4 July 2016

Over 50? You need to read this...

A new report exploring the nutritional demands of ageing has revealed how older people are at greater risk of ill-health because of poor nutrition.

The ‘Hidden Health Challenges’ report issued by the Proprietary Association of Great Britain reveals many over-50s are set to enjoy more years of life but at the expense of quality of life due to diets that fail to meet the specific needs of ageing and a slower metabolism.

The report identifies 3 factors involved in ageing: inflammation, oxidative stress and metabolic stress, and discusses the role of nutrition in managing these issues.

Nutrient deficiencies such as vitamin B12, vitamin A, zinc, omega-3 fats, calcium, iron, vitamin D, folic acid and vitamin K are common in the elderly, and increase the risk of conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cognitive impairment and osteoporosis.

Commenting on the findings Dr Katherine Appleton from Bournemouth University said: “We are living longer but we are not living better. Far too many of these extra years are being spent in frail health.  Repeated studies show a healthy diet protects against heart disease, cancers, diabetes and other serious conditions.”

Poor nutrient absorption is a common problem in older adults as stomach acid levels naturally decline with age and can be further compounded by frequent use of antacid and PPI (proton-pump inhibitor) medications for heartburn and reflux.  Low levels of stomach acid means minerals like iron and calcium, and vitamins such as B12 cannot be effectively absorbed from foods.  In addition, gut bacteria levels can be affected by medications and poor bowel function.

A varied diet can optimise food sources of vital antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients and it is sensible to back this up with a good quality, bio-available multi-nutrient formula and omega-3 supplement.  Extra vitamin D will be required during the winter months and possibly through summer too if an elderly person is housebound.

Original article reproduced with permission from Nutri Gold Nutritional Supplements.
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