Worldwide, the growing senior population presents nutrition and dietary supplement manufacturers with increased opportunities to market products for senior health. These opportunities will only grow. In the United States alone, the U.S. Census Bureau projected that, for the first time, the number of seniors in the U.S. will eventually outnumber the number of U.S. children. The Bureau pinpoints 2030 as the “important demographic turning point in U.S. history” during which all baby boomers will be older than the age of 65, and when 1 in every 5 U.S. residents will be of retirement age. That means that by the year 2035, there will be 78 million people aged 65 and older, compared to 76.4 million children under the age of 18.1
Manufacturers of dietary supplements and foods have many opportunities to develop products to help older adults remain robust, active, and alert well into their golden years. Depending on who you ask, healthy-aging product marketing is altogether more positive and optimistic than in the past.
“Quite frankly, it’s changed from portraying seniors as ‘doddering’ and forgetful to more youthful and sophisticated,” says Annie Eng, CEO of ingredients supplier HP Ingredients (Bradenton, FL). “As technology and ingredient research have also improved and become more sophisticated, so, too, have today’s active seniors.” The typical depiction of a retired senior may have been of a person “rocking on the front porch in slippers with a glass of lemonade,” but this has changed, she says. Today, “retirement often means indulging in a hybrid hobby–second career, interspersed with travel and new experiences.”
While the opportunities and need for nutritional interventions to support senior health are ripe, the amount of nutrition research specifically performed in seniors leaves more to be desired. Ahead, we point to a handful of recent science, ingredients, and technologies focusing on supporting healthy aging.
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- U.S. Census Bureau. “Older People Projected to Outnumber Children for First Time in U.S. History.” March 13, 2018. https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2018/cb18-41-population-projections.html
- Walston J. “Sarcopenia in older adults.” Current Opinion in Rheumatology, vol. 24, no. 6 (November 2012): 623-627 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4066461/
- Traylor DA et al. “Perspective: Protein requirements and optimal intakes in aging: Are we ready to recommend more than the recommended daily allowance?” Advances in Nutrition, vol. 9, no. 3 (May 1, 2018): 171-182
- Fielding R et al., “L-carnitine supplementation in recovery after exercise,” Nutrients. Published online March 13, 2018.
- Lindbergh CA. “Lutein and zeaxanthin influence brain function in older adults: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, vol. 24, no. 1 (January 2018): 77-90 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28695791
- Udani JK. “Effects of SuperUlam on supporting concentration and mood: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Published online November 28, 2013.
- Rossman MJ et al., “Chronic supplementation with a mitochondrial antioxidant (MitoQ) improves vascular function in health older adults,” Hypertension, vol. 71, no. 6 (June 2018): 1056-1063
- Knapen MH et al., “Menaquinone-7 supplementation improves arterial stiffness in healthy postmenopausal women: double-blind randomised clinical trial,” Thrombosis and Haemostasis. Published online ahead of print February 19, 2015.
- Ntemiri A et al. “Glycomacropeptide sustains microbiota diversity and promotes specific taxa in an artificial colon model of elderly gut microbiota.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 65, no. 8 (March 1, 2017).
- Miller LE et al., “The effect of Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis HN019 on cellular immune function in healthy elderly subjects: systematic review and meta-analysis,” Nutrients. Published online February 24, 2017.
- Fuller R et al. “Yeast-derived beta 1,3/1,6 glucan, upper respiratory tract infection and innate immunity in older adults.” Nutrition. Published online March 23, 2017.
- Baugreet S et al. “Mitigating nutrition and health deficiencies in older adults: a role for food innovation?” Journal of Food Science, vol. 82, no. 4 (April 2017): 848-855