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Healthy Aging Solutions

Albion Minerals®
Healthy Aging Healthy Aging

Nutrition for today’s seniors!

The Participants Are:

Sébastien Bornet, Vice President Global Sales & Marketing, Horphag Research, Geneva, Switzerland, www.pycnogenol.com

Tim Hammond, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Bergstrom Nutrition, Vancouver, WA, https://bergstromnutrition.com

Rick Kozlenko, PhD, DPM, MPH, Science and Functional Foods Advisor, GCI Nutrients, Burlingame, CA, https://gcinutrients.com

Thomas Li, Business Development Manager, IFF Health, Ridgefield, NJ, www.iff.com

Lissette van Lith, Global Director, Peptan (Rousselot), Son, The Netherlands, www.peptan.com

There are many different aspects of aging. One aspect is aging from a population-trends standpoint. From this vantage point, Baby Boomers have transformed the fabric of the U.S. population for more than 70 years. And they continue to do so as more of them become “seniors,” a demographic shift sometimes called the “gray tsunami.”

Born after World War II, from 1946 to 1964, the oldest Boomers will turn 74 in 2020. By 2030, all Boomers will be at least age 65. In fact, by 2034, older adults are projected to outnumber children under age 18 for the first time in U.S. history.

Millennials—those born between 1981 and 1996—were expected to overtake Boomers in population in 2019 as their numbers were predicted to rise to 73 million and for Boomers to decline to 72 million. Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028.

Another perspective is that of medicine and science, or how is aging defined? There are many theories, most partly right.

Yet another view is to look at buying trends and how different age segments are marketed to by the natural products industry.

Gone are the days when 50-plus adults are lumped into one monolithic “senior” category.

What defines an aging person, or an older person, is constantly in flux, and so the products that serve adults of all ages is constantly evolving, as well.

That being said, there is great interest among consumers in healthy aging solutions, including dietary supplements and functional products geared to cognitive health, bone and joint support, vision, digestive health and more.

Here, our expert panel takes a close look into the healthy aging category of the natural products industry.

NIE: Aging is often defined as “the process of becoming older.” It is referred to as being genetically determined and environmentally modulated. So what then is “healthy aging”?

Li: The World Health Organization (WHO) defines healthy aging as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age.” The focus, therefore, is not just becoming older, but ensuring well-being at that stage to live a healthy, optimal life. This includes taking a proactive approach to preventative health.

van Lith: Healthy aging refers to actions that can be taken to stay mentally and physically active during the aging process to maintain a good quality of life; it’s about looking and feeling good while minimizing the health conditions related to a specific age. Depending on the health area the term is referring to, it can mean—among other things—maintaining strong and flexible joints, healthy bones or a hydrated and beautiful skin.

Kozlenko: Healthy aging, from my perspective, is taking the best care of ourselves possible while recognizing with understanding and appreciation of our inevitable mortality, and within this acceptance, making as slow and painless as possible the progressive compressing and readjusting of our once more youthful boundaries of vitality.

There’s a great quote from Dr. Nichola Conlon, CEO of Nuchido and an innovator in aging: “The problem today is not our lifespan being too short, but that our healthspan is not long enough.”

Bornet: The concept of healthy aging—embracing your life-stages and addressing your health needs as you age—invites consumer of all ages to invest in their health during their life journey. That’s an empowering approach and we are seeing the market develop and grow around this philosophy.

The topic of “healthy aging” has surpassed “anti-aging” and gained momentum with a wider range of consumers over the past few years.

It is more than just looking good on the outside, it’s about addressing your different health needs as you age—issues like muscle loss, joint health, heart health, cognitive function and menopause are just a few of the most popular healthy aging topics.

Hammond: We believe an inside-out approach is necessary with aspects such as: proper diet and weight control, exercise that includes resistance training, plus the nutritional steps an individual takes to maintain mobility, sustain strength, bolster immunity and address their appearance by nourishing connective tissue including skin, hair and nails.

NIE: Various theories of aging have risen to prominence over the years, such as the programmed longevity theory, the (neuro)endocrine theory, the immunological theory, the wear-and-tear theory, among others. Are all of them partly right? Is mitochondrial, or cellular aging, at the center of the latest science on aging? Please explain, if yes or no.

Kozlenko: All of these theories have a place. However, the key significant target that all this comes to is the “epigene”—the master control switch sitting on top of a gene and unleashing its potential expression, such as up or down-regulation of a biochemical pathway already programmed in your biologically specific DNA blueprint.

Our diets, lifestyle and health greatly determine the conduct of the epigene that can turn on those genes which can either enhance our youth or accelerate the morbidity of cellular aging. Li: Even with increasing [research and knowledge], we still don’t know an extensive amount about aging to be conclusive.

At the very core, your viability decreases and vulnerability increases as you become older. This corresponds to the immunological theory of being more prone to disease and illness as you grow older. Your body goes through various other changes relating to metabolism, reproduction, use of nutrients and this ties into the endocrine theory of aging.

Mitochondrial aging has been discussed due to all the topics surrounding free radicals and oxidative damage. However, there has been research around other activities such as moderate exercise that similarly changes free radical production and oxidative damage without increasing life span.

In short, these examples show that many of the theories have some merit to them and are linked by similarities, but there is no consensus on what theory is the most accurate—much additional research is still needed.

Bornet: While industry professionals indeed keep on looking at the latest trend or theory, open-minded consumers understand the importance of a truly holistic approach to health, one that is a quest for overall wellness as they age. This is one of the reasons why consumers are doing more research than ever before on supplements and ingredients.

They’re more interested in learning about how an ingredient works for their health, so there is a greater emphasis on research that shows the mechanisms of action of an ingredient.

NIE: We know that humans previously lived much shorter lives. Are chronic age-related diseases so rampant today at least partly because food plenty and medications are artificially keeping us alive decades longer than our ancestors lived? Or something else?

Li: Many factors are contributing to a longer life span, including advances in medicine (vaccines, antibiotics, etc.), a clean water source and better nutrition.

However, reports such as the European Commission’s recent “Ageing Report” indicate that while medical advances may increase life expectancy, it does not mean these [equate] to good health.

There are many theories of aging, and many of them talk about how various components of the body [all the way] to the cellular level break down with use over time. The focus now should be on a nutrient-dense diet (rather than caloric restriction), including the right supplementation that aims for prevention and not just cure.

Kozlenko: One of the most significant contributors to life extension over the years sounds very mundane—that is advanced sanitation and clean water!

NIE: Which is healthy aging about: Improved immunity? Supporting the microbiome? Joint and bone health? Reducing inflammation? The health of our adrenals and liver? Cardiovascular health? Cognitive health? Skin health? Cellular health? Which area should brands focus on more, and why?

Bornet: Healthy aging encompasses numerous health topics and encourages consumers to take action earlier in life.

Youthful skin is always a trending topic in the healthy aging space, but in recent years, consumers and brands are showing increased interest in issues like heart health, cognition and joint health. Muscle and joint health are popular healthy aging search topics for men. The number of postmenopausal women in the world is expected to increase to over 1 billion by the year 2025. As more consumers become aware of menopause transition management as instrumental in their overall health and longevity, we have noted more women seeking research into natural options to manage menopause and menopause transition-related issues.

van Lith: There are many supplements aimed at supporting prevention and relief of age-related symptoms. Consumers look for the solution which suits them best and where they feel they need support. Though many supplements address only one health benefit, collagen is a versatile ingredient aiding multiple areas—making it an ideal holistic ingredient to support an active healthy lifestyle for all ages.

Two driving forces for the popularity of collagen as a healthy aging supplement are joint and bone health, in addition to skin beauty.

Hammond: With so many categories lumped into this application such as cognitive, joint support, beauty-from-within, immunity, inflammation, microbiome, etc.—is there a magic bullet? I don’t think so.

That said, OptiMSM is a safe and natural anti-inflammatory with antioxidant properties that benefits healthy aging in four key areas: joint, muscle, immunity and appearance.

NIE: Today, more than 34 percent of the U.S. population is aged 50 and over, and these numbers are rising rapidly with the aging of the Baby-Boom generation. It’s understandable that brands want to cater to this massive population, but doesn’t it seem like a vast percentage of products are billed as anti-aging or healthy aging supplements. Has this gotten out of control? If so or if not, why?

Hammond: One of the challenges for products targeting this category is getting consumers to realize and accept that nutritional support for healthy aging is not a quick fix.

In general, today’s society desires immediate gratification. Yet aging is a slow and steady process. Addressing growing older in a healthy manner is best accomplished in much the same way.

Many consumers don’t have the patience and expect an instant reversal of conditions that developed over time.

Kozlenko: Now finding myself within this zone of aging 70s, I have a special “inside look” that I could not fully understand or experience in the same manner when I was younger.

Of course, we can seek special nutrients as supplements, but honestly, all the nutrients will be far less or not really effective unless these basic and almost simplistic tenets are followed as the foundation: Excellent nutrition, regular exercise, good sleep, good hydration, care and support of the microbiome.

Your body’s own chemical production machinery, with proper care and execution of these principles, can potentially produce an endogenous abundance of health-engendering molecules impossible to match through a dependence on just dietary supplements.

Li: Many products, previously not considered as healthy-aging supplements, are now targeting the same older demographic.

Although anti-aging claims have been limited in the past five years, there have been some signs of growth in the past three years and this should continue to grow as the life expectancy increase continues.

Additionally, there are more [structure-function] claims being made that are relevant to senior consumers, such as those related to cardiovascular health, eye health and digestive health. Bornet: Healthy aging and longevity ingredients are still expanding in popularity. This market is no longer just about looking younger on the outside, but also about promoting healthy aging from within.

Reports show that the Baby Boomer generation is the primary driver of growth for vitamin and supplement sales in general, with a particular focus on supplement benefits for healthy aging. Gen X and Millennials are becoming a more important part of the market as well. Younger individuals are aware of the benefits of healthy aging and care for their bodies as they enjoy an active lifestyle.

van Lith: Globally, there were 703 million adults aged 65 or over in 2019 and, with the number of over 60-year-olds worldwide expected to rise to 1.4 billion by 2030, it is becoming ever-so-important for the nutrition industry to provide effective solutions that promote a healthy, active lifestyle.

While attitudes toward age-related diseases are fairly uniform globally—most seniors want to take a proactive approach in managing the symptoms of age-related conditions and are focused on healthy lifestyles—attitudes toward becoming elderly differ between regions.

In Asian countries, older adults are comfortable with the idea of aging. This means they are willing to try supplements marketed as healthy aging solutions.

In Western countries, the concept of getting old has a strong negative association, and supplements with a “senior image” will have less appeal. These consumers tend to look for solutions with specific claims instead—including “supports bone and joint health.”

The common denominator, however, is the market need for it. The gap identified in the question represents an opportunity for manufacturers, regardless of the area they are planning to target. Within the supplements market, the size of the sub-category dedicated to healthy aging is on the rise and rose to more than $30 billion (U.S.) in 2018, showing that consumers are starting to become more and more aware of the importance of supplementing to prevent age related conditions.

Another important factor when it comes to creating a push for healthy aging supplements is the importance of educating consumers about the power of taking a preventative approach.

Science-backed information about the positive effects of supplementation at a younger age should be easily available for consumers globally—but especially in the Western world, as people tend to reject products with a “senior image.”

NIE: Some scientists say that certain nutrients and compounds help lengthen our telomeres at the ends of our DNA. It is said that every time our cells divide, our telomeres get shorter, and that when our telomeres eventually run out, cell division stops. Why is telomere biology important to healthy aging and nutrition?

Li: There has been more noise made about the association with telomere shortening and cancer, chronic diseases and other health risks.

To delay telomere shortening, it has been recommended to have a telomere-protective diet, including managing your weight as obesity may be an indicator of telomere shortening (high dietary fiber and unsaturated fats as some examples), regular exercise and incorporating supplements.

Some of these supplements include vitamins B, C, D, E, as well as carotenoids.

NIE: What do you see more of a focus on products designed for all adults (men or women) over age 50, or products either segmented to more narrow age groups or to middle-aged people before they become chronologically “old”?

Bornet: The Baby Boomer generation has been the primary consumer group for this health category traditionally, so we tend to see more products designed for adults over the age of 50.

However, we’ve seen several health categories expand into multiple age groups. For example, although traditionally older generations tend to drive the cognitive health category, individuals across multiple generations are showing increased interest in enhancing their focus, memory, attention span and more.

Now one in five adults in the U.S. regularly take herbal supplements. As more people become aware of the benefits of herbal supplements for healthy aging, we see the industry poised for expanded growth.

Younger generations, including Millennials, are showing more interest in products and ingredients that can prevent health issues later in life.

A recent report shows that one in five young women are concerned about skin health and wrinkles before hitting their mid-twenties, and one in three women under the age of 35 regularly use products for skin aging.

Reports also show that the Gen X population is doing more research than other generations before purchasing health products, and they’re getting information from a variety of sources—including family members, news websites and physicians—to find products and ingredients with proven safety and efficacy.

NIE: Is the concept of chronological age vs. biological age an important one? If so or if not, why? Do you see more use of personalized nutrition combined with age assessments?

Li: Chronological age is important for everyone because no matter who you are, you will naturally see a deterioration in many areas of health.

However, biological age takes a much more specific approach, taking into account genetics, nutrition and various lifestyle choices.

For example, a study by the National Cancer Institute showed for every five years a woman’s biological age was older than her chronological age, she had a 15 percent increase in her chance of developing breast cancer.

With biological age, therefore, there is not a one size fits all, or in this case, one age fits all approach.

This is where personalized nutrition comes into play. Testing kits, questionnaires and various technologies have become increasingly prevalent to take these factors into account, including age. It is important for the consumer to become educated to see what nutrition solutions work best for them.

NIE: Briefly explain which ingredient or product of yours is most important for anti-aging and healthy aging, and why.

Li: Being cognizant of the growing need for healthy aging support, IFF Health has a wide range of ingredients that support a variety of health indications from cardiovascular to immune health. Urinary incontinence is very high on the list of health issues for seniors. Our Go-Less (pumpkin seed and soy germ extract) supports normal and healthy bladder control, which leads to lower frequency of urination, nocturia and urgency. We recently launched Go-Less Men as a soy-free version, which, unlike other competitive products on the market, is defatted to prevent degradation. These benefits are all shown to contribute to increased quality of life.

To provide even more comprehensive benefits for the aging population, IFF Health also has various grades of soy germ isoflavones (including organic) under the SoyLife line for women. These offer benefits from alleviating menopausal symptoms to supporting bone and cardiovascular health. For men, we have LinumLife, which are flaxseed lignans and one of the major classes of phytoestrogens to support prostate health, balanced hormone levels and reducing the appearance of hair loss, among other benefits.

Of course, all these ingredients are backed by clinical science to support their efficacy.

Bornet: Our flagship ingredient, Pycnogenol, is a standardized, patented extract derived from French maritime pine bark. It’s shown to benefit a number of health conditions directly related to healthy aging for skin care, heart health and circulation, eye health, sports and endurance and cognitive function, making it a versatile healthy aging ingredient.

It has four basic properties—it’s a powerful antioxidant, acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, helps generate collagen and hyaluronic acid, and aids in the production of endothelial nitric oxide, which helps to improve blood flow.

And Pycnogenol has been widely researched for more than 40 years, with more than 160 clinical trials and 450 scientific publications ensuring its safety and efficacy as an ingredient.

van Lith: Our Peptan type I collagen peptides are designed to deliver holistic health benefits. Its popularity is rapidly growing across the globe among healthy agers, thanks to its ability to address multiple concerns in the healthy aging sphere. Incorporated in several finished products as an alternative to developing multiple healthy-aging products, the ingredient has been proven, by an impressive body of scientific data, to effectively promote skin beauty and support increased mobility.

A bioactive, non-drug ingredient of natural origin, our Peptan IIm is a matrix of hydrolyzed collagen type II fibers and glycosaminoglycan components (GAGs), the two key building blocks of healthy cartilage. In a recent in-vivo study, Peptan IIm was shown to protect cartilage, provide joint cushioning and lubrication, and reduce inflammation.

Kozlenko: The combination of CoQ10 with PQQ (called PQQ-Sure) offers exceptional synergy for cognitive, memory, mitochondrial protection, cardiovascular health and energy enhancement.

A combination of Crystalline Vitamin E, reduces oxidative stress of muscle fibers, which along with a new form of GCI soy peptides has been researched to help enhance skeletal muscle health and potentially reduce sarcopenia or muscle wasting in the elderly.

Maqui-Sure from the maqui berry and grapeseed extract, both containing powerful phenolic compounds, have inhibitory effects to help down-regulate osteoclastic activity and thus allow osteoblasts to better lay down new mineralization for stronger bones in the elderly when additionally supplemented by minerals and calcium.

NIE: What developments or advances would you like to see (or you predict) in the next few years in the area of healthy aging and nutrition?

Li: Functional food launches have continued to increase in the age of pill fatigue and it is no exception for healthy aging, as swallowing pills is often an issue for seniors.

In the past five years, less than 1 percent of food and drink launches made globally targeted seniors 55 and older with on-pack claims, but this has seen an increase led by the Asian market.

Dairy companies for example, are branching out from their usual bone health benefits and focusing also on more protein, muscle support, immunity boosting and cognitive support.

Along the same lines of personalized nutrition, developments like predictive health (DNA testing) will continue to grow as these technologies become more advanced. Currently, this targets the younger demographic, but with more education and mainstream use, it could be a big trend for the aging population as well.

Kozlenko: I would like to see greater attention placed on diet and food habits—this is still the fundamental building block of health and longevity that is being overlooked by our industry in the quest and economics for “magic elixirs.”

So what I hope is evolving, and what I do see more and more [of], is a much more sophisticated integration of dietary principles with dietary supplements and functional foods, along with the undeniable facilitation of all biochemical pathways by regular exercise.

Bornet: We expect to see continued growth and popularity for natural, branded antioxidants in the years to come, as a result of increasing consumer interest in proactive, preventive health options. Recent reports from BCC Research predict that the market will climb to more than $6.4 billion by the year 2022.

NIE: Anything else you would you like to add?

Kozlenko: As we look for the most profound interventions in slowing the process, the strongest, most evolutionarily proven and still by far the most important, appears so mundane by our industry, that it is often overlooked or even marginalized—that is our diet, smart limited calories, ample consistent exercise, proper hydration and sleep!

Taking supplements, no matter how enticing, will not substitute or take the place of these disciplines, as well as the incredible reach and power of our microbiome’s chemical factory that is very much dictated by our diets. NIE

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