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As people age, their body undergoes permanent changes, which can lead to health issues. Lack of energy, joint discomfort, memory problems, and decreased appetite tend to increase with age, and all these factors can result in nutritional deficiencies that affect health and well-being. To age healthily, it is recommended to adopt good food habits to provide the body with all the necessary nutrients.

The ‘Silver Economy’ and health nutrition

Between 2010 and 2025, the number of individuals aged over 55 will have increased by 59% in France [6]. As a result, 1 in 2 French citizens will be over 50 years old. At the same time, an increasing proportion of this segment will be over 70 years old and fall into the senior category. Baby boomers are now outnumbering other generations. Since 2016, Nouvelle-Aquitaine has become the ‘oldest’ region in France. It is estimated that by 2030, over a third of its population will be 60 years or older [7]. Nouvelle-Aquitaine offers a promising opportunity for the food supplements market compared to other regions in France. Similarly, on the international front, the prospect of a 36.7% proportion of South Koreans aged 65 and older by 2044 suggests significant potential in the export market, positioning South Korea as the world’s most aged nation, surpassing even Japan. This opens up new avenues for products focused on the health and well-being of seniors. [8]

Different expectations among seniors

Beyond the increasing number of seniors, brands are also interested in their purchasing power, which is estimated to be 30% higher compared to other generations [6]. Thus, there are approximately 120 billion euros in disposable income available for senior consumption. However, seniors do not all have the same expectations. Broadly speaking, they can be divided into at least 3 categories [6]: those aged 60-69, fans of practical, quality, and branded products; those aged 70-79, seeking easy-to-use products and services; and those over 80, prioritizing safety and simplicity.

Senior nutrition encompasses various realities and market segments, such as functional and dietary foods, food supplements, food products in dining, medical nutrition, and finally, meals at home [3]. Aware of the potential in such a market, specialized brands seek to establish a presence.

The most common mineral deficiencies among seniors

Loss of appetite, early satiety, reduced taste, or swallowing problem age-related discomforts are numerous. Oral and dental health issues can also hinder a healthy diet, as they may lead to the avoidance of certain foods that are difficult to chew or digest.

Elderly individuals often have specific dietary deficiencies in terms of minerals and vitamins. Regarding minerals, many seniors suffer from a lack of calcium, leading to weakened bones. Calcium food supplements provide an important source for bone strengthening. Deficiencies in zinc and iron are also common.

Vitamin deficiencies

In terms of vitamins, seniors often lack vitamin B9, also known as folic acid. Vitamin B9 can be found in poultry giblets, lamb liver, or, for example, cooked legumes. Vitamin B12 deficiency is also very common, as the ability to absorb this vitamin decreases with age. The only solution to counter it is to increase vitamin B12 intake. The most easily absorbed form of vitamin B12 is methylcobalamin.

Seniors also have higher vitamin C requirements because their ability to absorb nutrients can decrease due to changes in the digestive system. Moreover, some seniors may have a limited intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are important sources of vitamin C. This may be due to chewing or digestion issues or food preferences. In addition to contributing to the normal functioning of the immune system, this vitamin also helps protect cells from oxidative stress.

Finally, concerning vitamins, a lack of vitamin D is also very common among the elderly. It plays a crucial role in maintaining normal bone health.

Omega-3, essential fatty acids

EPA and DHA, what do they contribute to?

These fatty acids are naturally present in wild fish rich in omega-3, especially in mackerel, sardines, and krill oil. They contribute to normal cardiac function when consumed.

  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function, normal vision, and normal blood triglyceride levels, provided there is EPA in addition.
  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA contribute to the normal functioning of the heart and the maintenance of normal blood pressure [2]

These EPA and DHA fatty acids play an essential role in maintaining optimal health, making them particularly relevant in the production of food supplements for seniors.

Protein deficiencies

As we age, bone demineralization intensifies, and muscle loss accelerates. While vitamin D also contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle function, it may not be sufficient. Indeed, the primary fuel for muscles is proteins. To address this muscle loss, the intake of protein food supplements in powder form, such as whey [3], helps to supplement protein intake.

Preferred food supplements for seniors

Many seniors opt for food supplements that combine several ingredients, such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D3 and K2. There are also synergistic formulas that include various trace elements and vitamins.

For joint health, seniors prefer dietary supplements containing boswellia [4]. Boswellia has significant potential in supporting digestive and joint conditions. Several studies have shown that supplementation with boswellia in patients with knee osteoarthritis reduced the intensity of discomfort and improved their physical capabilities [5] .

Aging can also lead to cognitive impairments, such as memory loss or concentration difficulties. To maintain cognitive function, certain nutritional elements, including B-group vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, and copper, contribute to the proper functioning of the nervous system and support normal psychological functions.

To boost brain function, there are food supplements that contain extracts of ginseng (Panax ginseng) and extracts of rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), which help reduce fatigue caused by stress and support normal cognitive function.

Food supplements for firmer skin

Even though aging is a natural physiological process that affects the functioning of the body, it is important not to underestimate its impact on physical appearance too. This includes addressing concerns related to wrinkles, blemishes, and other changes in skin texture.

The skin is also impacted by the aging process. Skin deterioration is primarily associated with the gradual decrease in the production of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin. Additionally, oxidative stress, a result of pollution, stress, UV exposure, and aging, accelerates the aging process. To reduce the signs of aging, collagen supplementation is often used.

Maintaining a balanced diet and considering appropriate food supplements to support the health and well-being of seniors is essential.

At Elitepharm Laboratoires, we understand the importance of developing formulas tailored to the well-being of seniors. With our expertise as a contract manufacturer, we are the trusted partner you can rely on to bring your food supplement innovations to life.

[1] EU Register of nutrition and health claims made on foods

[2] Jean-Marie BOURRE, Relations entre acides gras oméga‐3, oméga‐9, structures et fonctions du cerveau. Le point sur les dernières données : enjeux et nouvelles synergies de la recherche, NUTRITION

[3] Low Protein Intake Is Associated with Frailty in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies.

[4] Effectiveness of Boswellia and Boswellia extract for osteoarthritis patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2020.

[5] Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis.

[6] « Les seniors et leur alimentation : un marché s’ouvre », Stéphane Gouin, Agrocampus Ouest

[7] En Nouvelle-Aquitaine, des personnes âgées dépendantes toujours plus nombreuses d’ici 2030, Insee

[8] Le courrier du Vietnam 2022, la république de Corée deviendrait le pays le plus âgé du monde en 2044, International, société.

To discuss your specific food supplement needs for seniors, please don’t hesitate to contact us