More than 120 international scientists in the field of vitamin and nutrition research recently gathered together at the 5th International Vitamin Conference in Sydney, Australia. Attendees shared and discussed the latest scientific research on the role of vitamins and minerals and how these micronutrients can contribute to beneficially impact human health. Senior healthcare was a key focus for discussion, with some of the world’s leading experts presenting on their latest findings and guidance on topics in healthy aging.
The increasingly aging population is a major achievement in terms of public health, however it has also resulted in a growing demographic that is at a higher risk of developing nutrition-related chronic conditions. A recent study [include link] by Manfred Eggersdorfer, Professor for Healthy Aging at the University of Groningen, in Nutrients examines the unique nutritional challenges facing the aging population and identifies the strategies and policies to address the emerging situation that were discussed at the accompanying scientific symposium ‘Hidden Hunger: Solutions for America’s Aging Population’ in March 2018. Here, Eggersdorfer comments on the research behind the study and how nutritional intervention can help overcome specific nutrient deficiencies.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been in the news as of late. Just last month, researchers reported that those who were the biggest consumers of omega-3s had a 15 to 18% lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, compared to those who consumed lower amounts of omega-3s. Being in the top 20% of fish intake, compared with the lowest 20%, was also associated with a 10% lower risk for death from cardiovascular causes. The findings were based on the National Institutes of Health-American Association of Retired Persons (NIH-AARP) Diet and Health Study that included more than 420,000 men and women, followed for an average of 16 years.
Looking ahead to the 5th International Vitamin Conference: What can we learn from the leading experts in healthy aging research?
The global population of people aged 60+ is projected to exceed two billion by 2050, and the number of people over 80 years of age is expected to be three times higher in 2050 than it was in 2013. While increased longevity in many countries is a positive development, these additional years are often accompanied by a variety of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and other age-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. These conditions can have a major impact on the quality of people’s lives, while also placing a significant financial burden on healthcare systems around the world. As such, approaches to healthier aging will be a key focus at this year’s International Vitamin Conference.
There is no longer a ‘one size fits all’ approach to sports nutrition. The varied requirements of athletes and everyday fitness enthusiasts have meant that consumers are increasingly looking to tailored products and customized solutions. From muscle function, to endurance and recovery, nutritional ingredients are being selected for their ability to offer targeted health benefits throughout the entire sports journey.
The demand for sports nutrition is ever growing, with the global market expected to reach USD 81.5 billion by 2023. For athletes and professional sportspeople, performance is everything – which means their nutrition must be able to deliver. In particular, the demands of endurance events make hydration key, with just 2% fluid loss during exercise diminishing performance by at least 10%. This year’s Giro d’Italia saw professional cycling team, Team Sunweb, taking their nutrition to the next level in collaboration with DSM and BORN, with high-performance beverage ISO PRO+.
The New York Academy of Sciences event, ‘Hidden Hunger: Solutions for America’s aging population’, took place in Washington DC, and welcomed public health officials, healthcare practitioners and scientists from across the globe. Of particular interest at the event was the current status of hidden hunger in the US, and the role that policies can play in encouraging quality health care practices to promote adequate nutrition in the elderly.
March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, which provides a valuable opportunity to consider the impact our lifestyles and day-to-day activities can have on eye health throughout life. With daily consumption of digital technology increasingly widespread across the globe, particularly in office environments, chronic eye problems and injuries are no longer restricted to those in dangerous or labor-intensive careers. Indeed, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that long-term, prolonged exposure to blue light from sunlight and digital devices, such as computers, tablets and smartphones, may contribute to an increased risk of visual impairment in later life.
Life expectancy has increased substantially in recent years, but this is matched by the steady growth of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This has significant health and economic implications for both the individual and for society. With the world on the brink of a global health challenge, the right preventative measures need to be put in place before the problem inevitably worsens. A recent review suggests that nutritional intervention could play a key role in promoting health aging as part of a preventative approach.
Vitamin K’s link to heart health is less established than other key nutrients such as omega-3s and vitamins C, D and E. However, a new study has shown that vitamin K insufficiency is significantly higher in people with cardiovascular disease, and also strongly linked to increased risk of cardiovascular mortality. This highlights the need for better awareness of vitamin K cardioprotective benefits, as well as increased consumption via dietary supplements.
Elevated heart rate is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. There is emerging evidence to suggest that the omega-3s, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have a heart rate-slowing effect on individuals, particularly those with a risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD), like coronary artery disease patients. A new meta-analysis was conducted by DSM and Soochow University in China to investigate the efficacy of EPA and DHA on heart rate reduction, when taken both together and alone.