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Functional nutrition for the elderly

corresponding

PÉTER SZABOLCS, STEPHANIE KRAMMER-LUKAS

DSM Nutritional Products Ltd., R&D Human Nutrition and Health, PO Box 2676, Basel, CH-4002, Switzerland

Abstract

In the health industry, it has long been understood that elderly people have additional nutritional requirements to their younger counterparts. However, scientists continue to research the effects of ageing on our bodies and minds and the market for targeted functional foods, beverages and dietary supplements is still relatively underdeveloped. This article outlines the key health concerns affecting elderly people and the macro- and micronutrients , such as lutein, calcium and vitamin D, needed to support healthy ageing. The paper goes on to discuss how these vitamins, minerals and functional ingredients work in synergy with the body to help maintain good health and prevent age-related conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and osteoporosis.


INTRODUCTION

In many countries, and particularly in the Western hemisphere, populations are getting older. The European Union Population Reference Bureau estimates that, by 2030, almost 25 percent of the population will be over 65, compared to 17 percent in 2005 (1).
So, how is the health and nutrition industry reacting to this shift in demographics? Along with increasing healthcare costs and a growing consumer interest in health and well-being, meeting the nutritional needs of an ageing population is one of the factors driving innovation and growth within the food, beverage and dietary supplement market.
Good nutrition is essential for everyone, but especially for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, who may have difficulty getting enough nutr