|Supplement Solutions for Seniors|
|Supplement Solutions for Seniors|
In 1776, the majority of people lived to the ripe old age of 35. Today, however, life expectancy ranges upwards of 77. With the help of ongoing medical and technological advances, people are living longer, healthier lives. In fact, the fastest growing segment of the population is age 85 years and older. And if current trends continue, researchers predict that at least 50 percent of the Baby Boomer population will live to 100 years old and beyond.
In order for this prediction to become a reality, however, the anti-aging prescription of exercising, consuming a balanced diet and heeding our own nutritional needs must be followed. In addition, supplementation of certain specialty ingredients such as DHEA, ginkgo, coenzyme Q10 and phosphatidylserine can help increase the quality of life.
While aging is an inescapable process, there are several means of slowing the inevitable. Due to the influx of research and media reports proclaiming that antioxidants, by neutralizing free radicals, can delay and even prevent the onset of a number of degenerative and chronic diseases, antioxidants have become the anti-aging "flavor of the month."
Antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C and E, as well as tocotrienols, grape seed extract and pine bark extract, serve one of three primary functions; preventing the formation of new free radical species, trapping free radicals, thus preventing chain reactions; and repairing molecules damaged by free radicals.
Although antioxidant compounds can be found in fruits and vegetables, these food sources alone may not provide adequate amounts necessary to fight free radicals. Supplementation is, therefore, often a convenient option.
While antioxidants are an important base component for any nutritional regimen, certain conditions associated with aging require special supplemental consideration. Heart disease, in particular, warrants vigilant attention to nutrition intake. While doctors and clinicians may not be able to stem the tide of hereditary heart disease, there is much that can be done to slow the progression of cardiovascular disease among those who have settled into a more sedentary lifestyle. Specifically, nutrients such as L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10 can help in lowering serum lipids, cholesterol and triglycerides, all of which can contribute to heart disease.
Another significant health concern for seniors us cognitive impairment. While some cognitive diminishment is inevitable with advancing age, more than half of the 30 million Americans over the age of 65 are measurably brain impaired. Yet another staggering statistic is that 10 percent of all persons older than 65 have the more serious neurological problem of Alzheimer's disease. Although there is no real cure for either of these conditions, there are certain supplements that may slow their progression. Ginkgo biloba has probably received the greatest media attention as a result of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers found that one-third of the patients with Alzheimer's in the study who took 20 mg of ginkgo extract for six months had improved mental functioning compared to 14 percent who took a placebo.
Other brain-enhancing supplements that may already be present in the brain, but may be diminished as a result of age or a deficient diet include phosphatidylserine (PS) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). PS appears to sharpen concentration and short-term recall, reinstate vocabulary skills and improve mood. Similarly, a deficiency of DHA can correlate with memory loss, changes in disposition and other neurological conditions. Rather than being a treatment for these disorders, however, DHA supplementation can serve as a preventative therapy to help reduce the risk of these brain-associated conditions.
Also of paramount concern among seniors are osteoporosis and arthritis. While certain individual ingredients such as calcium and vitamin D will always be a vital component of any bone health regimen, a host of innovative ingredients are quickly earning name recognition in this arena. Gllucosamine, for example, is gaining a large market share due to its ability to enhance the repair processes of joint structure and cartilage. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) also diminishes joint pain and improves symptoms of arthritis. Discovered in 1961, MSM is composed mainly of sulfur, which is vital in easing inflammation and pain associated with arthritis and gout.
Finally, isoflavones derived from soy also seem to be a favorite for those suffering from bone deterioration. Although soy isoflavones cannot reverse the process, they certainly appear effective in halting and preventing future loss.
While many of the supplements mentioned herein are beneficial in easing the symptoms associated with heart disease, memory impairment and bone degeneration, their most important role lies in preventing these disease states. Daily supplementation of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, as well as regular exercise and a healthy diet are integral to a long and healthy life.