When the topic of dietary supplements is in the news, we often leave out a population who can highly benefit from them: aging people. While some individuals in this population do not always need supplemental help outside of the nutrition they receive from foods, many could use the boost. A study in the journal Nutrients, 30 years in the making, has provided evidence that as we age, deficiencies increase, raising our need to take dietary supplements.
Here’s the scoop:
For more than 30 years, the KORA (Cooperative Research in the Region of Augsburg) Cooperative Health Research platform has been evaluating the health of thousands of people living in the greater Augsburg area in Southern Germany. The research team’s focus was on the impact of lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors on health. Dr. Barbara Thorand of the Institute of Epidemiology (EPI), who led this study, states “In this context, we were also interested in examining the micronutrient status of older adults, including vitamins. So far, in Germany, research data on this topic has been relatively thin on the ground” (medicalexpress). But thanks to the EPI study, that data was about to grow.
Here is what the group studied:
Blood samples of 1,079 older adults (65 to 93 years of age). The scientists concentrated on levels of four micronutrients: folate, Vitamin D and B12, and iron.
Here is what they found:
“Fifty-two percent of the examined older adults had Vitamin D levels below 50 nmol/L and thus had a suboptimal Vitamin D status,” says first author Romy Conzade. Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency included brittle or thin bones, weakness, and fatigue (psychcentral). 27% of older adults had Vitamin B12 levels below the cut-off; in 11% of older adults, iron levels were too low; and almost 9% did not have adequate folate in their blood (medicalexpress). This study discovered that the majority of older adults with suboptimal vitamin levels were very old, physically frail, or inactive. These findings only verify the results of the last German National Nutritional Survey (NVS II), which showed an inadequate intake of micronutrients from foods. Professor Annette Peters reports “this is a highly relevant issue, particularly in light of our growing aging population” (psychcentral). Dr. Thorand added “our study also shows that regular intake of vitamin-containing supplements goes along with improved levels of the respective vitamins” (psychcentral).
Where does America fit in?
Growing awareness of how vitamins and dietary supplements can help older people thrive longer would be especially promising for the U.S., as an ABC article articulates. Paul Recer writes, “the number of Americans age 65 or older increased tenfold in the last century and the elderly are living longer, in more comfort and in better health than ever before, researchers report” (abcnews). There are around 35 million Americans 65 or older, accounting for 13% of the total population. In 1900, the number of older Americans was approximately 3.1 million. Now, with the aging of baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964, “America’s older population will double by 2030, reaching some 70 million” (abcnews). Your dietary supplement product(s) could potentially help 70 MILLION people, which leads me to my next point.
How can older people protect themselves—better yet, how can YOU help your older customers protect themselves from deficiency-related ailments?
The fact of the matter is that as we age, our bodies do not absorb necessary nutrients as easily as they used to. Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals as we age are also strongly linked to developing mental health conditions such as cognitive decline and depression. From preventing physical health problems to bolstering mental states, your product can help a large population. Here are just a few supplements to add to your dietary supplement line:
- Fish Oil: Most popular among recommendations as we age, fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids and an acid called DHA. Fish oil is also used to protect against dry eyes and skin, even menstrual pain. People with heart disease also take interest in fish oil, as it lowers triglyceride levels (fat in blood). It helps to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain—all common symptoms associated with aging. While debates continue about fish oil’s agency in prostate cancer, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease, it is definitely a multi-faceted supplement for older people (ubiquinol).
- CoQ10 and Ubiquinol: CoQ10 can help the heart, while promoting major organ function and cellular energy exchange. Most significant to older people is the active antioxidant form of CoQ10, Ubiquinol (which you can learn more about at https://www.makersnutrition.com/news/2017-09-08-the-wonders-coq10-can-do-for-you/). As we age, our cells lose their ability to convert CoQ10 to Ubiquinol. If you offer this supplement, you could be serving around 32 million Americans over 45 years of age who take statin drugs for their heart health, as statin drugs inhibit the body’s natural ability to produce CoQ10 (ubiquinol).
- SAM-e: Similar to Ubiquinol, SAM-e is “a chemical produced naturally in the body but replicated in the lab for those whose SAM-e levels are insufficient. SAM-e (or S-adenosylmethionine) is made from an amino acid and adenosine triphosphate (ATP),” which is a coenzyme used by cells to transfer energy (ubiquinol). Though people with Parkinson’s disease should avoid it, SAM-e is generally well-tolerated and can help ease osteoarthritis pain just as effectively as anti-inflammatory medications (ubiquinol).
- Calcium and Probiotics: Calcium is the main component of our bone strength and muscle function, which is why calcium commercials most often involve children. On the other hand, this nutrient is just as important for older people to prevent bone decay. Can’t you just drink milk or eat yogurt, you ask? While it is found in dairy products, many people have dietary restrictions or health conditions that require the omission of calcium. In such cases, calcium supplements could be the answer. Probiotics aid in digestion along with conditions involving bowel movements and excretory function (ubiquinol). Again, isn’t yogurt filled with probiotics? Yes, but an issue with dairy can mean an issue with probiotics. Supplements win again!
So in addition to offering your customers pre and post workout blends, whey protein powders, and superfood mixes, which Makers Nutrition offer at low minimum quantity orders, why not broaden the horizons of your supplement line and put something on the market for some older folks?