the speed of intestinal peristalsis. Older people are also less physically active. They tend to have dental issues, so coarser, fibre-dense foods, which nourish good intestinal bacteria, are eaten less. These foods are called prebiotics, and they are necessary for bacteria to feed, live, multiply and secrete the substances that we need. If problems are persistent, then a person ought to supplement with fibre and probiotics.
The small intestine is the place where absorption takes place. This is where all of the nutrients and vitamins that our body needs are absorbed. Therefore, if a person has problems with the small intestine or if they have had surgery on a part of the small intestine, they could also have problems with iron deficiency anaemia, vitamin deficiencies, problems with immunity.
There are studies that show a difference in the microflora of breastfed children and children fed with artificial mixtures from a very young age. The nutrients and microflora are different in each case. Of course, the diet consumed when a child starts to eat regular food is also important. A chain reaction can lead to an allergy.
The bacteria that naturally reside in our bodies are affected by various factors, such as stress, aging, fasting. As a result, the balance is unsettled leading to such symptoms as changes in bowel movement – diarrhoea interspersed with constipation. Extended use of medication also affects our bacteria. For example, there are many patients in Latvia with joint issues who are treated with non-steroid anti-inflammatory medication. The intestinal microflora has an immediate adverse reaction to this treatment. Antibiotics immediately destroy a part of the microflora. After a course of antibiotics even young people have diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, belching. In these cases, we need to decide what bacteria to supplement.
Our intestinal tract is not sterile. It is sterile only immediately after birth. Afterwards it becomes home to what the child has obtained from the mother, the environment, new foods added to their diet. For adults, live microorganisms account for nearly half of the contents of the large intestine. Everyday something is discharged and then restored. There is a constant life cycle.