How To Live Longer: Are Nutraceuticals Key To Elderly Population’s Extended Life?

Mar 23, 2016 05:45 AM EDT | By Chandan Das

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These days, a lot of focus being put on the health of the elderly population, who now not only wish to live longer but live well. Hence, the renewed interests in nutraceuticals, which ensure that people above 50 years get added vitamins and minerals in order to lead a healthy life.

However, before we delve further into the nutrient requirements of the elderly population, it is essential to describe what nutraceuticals actually mean. In fact, this term is used to denote an assortment of products derived from food sources having additional health benefits, aside from the basic nutritional worth of common foods.

There are eight essential nutritional elements that have the potential to help ageing people to maintain an active lifestyle, Food Processing reported. These include antioxidants, blueberries, omega-3 fatty acids, collagen, proteins, probiotics, prebiotics, and vitamin D.

Antioxidants: These include beta-carotene, selenium, vitamin C and vitamin E and aid in reducing oxidative damage by free radicals, which is related to ageing and overall wellness. In addition, antioxidants like lutein, coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, and zeaxanthin may also be important for the health of the heart and eyes.

Blueberries: Currently scientists are exploring the health benefits of phytochemicals found in fruits like blueberries, especially in slowing the natural ageing process and memory loss.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Therapy with the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid derived from fish oil inhibits the normal decline in muscle mass as well as their functioning in elderly people, thereby helping to maintain physical independence, a study by Institute of Food Technologies found. It has also been found that using omega-3 supplements along with physical and mental training may also help to inhibit cognitive decline, particularly in people enduring mild cognitive impairment.

Collagen: Collagens are proteins like peptides, which promote absorption of calcium in the intestines and encourage bone formation.

Proteins: Taking a diet rich in protein can help to maintain muscle even in old age.

Probiotics: When adults in the age group of 65-80 years consume a probiotic on a regular basis it helps to increase the beneficial bacteria in the human gut, thereby potentially enhancing of anti-inflammatory cytokine production. This, in turn, helps to boost the immune system and combat diseases.

Prebiotics: During a study, 40 subjects aged between 65 and 80 years, who received a specific prebiotic, experienced positive effect on the gut microbiota as well as immune system.

Vitamin D: Findings of a study undertaken by elderly adults showed that vitamin D deficiency was related to significant increase risk of all-cause Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

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