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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Looking ahead to the 5th International Vitamin Conference: What can we learn from the leading experts in healthy aging research?

By Dr. Femke Hannes, Director Nutrition Science & Advocacy APAC


  • People are living longer than ever before; however, it is important to ensure that these additional years are lived well – particularly given the prevalence of chronic and infectious diseases in later life.
  • Hidden hunger in the elderly is prevalent and puts them at greater risk for developing NCDs and other age-related chronic conditions.
  • Public health strategies addressing hidden hunger in the elderly can be effective in ensuring quality of life and reducing health care costs.
  • Discover more about the latest research in senior healthcare at DSM’s Lunch Symposium at the 5th International Vitamin Conference, which will be held on 8-10 August. 

Nutritional solutions for healthy aging

Vitamin specialists the world over, from nutritionists to chemists, epidemiologists and geneticists, will come together during the conference to recognize the importance of vitamins in human health. At DSM’s Lunch Symposium, visitors will also have the opportunity to hear from leading experts on the latest topics in healthy aging, including:

  • Dr. Peter van Dael, SVP Nutrition Science & Advocacy at DSM Nutritional Products, who will be discussing how to manage the nutritional needs of an aging population;
  • Prof. Helene McNulty of Ulster University, who will be leading a discussion on the early results from the BrainHOP trial;
  • Prof. Michael Fenech, from the University of South Australia, in a conversation about why DNA damage leads to inflammation and accelerated aging, and how nutrition can help to prevent this.

Where are we now?

It is no longer as easy as it once was to define an ‘older’ person. Some 80-year-olds have the mental and physical capabilities of somebody much younger, while others of the same age are dependent on everyday care. Over recent decades, extensive research has explored the question of why some people age healthier than others, with a growing number of studies suggesting that certain individuals have a faster innate aging rate.[2] While knowledge gaps still exist among both healthcare practitioners and the wider scientific community, evidence increasingly indicates that nutrition may play an important role in the risk reduction of age-related chronic diseases.

Low nutritional status and decreased physical activity are prevalent among the elderly, and put this population at an increased risk of developing NCDs and other age-related conditions. The concept of healthy aging should therefore be a priority for public health officials and governmental bodies, in order to support health in later life. Indeed, research suggests that greater public investment in senior healthcare — for instance, introducing routine screening measures and regular nutritional evaluations as part of a long-term preventative approach — could help to minimize the effects of these conditions. Public health strategies addressing hidden hunger in the elderly can be effective in not only ensuring quality of life, but also reducing health care costs. This topic will be discussed in more detail in Manfred Eggersdorfer’s presentation on ‘Hidden hunger in the elderly and socioeconomic burden’ at this year’s International Vitamin Conference.

Nutritional status and quality of life

In addition to implementing practices to help healthcare practitioners better support older adults, a growing body of evidence also suggests that encouraging the elderly to increase their intake of micronutrients, such as vitamins A, C, D and E, B vitamins and omega-3s, may help to maintain health as they age. Extensive research highlights that healthy, nutrient-rich diets are associated with superior nutritional status, quality of life and survival among older adults, with some studies indicating that nutrients may play a valuable role in the risk reduction of age-related chronic conditions.

To find out more about the current understanding of senior healthcare and ways to promote healthier aging, join DSM at our lunch symposium at the 5th International Vitamin Conference on 9 August 2018, from 12:30 – 13:15 at the InterContinental Hotel in Sydney, Australia.  Here, you will be able to discover the latest research on age-related disease prevention in older adults and how nutrition can be better utilized to support health as we age. Meet DSM there, or email to book an appointment with the experts in advance.

Download our new whitepaper, The future of senior healthcare: nutritional solutions for healthy aging, for more insights on the evidence, role and mechanism of key micronutrients in overcoming the barriers to healthy aging.

[1] UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, ‘World population ageing 2013’, [report], 2013.

[2] B. Chen et al., ‘DNA methylation-based measures of biological age: meta-analysis predicting time to death’, Aging, vol. 8, no. 9, 2017, 1844-1865.