Health & Nutrition

Healthy Ageing – Nutrition for Seniors

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), 1 in 6 people will be aged 60 years or above by 2030. At this time, the share of the population aged 60 years and over will increase from 1 billion in 2020 to 1.4 billion20. As the global senior population grows, the focus on longevity is shifting towards healthy ageing. Healthy ageing can be considered as “living a meaningful lifespan without chronic diseases and with intact physical and mental function”10. Adequate diet and nutritional status are important health determinants for quality life at this stage11.

Prevention of Sarcopenia

There is often a progressive decline in skeletal muscle mass and function, a condition known as sarcopenia in the elderly19. Risk factors for sarcopenia include age, malnutrition, and physical inactivity1. Studies have shown that serum levels of vitamin D in older people are independently related to the loss of muscle mass and muscle strength decline, suggesting that seniors with vitamin D deficiency are prone to develop sarcopenia6,7. Selenium, magnesium, and omega 3 fatty acids have been studied as supplements in clinical trials and the diet, and appear to demonstrate a potential association with physical activity and muscle performance in older individuals5. Moreover, protein supplementation improves muscle strength and muscle function in ageing adults12 and it is suggested that patients with sarcopenia who are unsuccessful in meeting protein needs through diet modifications alone can consider a supplement with protein1.

Heart Health

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality globally and it is known that the risk factors increase with age21. Omega-3 fatty acids are now generally recognized as potentially beneficial for optimal function of the cardiovascular system18. Omega-3 fatty acids exert anti-inflammatory properties through different mechanisms15. Long-term prospective cohort studies consistently demonstrate an association between higher intakes of fish, fatty fish, and marine omega-3 fatty acids (EPA + DHA) would lower the risk of developing CVD, especially coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction, and cardiovascular mortality in the general population8.

Cognitive Health

Cognition is a series of processes involved in attention, language, learning, memory, and perception. For these processes to take place, the brain’s structure and function need to be intact and preserved. Indeed, ageing is one of the main risk factors for neurodegenerative conditions14. Several pieces of evidence suggested a healthy diet or nutrition may be one of these preventive strategies for dementia and cognitive decline2,9,13,17. Particularly B vitamins, flavonoids, and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) help prevent or mitigate the degenerative processes associated with age3,4,14.

In the long run,

Nutrition is a key component to promote healthy and functional living. The most effective preventive efforts to promote good nutrition for healthier ageing may need to start ahead of age-related changes in physiology and function, including younger adulthood and at the retirement transition16. In DPO International, we are honoured to be in partnership with Hexagon to bring you a wide range of ingredients choices that will elevate the nutritional quality of your food and beverage products.


1Beasley, J., Shikany, J., & Thomson, C. (2013). The Role of Dietary Protein Intake in the Prevention of Sarcopenia of Aging. Nutrition In Clinical Practice, 28(6), 684-690.

2Chen, X., Maguire, B., Brodaty, H., & O’Leary, F. (2019). Dietary Patterns and Cognitive Health in Older Adults: A Systematic Review. Journal Of Alzheimer’s Disease67(2), 583-619.

3Cremonini, A., Caffa, I., Cea, M., Nencioni, A., Odetti, P., & Monacelli, F. (2019). Nutrients in the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. Oxidative Medicine And Cellular Longevity2019, 1-20.

4Dodd, G., Williams, C., Butler, L., & Spencer, J. (2019). Acute effects of flavonoid-rich blueberry on cognitive and vascular function in healthy older adults. Nutrition And Healthy Aging5(2), 119-132.

5Ganapathy, A., & Nieves, J. (2020). Nutrition and Sarcopenia—What Do We Know?. Nutrients, 12(6), 1755.

6Houston, D., Tooze, J., Hausman, D., Johnson, M., Nicklas, B., & Miller, M. et al. (2011). Change in 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Physical Performance in Older Adults. The Journals Of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences And Medical Sciences, 66A(4), 430-436.

7Huo, Y., Suriyaarachchi, P., Gomez, F., Curcio, C., Boersma, D., & Muir, S. et al. (2015). Phenotype of Osteosarcopenia in Older Individuals With a History of Falling. Journal Of The American Medical Directors Association, 16(4), 290-295.

8Innes, J., & Calder, P. (2020). Marine Omega-3 (N-3) Fatty Acids for Cardiovascular Health: An Update for 2020. International Journal Of Molecular Sciences21(4), 1362.

9Karstens, A., Tussing-Humphreys, L., Zhan, L., Rajendran, N., Cohen, J., & Dion, C. et al. (2019). Associations of the Mediterranean diet with cognitive and neuroimaging phenotypes of dementia in healthy older adults. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition109(2), 361-368.

10Lai, H., de Oliveira Otto, M., Lemaitre, R., McKnight, B., Song, X., & King, I. et al. (2018). Serial circulating omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and healthy ageing among older adults in the Cardiovascular Health Study: prospective cohort study. BMJ, k4067.

11Madeira, T., Peixoto-Plácido, C., Goulão, B., Mendonça, N., Alarcão, V., & Santos, N. et al. (2016). National survey of the Portuguese elderly nutritional status: study protocol. BMC Geriatrics, 16(1).

12Malafarina, V., Uriz-Otano, F., Iniesta, R., & Gil-Guerrero, L. (2013). Effectiveness of Nutritional Supplementation on Muscle Mass in Treatment of Sarcopenia in Old Age: A Systematic Review. Journal Of The American Medical Directors Association, 14(1), 10-17.

13Mazza, E., Fava, A., Ferro, Y., Rotundo, S., Romeo, S., & Bosco, D. et al. (2018). Effect of the replacement of dietary vegetable oils with a low dose of extravirgin olive oil in the Mediterranean Diet on cognitive functions in the elderly. Journal Of Translational Medicine16(1).

14Melzer, T., Manosso, L., Yau, S., Gil-Mohapel, J., & Brocardo, P. (2021). In Pursuit of Healthy Aging: Effects of Nutrition on Brain Function. International Journal Of Molecular Sciences22(9), 5026.

15Mohebi-Nejad, A., & Bikdeli, B. (2014). Omega-3 supplements and cardiovascular diseases. Tanaffos, 13(1), 6–14.

16Robinson, S. (2017). Improving nutrition to support healthy ageing: what are the opportunities for intervention?. Proceedings Of The Nutrition Society77(3), 257-264.

17Soldevila-Domenech, N., Boronat, A., Langohr, K., & de la Torre, R. (2019). N-of-1 Clinical Trials in Nutritional Interventions Directed at Improving Cognitive Function. Frontiers In Nutrition6.

18Úbeda, N., Achón, M., & Varela-Moreiras, G. (2012). Omega 3 fatty acids in the elderly. British Journal of Nutrition, 107(S2), S137-S151.

19Uchitomi, R., Oyabu, M., & Kamei, Y. (2020). Vitamin D and Sarcopenia: Potential of Vitamin D Supplementation in Sarcopenia Prevention and Treatment. Nutrients, 12(10), 3189.

20World Health Organisation. (2021a). Ageing and health.

21World Health Organisation. (2021b). Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).