How the healthy aging marketplace is faring post-pandemic and what new trends are emerging.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2030, one in six people will be over age 60. This means that the population for this demographic will increase from 1 billion in 2020 to 1.4 billion. And by 2050, said WHO, that number will double to 2.1 billion. Individuals who are 80 and older are expected to triple in number between 2020 and 2050, reaching 426 million.1,2
With the population living longer, healthy aging is a topic that many are interested in. But are Baby Boomers the only ones thinking about this or are other generations also interested? What’s the best diet for those looking to age healthfully? Which key ingredients or products might promote better health as individuals age? And which lifestyle practices best support healthy aging?
Lifestyle and Healthy Aging
Dr. Mindy Pelz, author of Fast Like a Girl and The Menopause Reset, stated that she likes to see patients incorporating lots of polyphenol-rich foods in their diets. “Polyphenols protect your mitochondria—the power plants of your cells—from oxidative stress, which keeps them young and allows them to produce a lot more energy,” she noted. “The stronger your mitochondria, the less fatigue and brain fog you’ll experience in daily life,” said Dr. Pelz. “Robust mitochondria are especially important as you age—which is why I love eating lots of mitochondria-protecting polyphenols.”
Polyphenols are found in fresh fruits, especially berries, leafy greens, fresh herbs and spices—ginger and turmeric in particular—and in dark chocolate, coffee, red wine and olive oil. “Incorporate these foods into your diet to naturally slow aging,” said Dr. Pelz.
Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum is the author of From Fatigued to Fantastic. His lifestyle suggestions for healthy aging are as follows, “Good diet, adequate sleep, going for walks in the sunshine, and choosing to pay attention to those things that feel good.”
For Dr. Seema Bonney of the Anti-Aging & Longevity Center of Philadelphia, the focus is on a marathon-type mindset, not a sprint, when it comes to aging healthfully. “It’s about doing most of the things right, most of the time that help to repair your DNA,” said Dr. Bonney, and fewer of the things that damage it. Eating whole foods, close to the source and as fresh as possible is a good first step. She also recommends eating lots of proteins and plant-based foods, and avoiding processed foods. Dr. Bonney also recommends mixing in intermittent fasting to promote better health.
“Movement is essential for the body and the brain to function optimally,” Dr. Bonney said. “Make a plan to do a few HIIT sessions each week intermixed with strength training.” Sleep too, is a great asset to better health. “Sleep is when the body repairs and regenerates, so aim to get seven to nine hours of high-quality sleep each night,” she said. “And lastly, remember stress will actually kill you, so keep those cortisol levels as low as possible. Cortisol is your fight or flight hormone and damages tissues extensively,” she explained. Meditation or other stress-combatting practices are an important part of healthy aging.
Best Diet(s) for Healthy Aging
Dr. Bonney believes that the Mediterranean diet is best for individuals who want to age healthfully. “Many like the keto diet, but when I re-evaluate patients before and after an extended keto diet, many of their lipid panels go awry, they have micronutrient deficiencies, and sometimes they don’t even feel as good,” she said. “Short periods on keto are fine, but what we need to do is adopt lifestyles, not fad diets.”
When asked whether she believes there is one “best diet” for healthy aging, Dr. Pelz recommends one that incorporates regular fasting. “The first thing I’d say is that whatever your current diet, you can make it better by changing when you eat. If you eat the exact same food you eat now, but keep all your meals within an eight-hour eating window every day—say, between noon and 8 p.m.—you’ll do wonders for keeping your body and brain young,” Dr. Pelz stated.
For patients who want to change the foods consumed, Dr. Pelz recommends a low-carb diet. “Eating low-carb changes your metabolism in a way that protects your cells from inflammation and oxidative stress, which are two of the main drivers of aging,” she said. She suggests that patients limit their carbohydrate intake to under 100 grams per day. Also, she recommends eating lots of healthy fats—those from fish, avocado, grass-fed meat, nut butters, olive oil—green vegetables and animal proteins. “For your carbs, choose whole-food options like beans and squashes,” she stated.
Dr. Teitelbaum eschews the need for a particular diet. When asked if there was one “best diet” for healthy aging, he replied, “Of course not. No more than I believe that there is a single shoe size that fits everybody best at a given age. Our individuality does not change just because we get older,” he said. “Using common sense, people should see what diet feels best for them.”
Key Ingredients Which May Support Healthy Aging
Three products by EuroMedica top the list of healthy aging recommendations that Dr. Teitelbaum recommends to patients. These are all products he takes himself. Firstly, CuraPro is a highly absorbed curcumin which is equal to more than 500 pills of turmeric, Dr. Teitelbaum said. He believes the product decreases cancer risks and balances out excessive inflammation in the body. Secondly, “I think everybody should also be on a good multivitamin high in B vitamins and magnesium.” He likes the Essentials Multivitamin tablets. Thirdly, “For those looking for omega-3 support—good for most Americans—I recommend EurOmega 3. This vectorized omega-3 supplies the same effects as seven large fish oil pills in one small pill—without fish oil burps,” Dr. Teitelbaum stated.
Dr. Bonney, too, noted the negative impact of inflammation in the body. She stated that sustained inflammation is a stressor, and she too, pointed to curcumin as an important ingredient. “There are some herbal products that have shown benefit in terms of reducing inflammation. Curcumin for example—either as a whole root or a supplement taken 500 mg twice a day—has been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory,” she noted. “Make sure to take it with Bioperine, which is found in black pepper.” Likewise, oleic acids—found in fish oils—are also anti-inflammatory. These can “help give us those essential fatty acids we need to keep our brains healthy as well,” Dr. Bonney said. She also recommends using vitamin D supplements.
At Massachusetts-based American River Nutrition, Anne Trias is the product director. She stated that the company is excited about the results that its products are showing. Committed to a “science first” approach, Trias said, the company has put significant resources into clinical trials to back its ingredients. “As of today, we have over a dozen published and several ongoing clinical studies.”
“In clinical studies, DeltaGold has been shown to improve lipid management by decreasing triglycerides and cholesterol—LDL and total—by 14-20 percent, while lowering inflammatory markers such as hsCRP, IL-6, and TNF-alpha between 20-40 percent.”3,4
Likewise, Trias explained, that the clinical trials support the long-term use of DeltaGold annatto tocotrienol in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Daily supplementation of 600 mg caused “significant reductions in fatty liver index score and was accompanied by downgrading of hepatic steatosis severity as examined by ultrasonography,” she said. “These studies also showed a surprising average weight loss of 9.7 pounds after 12 weeks, and 14.9 pounds after 24 weeks on DeltaGold supplements.”5,6
At Chemi Nutra, a manufacturer in Texas, Business Director Chase Hagerman, shared his thoughts on supporting healthy aging. He stated that the company’s brain health ingredients, SerinAid PhosphatidylSerine (PS) and AlphaSize Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline (Alpha-GPC), are popular with customers.
“Our ingredient AlphaSize Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline (Alpha-GPC) increases the immediate formation of acetylcholine, the body and brain’s primary neurotransmitter chemical,” said Hagerman.7 “Alpha-GPC has been heavily researched for both pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications for cognitive health,” he noted.
Joe Brunner, president, of Endurance Products Company (EPC) is a manufacturer with headquarters in Oregon. For Brunner and EPC, one key ingredient stands out above others. “To me, niacin is one of the most important nutrients for healthy aging. This essential B vitamin not only delivers whole body benefits, but provides targeted therapeutic value for cellular, cardiovascular and skin health,” he said. “These conditions are top of mind for many aging consumers. For this reason, it’s easy to see that niacin deserves a seat at the healthy aging table.”
The company’s extended-release product, Endur-Acin Wax-Matrix Niacin, utilizes a proprietary vegetable wax-matrix tablet as a delivery system. This is because “. . . niacin is a water-soluble vitamin, so developing products that provide the higher amounts needed for therapeutic benefits requires a controlled-release delivery,” explained Brunner. The technology, developed four decades ago, allowed the company to develop tablets with a surprisingly precise controlled-release metric which has been confirmed by certificates of analyses, Brunner pointed out. “Depending on the product, nutrients release from the wax-matrix tablet over a period of four to eight hours.”
Dr. Stacey Smith is a chiropractor and part of the marketing and communications team at Gnosis by Lesaffre. Smith points out that major concerns as individuals age are healthy bones, cardiovascular health and cognitive support. “Three ingredients strike me as providing overarching support for bone, heart and brain health,” said Dr. Smith. “And they are so important to seek out through supplementation because they are very difficult—if not impossible—to obtain through diet alone.” These are vitamin K2 as MK-7, folate (vitamin B9), and S-Adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe).
Gnosis by Lesaffre, with U.S. headquarters in New Jersey, offers products with each of these ingredients: “MenaQ7 is the Vitamin K2 as MK-7 source material for all the human clinical studies confirming these safe and efficacious benefits,” said Dr. Smith. There are more than 22 published human clinical studies to date. For folate: “Gnosis by Lesaffre offers Quatrefolic, the sale of glucosamine 5-MTHF, that is highly soluble and bioavailable, making it easy for populations to maintain adequate folate levels to counter the impact of aging while supporting cardiovascular and cognitive health,” Dr. Smith explained. The company’s SAMe product, Adonat Premium SAMe, which Dr. Smith stated represents a comprehensive solution to tackle brain health, focuses specifically on neurotransmission, neuroprotection and neuroplasticity. “Gnosis by Lesaffre was the first company to introduce and commercialize SAMe in the nutraceutical market with Adonat Premium SAMe,” she said.
At Physicians Strength, a manufacturer in Illinois, Betsy Woolard, head of sales, explained how its product, Power Omega, may help promote healthy aging. The product is a Peruvian cold-pressed Sacha Inchi oil. “Sacha Inchi is beneficial for everyone and the perfect substitute for vegetarians and vegans with fatty acid deficiencies, as it offers a substantial alternative to fish,” Woolard noted. “The organic seeds are cold-pressed into a delicious, digestible oil . . . 1 teaspoon delivers 2,140 mg of omega-3s as alpha-linoleic acid,” she said. “Sacha Inchi, used in traditional Incan medicine, has long been touted for its inflammation, brain, and skin support properties,” said Woolard.
New & Interesting Findings on Healthy Aging
Trias noted an interesting trend: while multivitamins are becoming less important to older individuals, ingredients to help with specific issues are gaining popularity. “For example, there is a 450 percent increased consumption of vitamin D3 among older adults compared to young adults in their 20s and 30s, as well as a 300 percent increased consumption of omega-3s. Multivitamins, on the other hand, only saw a 64 percent increase between these age groups.”2
Trias explained, “As multivitamin popularity decreases in older adults, knowledgeable consumers are lining their pantry shelves with trendier supplements. In addition to the popular vitamin D3 and omega-3s, other staples include joint and bone health supplements, probiotics and antioxidants such as vitamin C, E and CoQ10.”
Dr. Smith noted that the pandemic has played a role in the healthy aging marketplace. “COVID-19 changed the market considerably. Not only has it shifted consumers to focus more squarely on shoring up their immune systems, but it spurred a younger generation to start thinking about supplementation to support healthy aging, seeking the best opportunity to age well,” she stated.
At Chemi Nutra, Hagerman has noticed an interesting trend. While brain health supplements have been lucrative in the healthy aging space for some time, he’s noticed that supplements targeting cognitive health are trickling down to other demographics. “I believe part of this has been a general desire for younger adults to be less stressed, more focused, and cognitively primed to perform their best in their careers and daily lives,” he said. “But I think a significant factor may be that younger consumers are witnessing the aging process in their family members. The personal experience acts as a wake-up call, prompting them to recognize the importance of caring for their own cognitive health,” said Hagerman.
Cristiana Paul, MS, a scientific consultant for Designs for Health, Inc., (Palm Coast, FL) believes that artificial intelligence (AI) is positively affecting healthy aging.8 AI can maximize the efficiency of clearing senescent cells, Paul explained. “These are cells that have incurred DNA damage to the point that they are not functional, yet occupy space in various tissues, thus not allowing healthy cells to replicate and support adequate function,” she said. Accumulation of these cells accelerates aging increased by both local and systematic inflammation, Paul said.
To counteract this, Paul noted, there are a few schools of thought. One is fasting—whether intermittent, periodic, or “fasting mimicking,” she explained. Proponents of fasting in various forms state that these regimens might pay significant health dividends over time. Supplements are another area that continues to grow in interest. “Supplements such as quercetin, fisetin, ginseng extracts and curcumin may have senolytic effects,” Paul pointed out, and may work even better with a caloric restriction/fasting-mimicking diet.
At EPC, Brunner notes that surveys are a thing of the past. Now, manufacturers can utilize social media for inside glimpses into what consumers want. “One research group did just that with a robust study of more than 63,000 unique English ‘healthy aging’ tweets posted on X (formerly Twitter) between January 2012 and June 2022.”8
The study showed that conversations about healthy aging fell into three broad categories: maintaining healthy diet and lifestyle habits, including the use of dietary supplements, maintaining normal body functions like cognition, skin appearance, hearing, sleep, gut health and bone health; and, focusing on preventive care like immunizations, fall prevention and genetic contributions, Brunner summarized.
“This finding suggests dietary supplements that address these concerns will likely resonate among consumers interested in aging well. This has been our experience at EPC as our healthy aging supplements that address many of these concerns are among our most popular products.”
As noted by others, Christopher Shade, PhD CEO and founder of Colorado-based Quicksilver Scientific, has noticed an uptick in the number of younger people interested in healthy aging. “This marks a shift from the past when people took a more downstream approach that was focused on limiting damage caused by unhealthy habits,” said Dr. Shade. “Today’s consumers are looking at the research and actively seeking out proven strategies for improving their quality of life through all life stages. They are following the latest breakthroughs in longevity research and are willing to invest time and resources into optimizing their lifestyle for the best possible outcomes down the road,” he said.
Lifestyle Practices That May Improve Aging Issues
Like Dr. Bonney, Dr. Pelz recommends fasting to promote health. “A lot of people suggest anti-aging supplements or drugs, but you don’t need that miracle pill—you already have a brilliant pharmacist inside you,” she said. “With regular fasting, you can actually train your cells to age more slowly, increasing your health span and helping you live longer.” Fasting, she explained, activates autophagy. This is a process where the body’s cells clean themselves out, getting rid of any built-up waste and replacing old or damaged parts with new versions, she explained. “By turning on autophagy, fasting makes your body younger and more efficient at a cellular level. It’s an amazing tool for aging healthfully.”
Additionally, Dr. Pelz recommends regular exercise. “Even walking every day will do wonders for healthy aging,” said Dr. Pelz, “and if you want to do yoga, cycling, weightlifting, calisthenics or something more challenging, you absolutely should. Keep your body strong and it will return the favor by keeping you healthy as you age.”
Biohacking and wearable technology top this list for Dr. Bonney. “Using an Oura Ring to help you sleep better is pro-longevity. Using a Fitbit or an Apple Watch to track heart rates, steps, how many calories are burnt helps to keep us fit,” she noted.
Dr. Teitelbaum takes a different approach. “People will benefit from learning to follow their bliss,” he stated. “A good start is to choose to only pay attention to those things that feel good. The media focus now is to scare everybody to death and make them hate each other, largely with misinformation on both sides,” he stated. He recommends individuals turn off various news sources and move their attention to something that feels good to them. If there’s something they’d like to act on, he noted, they’ll find it by focusing on what feels good and going in that direction.
1 “Ageing and health,” World Health Organization, October 1, 2022: www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health.
2 Mishra S, Stierman B, Gahche JJ, Potischman N: Dietary Supplement Use Among Adults: United States, 2017-2018. NCHS data brief 2021(399):1-8.
3 Qureshi AA, Khan DA, Mahjabeen W, Qureshi N: Dose-dependent modulation of lipid parameters, cytokines, and RNA by delta-tocotrienol in hypercholesterolemic subjects restricted to AHA Step-1 diet. Brit J of Med & Med Res 2015, 6(4):351-366.
4 Qureshi AA, Khan DA, Mahjabeen W, Trias AM, Silswal N, Qureshi N: Impact of delta-tocotrienol on inflammatory biomarkers and oxidative stress in hypercholesterolemic subjects. Clin Exp Cardiology 2015, 6(4):1000367.
5 Pervez MA, Khan DA, Ijaz A, Khan S: Effects of Delta-tocotrienol Supplementation on Liver Enzymes, Inflammation, Oxidative stress and Hepatic Steatosis in Patients with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. The Turkish Journal of Gastroenterology: The Official Journal of Turkish Society of Gastroenterology 2018, 29(2):170-176.
6 Pervez MA, Khan DA, Slehria AUR, Ijaz A: Delta-tocotrienol supplementation improves biochemical markers of hepatocellular injury and steatosis in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Comp Ther Med 2020, 52:102494.
7 Parnetti L, Amenta F, Gallai V (2001) Choline alphoscerate in cognitive decline and in acute cerebrovascular disease: An analysis of published clinical data. Mech Ageing Dev 122, 2041-2055.
8 Ng QX, Lee DYX, Yau CE, Lim YL, Liew TM. Public perception on ‘healthy ageing’ in the past decade: an unsupervised machine learning of 63,809 Twitter posts. Heliyon. 2023;9(2):e13118. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36747557/.
Healthy Take Aways
• Regular exercise and a diet rich in whole foods is thought to promote aging well.
• Having fun, being social and doing things one loves can help reduce stress and may promote better health as one ages.
• Supplements like curcumin, vitamin D, B vitamins, omega-3s, vitamin K2, folate and niacin may be beneficial to support health as one ages.
• The majority of older adults are seeking out specific supplements rather than multivitamins to support their health.
For More Information:
American River Nutrition, www.americanrivernutrition.com
Chemi Nutra, www.cheminutra.com
Designs for Health, www.designsforhealth.com
Endurance Products Company, www.endur.com; www.enduranceresearch.com
Gnosis by Lesaffre: www.gnosisbylesaffre.com
Physicians Strength, www.physicians-strength.com
Quicksilver Scientific, www.quicksilverscientific.com