Healthy after 50

Even if one eats good food, most older people become malnourished. This is often the hidden cause of their decline and demise.

by Dr. Larry Wilson — 

It cannot be overstated, yet it is simple: For most of us to age gracefully and healthily, we must provide our bodies with nutritious food, pay attention to our medications and include a few supplements to offset common nutritional deficiencies.

Vitality and healing

In general, seniors tend to respond and heal more slowly than younger people. This is because their overall vitality is beginning to ebb.

It also means that when older people develop infections, for example, the condition needs to be handled quickly and more aggressively because resistance to illness is often diminished. This does not mean antibiotics should be prescribed, however. They can be extremely toxic to the liver and upsetting to digestion. Seniors often respond well to natural methods for healing infections, such as adequate amounts of vitamins A and C, colloidal silver, bee propolis or the use of simple herbs like Echinacea.

Vitality can be enhanced tremendously with a nutritional balancing program. By changing the daily diet to one consisting of mainly cooked vegetables and some animal protein, vitality will slowly increase. It is important to avoid all wheat and spelt products and nearly all sweets, including most fruit, fruit juices, sugars, syrup and honey.

Food should be as fresh as possible, preferably organically grown, cooked properly (not raw), and eaten in a peaceful, quiet manner. These are basic nutritional requirements for everyone, but even more important for those over the age of 65.

Malnutrition

Even if older people eat well, they can still become malnourished. Malnutrition is often the hidden cause of decline and demise, and it occurs for many reasons, including:

• Loss of appetite — This is probably the predominant factor, and can be brought on by zinc or other nutrient deficiencies that impair the ability to taste or smell food. The use of some medical drugs upsets digestion and can interfere with appetite. Liver toxicity due to the accumulation of toxic chemicals, toxic metals, medical drugs or other toxins can cause nausea and a poor appetite. Other possible causes for a reduced appetite are depression and discouragement, which are discussed below.

• Inability to properly chew food — This may be due to dental problems, such as missing, loose or false teeth that do not fit properly.

• Weakened digestion — This is often a cause of malnutrition in many older people. There may be no obvious symptoms, but the person cannot absorb nutrients as well as he used to. Basically, as one ages, the body’s secretion of digestive enzymes such as pancreatin and bile, decreases. This reduces the body’s ability to digest food properly. Weak digestion also can cause gas, bloating, stomach pain or other discomfort, which often discourages healthful eating. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can irritate the digestive tract, which further worsens digestion.

• Nutritional imbalances — As one ages, a deficiency of omega-3s and other fatty acids can interfere with nutrient transport across cell membranes. As a result, nutrients and hormones do not adequately reach the cells.

• Infections and other ailments — With aging, more people suffer from various infections that impair nutrition in subtle ways. These can include diabetes, heart and lung problems, intestinal infections and many other ailments.

These are among the reasons why nutritional supplements are essential for anyone over the age of 65. I believe that statements to the contrary by medical authorities are simply the result of gross ignorance. This is also why three healthful meals every day are also absolutely essential for older people. Some seniors, however, do not want to take the trouble to prepare good meals, especially if they live alone. This can also contribute to malnutrition.

Sleep

Many older people do not sleep well, which can, in turn, impair health. Reasons for poor sleep include pain or other discomfort in the body, the use of certain medical drugs, fears and worries, and a more delicate body that occurs with aging. While some authorities claim that older people need less sleep than younger people, I do not believe this to be true. Plenty of sleep is essential at every age.

Dementia

Many seniors develop a degree of impaired brain functioning. Symptoms can include memory loss or foggy thinking. The causes usually include:

  • Aluminum, mercury and copper imbalance, which affects the brain.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency, and perhaps other vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
  • Hidden and often low-grade infections in the brain and central nervous system.
  • Other toxic metal or chemical poisoning. The most common is toxicity from medical drugs and anesthesia drugs.

These causes for dementia are not genetic. The good news is that dementia can often be reversed or at least stopped with a nutritional balancing program.

Overuse of drugs in older populations

Most medications are used by people over the age of 50 and often can greatly harm their health. While some drugs are necessary — for pain, high blood pressure, diabetes and in some other instances — seniors frequently are drastically overmedicated. This shortens their lives and greatly inflates the cost of health care.

The reasons for the overuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs include:

• “Free” medical care, thanks to Medicare and similar programs — While I support compassionate care for everyone, free medical care for the elderly often means going to doctors who prescribe drugs for every imaginable symptom. Programs such as Medicare and Medicaid must be re-examined in light of this. These programs have raised health care costs for everyone and are now completely bankrupt, in part due to drug costs. Drugs often do not heal people, but just palliate symptoms — and many do not even do that very well. American seniors, I believe, were actually better off before 1967, when Medicare was created to “help” them.

• Fragmentation of care or lack of communication — Often, one medical specialist does not realize that another doctor has given a patient a drug and inadvertently prescribes more drugs. These can interact with each other in harmful ways, creating confusion for both the doctor and the patient.

• Gullibility, coupled with deceptive drug advertising — Seniors are particularly vulnerable to false ads on television and in the print media, which promote questionable and often dangerous drugs. The brainwashing is so thorough that it is only evident to those who are already aware that alternatives to drugs can often be found at home or at the health food store and are less expensive, safer and more effective.

Drug side effects murder millions each year. Most seniors take one or more medications that can cause serious adverse effects such as liver and kidney failure, heart attacks, cancers and intestinal bleeding. All seniors must realize this and carefully read drug labels and inserts.

It is critical for everyone to read about the drugs they are taking and to know that many adverse side effects are not reported for years after a new drug is introduced. Also, always suspect drug side effects if you are not feeling well and are taking medication.

Balance problems

Many older people develop problems with balance and walking. Falling down is especially dangerous for the elderly because their bones tend to be more fragile, usually with some degree of osteoporosis. Fractures are common with falls and can significantly impact quality of life, or even end life itself.

A common hidden cause for balance problems is an ear infection from earlier in life that flares up as the body’s vitality wanes. Other causes include chiropractic and other structural problems. In some people, numbness or other nerve problems due to diabetes or other causes contribute to balance problems. Nutritional balancing programs can often help clear out old ear infections and may help rejuvenate damaged nerves, as well.

Fatigue and depression

Fatigue and depression in particular can cause disability and hasten death for the elderly. Reasons for depression may include:

• Fatigue — A combination of reduced vitality, malnutrition, and toxicity with medical drugs and other substances often causes reduced energy that contributes to depression.

• Rejection, in some cases, by families and by society — Old age generally is not regarded with respect in Western societies. Seniors are often forcibly retired, even if they are still excellent workers. Some are herded against their will into retirement homes, where they are cut off from friends and family.

• Confusion and, in some cases, anger at becoming older — Western societies rarely prepare people for retirement and aging. Many thus become confused and depressed, feeling cheated in some way. Some people have simply never learned how to relax and enjoy life. Most indigenous cultures pay far more attention to aging and its process.

• Physical and mental infirmities and disabilities that come with aging — These age-related conditions can lead to depreassion.

• Drug side effects — Many drugs can cause depression, including blood pressure medication, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxants and others. Just becoming dependent upon drugs and doctors can be depressing.

• A related cause of depression that I call “medical disease”  — This consists of the subtle clues that older people get from doctors and nurses that there is little that can be done for their health condition. It is depressing to go from specialist to specialist and hear this news. “Free” health care for seniors has made this problem much worse by causing seniors to visit multiple doctors who still offer few alternatives to drugs and surgery.

• Malnutrition — This cause of depression is one of the most important. Many subtle nutrient deficiencies can give rise to feelings of depression. This source of depression responds extremely well to nutritional balancing science, which can help reverse nutritional decline and toxic metal accumulation.

A need for laughter and relaxation

Older people often need to relax and laugh more. The end of one’s life should allow for moments of relaxation and happiness. Many of the pressures that young people face are gone, so this should be a time to slow down and enjoy life. Laughter has a relaxing and calming effect. Everyone needs to store up happy and fun memories that can be enjoyed later.

Cautions with nutritional programs for seniors

Diet — This needs to be a priority. Cooked, not raw food, is best for seniors, because the body can absorb more minerals from cooked food and it is generally cleaner and less irritating to the digestive tract. If chewing is difficult, food needs to be blended or puréed. Sugars, all sweet foods, food chemicals and low-quality foods are especially harmful. Fruit, for example, is often a problem, as it feeds yeast and other improper flora in the intestines. It is important to rest a few minutes before and after meals, eat slowly and chew food thoroughly in a peaceful environment.

Supplements — Among the most important supplements needed is a powerful digestive enzyme, since digestion weakens with age. Most older people need two or three tablets of GB-3 (ox bile, pancreatin and dehydrocholic acid) or a similar product.

Other important supplements that are not costly are some B-complex vitamins and approximately 1,000 mg of vitamin C. Most people require calcium and magnesium; 5,000 iu daily of vitamin D3; and about 1,000 mg daily of omega-3 fatty acids. Extra iodine from about three capsules of kelp each day should also be included. These need not be costly and can greatly enhance quality of life.

I have found, however, that taking a lot of vitamins, herbs and other health food products is harmful for most people. This is because these are yin in Chinese medical terminology, meaning they often antagonize or oppose one another, and they can upset the digestive system, which is already weak in older people. It is usually far better to eat a diet extremely high in cooked vegetables, with some animal protein daily and some whole grains (though not wheat). This way, a person may not require more supplements to be well nourished.

Other natural healing procedures — Daily coffee enemas or a series of colonic irrigations each year are extremely helpful for many older people. This is because their colons are often clogged, constipation is frequently present and the liver is often extremely toxic from a lifetime of absorbing toxins. Many people also have residues of multiple medical drugs that can be eliminated through these procedures.

Sauna therapy is another simple home-based cleansing and healing method that helps many older people. With age, the skin tends to become toxic and congested. As a result, most seniors do not sweat much and cannot eliminate poisons well through the skin. The sauna also raises body temperature a few degrees, even if it is only for a short time each day. This can help fight off infections, without a need for drugs. Saunas also help normalize the activity of thousands of enzymes in the body that depend upon proper body temperature to work optimally. This can help restore health in a gentle and beautiful way.

 

Dr. Lawrence Wilson has a medical degree, has been in the health field for more than 25 years and is the author of several books. www.drlwilson.com or 928-445-7690.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 6, Dec 2010/Jan 2011.

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