Advertisement

Why do the small intestines lose efficiency as I age?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Think of your 23-foot-long small intestines as an underwater cave with coral—the coral being the finger-shaped villi that line the inner walls of your intestines and act like little sponges, sucking up nutrients. As you get older, those villi become rocky and ragged and dulled, so they're less able to absorb nutrients (although they are still great at absorbing calories).

And you can imagine what that does. A decreased ability to absorb calcium means an increased chance that you'll experience bone loss. A decreased ability to absorb vitamin B12 or folate or niacin or vitamins C or E may mean an increased risk of neurological deficit or damage from free radicals.
You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty

More About this Book

You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty

International bestselling authors of YOU: The Owner's Manual and YOU: On a Diet give you all the tools and know-how to stay young and defy the ageing process. Drawing lively parallels between your...

Continue Learning about Digestive Health

What Your Poo Says About You
What Your Poo Says About You
Bowel movements are not exactly dinner party conversation. You may even be too embarrassed to talk about them with your doctor. That’s a mistake, thou...
Read More
What happens if the bacterial balance in the digestive tract is disrupted?
Ms. Ashley Koff, RDMs. Ashley Koff, RD
Probiotics -- good bacteria -- are meant to inhabit our entire digestive tract at approximately 80:2...
More Answers
Embarrassing Stomach Issues, Solved
Embarrassing Stomach Issues, SolvedEmbarrassing Stomach Issues, SolvedEmbarrassing Stomach Issues, SolvedEmbarrassing Stomach Issues, Solved
Find out if your gas, grunts and growls are normal and what to do about them.
Start Slideshow
How Can Herbs Help Improve My Digestion?
How Can Herbs Help Improve My Digestion?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.