Like it or not, as we age we are naturally more susceptible to certain symptoms and health conditions. The statistics for higher incidence of things like benign prostate hyperplasia (“BPH”), reduced immune function (“immunosenescence”), osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, skin wrinkles, age-related muscle loss (“sarcopenia”), stiffening of the blood vessels and increased risk of heart disease, vision and hearing loss, tooth decay and even gum disease in senior citizens are astounding. Unfortunately, we cannot prevent aging, but we CAN age well. Here are some common problems that contribute to aging poorly.
Problem 1: Free Radical Damage
Free radicals are unstable, highly reactive atoms that damage our cells. These tend to accumulate with age and can also be created by factors such as exposure to pollution, tobacco smoke, pesticides, alcohol, fried foods, excess stress, etc. According to Dr. Denham Harman “Free radical damage is a major contributor to most age-related degenerative conditions”. Oxidative damage by free radicals has been shown to play a role in problems such as macular degeneration, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease and accelerated aging.
SOLUTION -> Antioxidants are vital in keeping cells and tissues healthy by protecting the body from free-radical damage. In addition to avoiding the triggers mentioned above, it is suggested to increase antioxidant intake through foods and supplements. These could include green food or berry powder blends, turmeric, green tea, vitamins C & E, resveratrol, carotenoids (lutein, beta-carotene), selenium, pycnogenol, alpha lipoic acid, quercetin, etc.
Problem 2: Nutrient Depletion
As we age, production and absorption of certain nutrients tend to decline in the body. These include collagen, CoQ10, and Vitamin B12 to name a few.
Seniors who are protein deficient tend to lose muscle, have increased risk of osteoporisis, cardiovascular disease, compromised immune function and low energy. Collagen is the key structural protein in the body, making up ¼ of total protein. It is found in cartilage, ligaments, skin, bones, tendons, muscle, teeth, intestines, nails, eyes, blood vessels and hair! Its production begins to decrease by roughly 1% per year after the age of 20. Collagen improves skin elasticity and firmness, helps rebuild damaged joint cartilage and blood vessels and slows down the process of age-related muscle loss.
SOLUTION: Eat more protein. To slow loss of muscle, strength and mass (sarcopenia), seniors are advised to aim for 1-1.2g/kg or .45-.5g/lb daily. Consider a quality collagen supplement as a source of protein. Tip: Creatine supplementation in seniors is also helpful for reducing age related muscle loss in addition to helping to protect the brain and support heart health.
Our stores of CoQ10 diminish with age and production is in rapid decline by the age of 40. This is associated with a decrease in muscle strength, fatigue, gum integrity and cognitive sharpness, in addition to an increased risk of heart disease. CoQ10 is an antioxidant and is beneficial in postponing aging and preventing age-related diseases.
SOLUTION: Consider a CoQ10 supplement in it’s active form, “ubiquinol”.
Due to deficiencies in stomach acid and “intrinsic factor”, seniors have a reduced ability to absorb vitamin B12, and certain minerals. Vitamin B12 is important for energy production, nervous system function, supporting memory and learning, counteracting depression, slowing cognitive decline that comes with aging and protecting the heart.
SOLUTION: The methylcobalamin form of this vitamin is highly bioavailable and does not require “intrinsic factor”. It is readily absorbed directly into the blood, bypassing digestion.
Problem 3: Poor Gut Health & Inflammation
Aging contributes to impairments of digestive function and nutrient absorption. This means that the food we eat is no longer being broken down as efficiently into the nutrients we need. Not only does the body’s production of digestive enzymes and stomach acid decline as we age, but after the age of 50 the “microflora” profile in our intestines begin to reduce. In fact, studies have found that people over the age of 60 have around 1000-fold fewer friendly bacteria in their gut than younger people. This can lead to an increased risk of infection or overgrowth, constipation, malabsorption and inflammation in the gut, which can then spread and negatively affect other areas in the body such as the joints, heart and brain.
SOLUTION: Seniors are advised to look for a high ratio of Bifidobacterium in a probiotic supplement as it helps replenish the bacteria species that are most affected by ageing. It is also recommended that people over the age of 35 take a daily digestive enzyme supplement (with HCl if necessary). In addition, aim for at least 30g of fiber intake daily for proper elimination and consider Omega 3 fish oils, which help manage inflammation and support brain, joint and heart.
Problem 4: Malnutrition
As we age, our metabolism slows down which means we can gain weight by eating fewer calories than before. This means it is even more important to make every bite count by choosing highly nutritious foods.
SOLUTION: Avoid high-sugar, processed, hydrogenated or refined foods and excess animal products. Instead focus on choosing natural, whole, alkalizing, anti-inflammatory and organic ingredients as much as possible. Also, take a quality multivitamin +D3 to fill in nutritional gaps.
Other tips include: Get regular daily exercise and include a few sessions of resistance training per week. Manage stress and ensure quality sleep. Drink plenty of water. Engage your brain with mentally stimulating activity. Maintain an active social life and a positive attitude. Get regular checkups. Ask about specific natural supplements to target various concerns.
-This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach –