August 27, 2007
CORVALLIS, Ore.—Almost half of the elderly people in developed countries—including the United States—have inadequate nutritional intake, increasing their vulnerability to arange of degenerative diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease (CVD). Researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, Corvallis, said there are a range of factors contributing to malnutrition, including a decline in appetite, malabsorption, gastrointestinal upset associated with many drugs and increasing demand for particular nutrients. “Cellular antioxidant status and stress response enzymes naturally decline with age, even in healthy individuals,” said Tony Hagen, co-author of the study, which appeared in Pharmacological Research (2007; 55:199-206). “There is also an age-related increase in damaging oxidant production, and mitochondrial and nuclear oxidative DNA damage.” Among the particular nutrients called out by the researchers as important to heart health in the elderly were long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C and B vitamins such as folic acid; they also cited the range of polyphenols found in fruits, vegetables and legumes.
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