An aging population of 2.1 billion in 2050
The world population is aging. If people aged 60 or over represents 13% of the population in 2019, it is forecast that this population will increase to 22% in 2050. The number will double at almost 2.1 billion! According to the latest United Nations world population prospects, people aged 80 and over will triple by 2050 to reach 426 million1.
In 2050, there will be more elderly people than children and teenagers. The life expectancy will be more than 75 years old.
This elderly population will become a tremendous consumer potential to target: 80% of them belonging to developed countries. That will bring new opportunities to health and nutrition stakeholders, provided they understand senior’s new needs and answer to their specific health and nutrition requirements.
Stay healthy for later life stages
Today, consumers are more concerned about age-related health issues, particularly cognitive, mental health and chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart conditions and mobility (muscles, bones or joint disease and pains). Consumers are aware that age increases chronic disease risks and health conditions. For instance, in 2045, it is estimated that 11% of adults will be diabetic2 and 22% of people will be obese according to recent scientific studies3.
People seek to stay healthy as long as possible, even at an old age with a new holistic approach comprising diets, physical and mental health.
The governments’ major challenge is to prevent disability and reduce growing health costs. Hence, they are strongly involved in new regulations and health campaigns to slot their population in a new prevention era.
How milk ingredients are the perfect allies for senior’s health and nutrition
Maintain mobility as long as possible
Two age-related diseases can affect senior population and way of life though their mobility, sarcopenia and osteoporosis.
Sarcopenia is a syndrome characterized by progressive and generalized loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength with a risk of adverse outcomes such as physical disability. Even with a conservative estimate of prevalence, sarcopenia touches 50 million people today or 30% of elderly people aged 60 years and over, to reach 200 million in the next 40 years. Muscle loss can be prevented with healthy diet and exercising. A supplementation of 1 to 1.5g of protein/kg/day is recommended to maintain elderly individuals’ muscle mass. The growing nutritional potential of dairy protein because of its abundance in all of the essential amino acids has distinguished it as a first-choice ingredient for development in senior nutrition.
If bone capital is created during growth (0-20 years old), bone mass begins to decrease over 50, and might become osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease, in the long run. Bone health is crucial for people aged 50 and over, particularly post-menopausal women, because the hormonal processes of menopause are prone to trigger bone insufficiency, osteopenia. To support senior bone health, calcium supplementation is often used. Milk components can be very interesting to enhance elderly bone health. Milk calcium is known to be the highest bioavailable calcium. Complemented with casein phospho-peptides (CPP), calcium’s bioavailability is increased. Casein phospho-peptides are bioactive milk peptides that have the ability to bind calcium and keep it soluble and bioavailable. Using CPP supplementation with calcium allows for reduced bone mass destruction among seniors.
Enhance the elderly’s immune system with colostrum and lactoferrin
Numerous changes occur in the immune system with advancing age, with a decline in immune cell growth and differentiation, likely contributing to the decrease of the immune response among the elderly, making them more vulnerable to diseases and infections. Two dairy ingredients, Colostrum and Lactoferrin, can particularly target the elderly’s immune health requirements.
Lactoferrin has several benefits such as limiting infections (antimicrobial and antiviral activities) and stimulating the whole immune system. Numerous scientific studies have shown the positive action of Bovine Lactoferrin on the immune system by enhancing both innate and adaptive response.5 Lactoferrin also allows the immune system to return to a balanced state more quickly after an infection.6
Colostrum is naturally rich in Immuno-stimulating factors such as immunoglobulin (IgG, IgA), Polypeptide Rich Proline (PRP), Lactoferrin, lacto peroxidase and growth factors.
IgGs are part of a specific immunity and contribute to the immune system’s reinforcement. Colostrum provides various growth factors that are proven to activate cell regeneration4 and therefore help the body recover after an infection.
With its high concentration of IgG, (20% or 30% active IgG guaranteed) and a low-heat process to keep Immunoglobulins active, Colostrum enables elderly individuals to enhance their immune health.
Delayed onset of chronic diseast such as type 2 diabetes
The incidence of type 2-diabetes increases with age. This chronic disease usually appears around age 40 and over and is diagnosed at an average age close to 65 years. The incidence is most prevalent between 75 and 79 years. Prevention is possible to delay the onset of type 2 diabetes: The first step is often a higher blood sugar than normal during several years, called impaired glucose intolerance or prediabetes, which is reversible. Prediabetes, and by extension type 2 diabetes, may be avoided by lifestyle changes such as: change in eating habits, exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight, combined with dietary supplementation or medication if necessary.
Milk product consumption and particularly whey proteins have been known for a long time to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Milk protein hydrolysate, with an active dipeptide AP, inhibitor of the alpha glucosidase, a digestive enzyme hydrolyses polysaccharides, allow sugar absorption. Specifically designed for people with high blood sugar, this helps manage blood sugar by lowering blood sugar levels after meals with proven efficacy.
Ward off age-related chronic diseases by managing stress
With increasing age, stress and anxiety troubles become ever more deleterious to health and cognition. However, among senior health disorders, anxiety is often put aside. The prevalence of clinically significant anxiety symptoms ranges from 15% to 56% in older adults. Psychosocial and neurobiological changes, such as disability, isolation, falling fear and dysfunctions in the aging central nervous system, could partially explain this growth of stress in elderly people and particularly chronic anxiety. Moreover, stress can accelerate aging cognitive decline. With chronic stress, cortisol stays at high levels and hardly comes back to balance. Some research suggests that reducing the biological stress response, like cortisol, might be one treatment target for cognitive improvement in late-life anxiety disorders.* In that context, natural bioactive is a real alternative solution to help seniors decrease their worry. It particularly helps to regulate chronic stress symptoms with proven efficacy shown in nine clinical studies.
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2. WHO Global report on diabetes, 2016
3. Sartorius et al. Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1700