It's a fact: Everyone is getting older—rapidly. By 2030, as much as 20 percent of America’s population will be made up of people 65 and older, according to data presented by Sharon Gerdes of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. For Japan, the estimate is 30 percent. Whether you’re concerned about aging parents or if you are the one facing your twilight years, you’ve got four things on your mind—staying active, independent, mentally sharp and as wrinkle free as possible.
If one theme emerged from SupplySide West in Vegas last week, it was antiaging. From new nutricosmetic ingredients to reduce wrinkles, to new research on bone health, to the myriad ingredients and products promising better cognitive health as we age, everyone is trying to turn back the clock. And we thank them for their hard work.
Wrinkles, aches and “senior moments” may be an inevitable part of life, but didn’t Dylan Thomas beseech of us to “not go quiet into that good night,” but to “rage against the dying of the light?” Perhaps Thomas would not have counted himself among the contingent of American consumers who believe in “aging gracefully.”
Still, with reports from the National Osteoporosis Foundation that one in two women and up to one in four men will develop an osteoporosis-related fracture in their remaining lifetime, it’s impossible not to take healthy aging seriously.
Ingredients for bone and muscle building
The latest in bone and muscle health is actually an old, familiar face: protein. Apparently, we’re either not getting enough or getting too much all at once. The body can only assimilate 20 to 30 grams of protein at a time, so your meals should ideally consist of at least 25 grams per sitting, Gerdes said. Sarcopenia, or muscle wasting, affects us all as we age. After age 40, we will lose muscle mass at a rate of up to 1 percent per year, unless we get enough protein and engage in enough exercise to mitigate the damage.
And when it comes to bone health, protein is the ingredient of the day yet again. Our bones are 22 percent protein by weight and a whopping 50 percent protein by volume, explained Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, RD, department chair of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at Florida State University. Protein provides the bulk constituent of bone in which critical minerals like magnesium, zinc, calcium and iron are incorporated. In other words, you can take all the calcium-magnesium supps you can stomach, but without enough protein your bones won’t get the benefit.
Keep your wits about you
At the show, AIDP unveiled a new memory-support supplement called Magtein. Magnesium is an essential player in brain and nervous system functions, but up until now it’s been hard to get adequate levels of magnesium into the brain because it couldn’t cross the blood-brain barrier. “Magtein [or Magnesium L-threonate] is a highly bioavailable magnesium functional ingredient that has shown in recent animal trials to significantly elevate brain levels of magnesium,” said Guosong Liu, director of Tsinghua University’s Center for Learning and Memory, School of Medicine in Beijing. “Magtein’s potential is in the increase of synaptic plasticity that leads to improved recognition memory, spatial working memory and synaptic bouton density,” Liu explained. “It has the potential to benefit those with severe memory loss, but also individuals who might have trouble concentrating or suffer from limited attention spans. It can also help to slow natural memory loss due to aging.”
Wrinkles are probably the least graceful part of aging and the part of the decline that we “rage” against the most rabidly. Osmoprotection—hydration—is the word of the day. Picture a birthday balloon on the day of the party, nice and plump and shiny—that’s what young, healthy, hydrated skin cells are like. Now think of the same balloon a week later—shrunken, wrinkled, sad. That’s what 50-year-old skin cells look like.
Osmoprotective agents keep cells plump and hydrated and young looking for longer, said Shyam Gupta, PhD, of Bioderm Research. The secret, he explained, was in combining saccharides (polyhydroxy compounds) with amino acids. The newest ingredient to bring these kinds of benefits to market is Aloesin. As an osmoprotective agent, aloesin combines with amino acids, L-carnosine, and glutathione to keep your skin cells from shriveling up like sad little birthday balloons.