Meta: When taking care of elderly’s health, nutrition is the most essential factor. For the good health, here is nutrition for seniors: dietary supplements for mental disorders
A protein supplement or oral nutritional supplement is a hyper-energetic and high protein nutrient mixture that can be presented in different tastes and textures. The amount of nutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) differs for each supplement and these nutrients are also accompanied by vitamins and minerals. Oral nutritional supplements can be found in pharmacies and are reimbursed as part of the treatment of malnutrition in the elderly. They intervene in the malnutrition’s management of the elderly after having tried natural fortification.
Are dietary supplements useful for the elderly?
They offer micronutrient products for sale over the counter in the pharmacy and supermarkets. A study by the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences in 2006 shows that older people aged 55 and over-consume almost 60% of dietary supplements for mental disorders without knowing what they are taking.
The decision in favor of dietary supplements is not dependent on a proven deficiency in a nutrient. It is driven by the desire to counteract the increasing likelihood of illness in old age in the simplest way. For a long time, it applied to the dosages of the ingredients in dietary supplements and still applies to their composition. Products often contain 20 or more individual substances.
The individual substances that are harmless and health-promoting for years have been offered in high doses. They fall into disrepute for being harmful to health. Well-known examples include vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Even with high-dose vitamin C, which is touted as immune-strengthening, health-damaging effects are possible (meta-analysis of the University of Copenhagen, 2007).
The continued use of preparations with added iron can promote the development of various diseases. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BFR) has been calling for iron as a dietary supplement and food additive to be abandoned entirely since 2004 (Statement No. 016/2009 of March 2, 2009). An announced EU-wide regulation on valid maximum amounts for vitamins and minerals is still a long time coming. One can be skeptical that the planned EU regulation of the composition of food supplements has already been successfully torpedoed.
What types of high protein nutritional supplements are there on the market?
There are various types of supplements marketed under various brands. Below, we summarize these different types and their characteristics. They also come with associated advantages and disadvantages.
The supplements of this type, in the form of cream, are the richest energetically. People find them in different flavors: vanilla, coffee, or chocolate, although some brands of supplements offer original flavors such as lemon meringue pie or strawberry biscuit. We can find some variants without fiber or lactose for intolerant and sugar-free diabetics. These supplements are available in the form of a 200ml jar in pharmacies.
– Pros: This supplement contains about the same number of calories that a meal should provide for the equivalent in the quantity of a dessert cream. Its higher protein intake allows the malnourished elderly to have a guaranteed protein intake.
– Cons: Although this supplement provides more energy and protein than the others, it is also harmful for digestion. It may not be suitable for some elderly people who would be full by eating a small amount. The creamy texture can also be heavy to consume. Being a milk product, its consumption and conservation imply certain rules of hygiene. And it must be stored in the fridge after opening and must be consumed during the day.
These supplements have a significant caloric intake unlike creams with a large range of tastes (neutral taste, coffee, red fruits, pineapple, and tropical ginger). They also find them in a fiber-free, lactose-free, or sugar-free version. These supplements are available in bottles of 125ml, 200ml, or 300ml.
– Pros: This supplement contains a significant amount of energy and provides the proteins necessary for the elderly. Its liquid format and neutral taste allow it to be incorporated into various preparations, sweet, such as soup. For those with a sweet tooth, it can be frozen to make ice cream or used to prepare for making rice pudding.
– Cons: Some people dislike dairy products and will not accept this supplement. Being a milk product, its consumption and conservation imply certain hygienic rules. It must be stored in the fridge after opening and must be consumed during the day.
Ready-to-eat preparations can be found on the market in the form of a soup or a mixed prepared dish. These preparations are to be reheated and eaten directly.
– Pros: For people with little appetite, this supplement can be consumed as a replacement for a mixed dish or soup. They make it possible to guarantee a certain caloric intake. Besides, these supplements can be stored for a long time and be consumed occasionally.
– Cons: The mixed texture is not very appetizing for people who are used to eating normal texture. It predisposes this supplement to people with a mixed texture. The taste is also quite strong, which may not suit some.
Protein powder supplements
More the supplements to consume directly, there are also powders to dilute or to incorporate in preparations. Odorless and tasteless, we can use it in both savory preparations.
– Pros: For people who have the familiar food consumption but suffer from infections, this supplement makes it possible to provide an enormous amount of protein without modifying eating habits.
– Cons: These powders provide only proteins. The elderly must have sufficient spontaneous food consumption to cover their dietary needs.
Essential Vitamins for Elders
Of course, all vitamins and trace elements are just as important in old age as they are in youth. From the age of 55 onwards, some are more important than others. Also, some vitamins depend on other vitamins, on certain fats or trace elements. You can only take action if everything is fine.
The perfect diet and the right combination of vitamins for seniors are like a mosaic. If only one piece of the mosaic is missing, the picture is incomplete. It happens frequently with older people in particular, as studies have shown that many of them suffer from vitamin deficiencies. The following vitamins are important:
– Vitamin A promotes healthy digestion
– Vitamin C protects against infections
– Vitamin B1 promotes the ability to concentrate and the memory
– Vitamin B12 can prevent dementia
– Folic acid (vitamin B9) lowers the risk of stroke
It gives the most vitamins for seniors and nutritional supplements in tablet form. However, some people find it difficult to swallow pills. Older people in particular sometimes suffer from swallowing problems. Fortunately, there is now a wide selection of products to drink.
Some nutritional supplements are available for drinking bottles. But it can dissolve some effervescent tablets or powders in water. If there is no alternative to tablets, tablet crushers help to crush the preparation at home and administer it accordingly.
All-rounder omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in oily fish. Fish oil supplements are mostly available on the market, but there are also alternatives made from herbal products, such as vitamin B from algae or chia seeds. Studies have shown that these preparations have anti-inflammatory properties. It is why they are used for joint pain and rheumatic diseases.
The fatty acids also have a positive effect on blood lipid levels, which lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases. And finally, a positive influence on brain performance is suspected. A sufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids is said to promote intellectual performance and reduce the risk of developing dementia.
The supply of the minerals calcium, iron, and zinc is often unsatisfactory in the elderly.
People mainly find iron and zinc in meat. But it is rarely on the menu for chewing problems. Because of the often restricted gastric acid production, the meat protein can only be broken down insufficiently. As a result, the minerals iron and zinc cannot be sufficiently absorbed.
Iron deficiency leads to tiredness and fatigue, and zinc deficiency impairs protein metabolism. It can lead to an additional decrease in muscle mass. Zinc deficiency also affects the immune function, impairs the sense of taste and smell, and decreases appetite. The supply situation of the elderly with vitamin D is critical.
In older people, the skin can no longer produce the amount of vitamin D. Therefore, vitamin D supplementation is now generally recommended for older people. A deficient supply of vitamin D leads to impaired absorption of calcium, which increases the risk of osteoporosis even more.
We consider vitamin B6 a critical vitamin in the elderly. There is also often a vitamin B12 deficiency because of insufficient gastric acid production, and the associated gastric mucosal inflammation. The intrinsic factor required for the absorption of vitamin B12 cannot be sufficiently formed in the gastric mucosa. The classic vitamin B12 deficiency symptom rarely occurs. Neuropsychiatric symptoms such as concentration disorders and a depressive mood are observed more frequently with vitamin B12 deficiency.
Because of a frequently combined deficit of folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, it often increases the blood levels of homocysteine in older people. Nowadays, elevated homocysteine levels are an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis. They arise from a lack of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid. Therefore, combination preparations of these vitamins are often recommended for older people.