The population of older adults is currently increasing faster than younger people. The United Nations projects that by 2020 there will be more people in the world over 65 years old than under 5 years old—for the first time in human history. This global trend is also true for the United States in particular. Data from the 2010 Census shows that the 45–54 population grew over 30% in the last 10 years, and now constitutes over 26% of the U.S. population. What this means is that in just a few years approximately one in three Americans will be over age 50.
Increased Micronutrient Needs
Many older adults do not receive recommended amounts of micronutrients from dietary intake alone. There is a wide variety of reasons for this increased nutritional risk, including:
- Total food intake has been shown to progressively decrease with age. Even with this decrease, macronutrient status typically remains in the adequate range. Intake of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), however, often falls below adequate levels.
- The physiological changes of the aging process result in less bioavailability of nutrients by reducing the body’s ability to synthesize, digest, and/or metabolize those nutrients.
- 85% of older adults have at least one chronic disease that affects the absorption, transport, metabolism, and elimination of nutrients.
- Most older adults take one or more prescription medications, which can suppress appetite, increase metabolism, and/or promote malabsorption of nutrients.
- Hospitalization, institutionalization, and/or home care can also interfere with nutrition. It has been estimated that greater than 50% of hospitalized adults 65 years of age or older are malnourished or at risk for becoming malnourished, and that 20–60% of home care patients and 40–85% of nursing home residents are malnourished.
Aside from a high-quality, bioavailable multiple vitamin/mineral complex, the following specific nutrients are particularly important for older and aging adults:
- Vitamin A is required for healthy vision and immune function.
- Vitamin C can prevent oxidative damage and also facilitate the absorption of iron.
- Vitamin D is important in this population because the capacity to synthesize vitamin D in the skin is reduced in older adults.
- Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, and requires adequate biliary and pancreatic function for optimal absorption.
- Vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting, bone health, and the regulation of a variety of enzymatic reactions in the body.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency affects about 30% of people 60 years of age or older. Folate is required for the metabolism of nucleic and amino acids, as well as DNA repair.
- Calcium, together with vitamin D, is crucial in this population to support and maintain bone mass.
- Magnesium is crucial for maintaining healthy muscle function and lean tissue mass, as well as bone mineral content, in older adults.
- Zinc is particularly important in this population because immune function decreases with age, and even a mild zinc deficiency can compromise immune health and function.
Oxylent multivitamin supplement drink not only provides a comprehensive panel of high quality nutrients required for optimal health in older adults, but Oxylent also uniquely offers an effervescent delivery form that offers nearly 100% bioavailability—a crucial consideration for older adults given the prevalence of compromised absorption in this population.
1. [online] http://www.un.org/esa/population/. Accessed 6/30/2011.
2. [online] http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-03.pdf. Accessed 6/30/2011.
3. Marian M, Sacks D. Nutr Clin Pract 2009 24:179–195.
4. Johnson KA, Bernard MA, Funderburg K. Clin Geriatr Med 2002 18:773–799.
5. Toffanello ED, Inelmen EM, Minicuci N, et al. J Nutr Health Aging 2011 15(2):99–103.
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