As we age the body needs even more attention in terms of nutrition in order to age healthily. From the vitamins we should be focusing on to maintain bone density to the fish oils we need to support muscle mass, read the latest in nutritional research in this week’s Nutrition News.

The vitamins that support healthy ageing

While nothing can stop the ageing process from happening, nutrition does play a huge part in helping us age in a healthy way. Certain nutrients play a larger role than others in assisting the body as it ages, as discussed in this article by Eat This, Not That!.

There are 5 vitamins that are highlighted by the article for their significant nutritional benefits in ageing. These are:

  • Vitamin D

Vitamin D is known to support the immune system but it is also important for helping the body absorb calcium. Calcium is vital for bone density, something we lose as we age.

  • Vitamin C

Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant that also supports the immune system but its age supporting properties lie in its importance in collagen production. Collagen has an essential role in maintaining skin elasticity but as we age the body produces less collagen and at a lower quality.

  • Vitamin K

Vitamin K contributes to the maintenance of normal bones but the article also suggests it is important for a number of processes in healthy ageing such as cognitive support and heart health support.

  • Vitamin A

Vitamin A supports normal skin by promoting skin cell turnover, which keeps the skin healthy. It also stimulates collagen production.

  • Vitamin E

This fat-soluble vitamin plays an important role in healthy ageing through its antioxidant properties. Vitamin E protects the cells from oxidative stress and damage amongst other health benefits.

Other nutrients that help with healthy ageing include carnosine and acetyl l carnitine and resveratrol, which are all associated with telomere elongation and decreasing the methylation associated with ageing.

While these vitamins won’t stop you from getting older, they will certainly help you lead a healthy life into old age by maintaining normal processes in the body.

Study suggests probiotics could support pregnant women against nausea

Nausea and constipation are both common symptoms of pregnancy and affect 85% of pregnant women, however, a recent study has investigated whether probiotics should be added to the recommended list of women’s health supplements as it explores whether they can lessen symptoms.

The study from researchers at the University of California, published in MDPI Journals, hypothesised that probiotics could be used as a way of lessening nausea and constipation, which are referred to as functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. As levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone heighten during pregnancy, which alters the gut microbiome and function and can significantly impact (GI) function, it was reasoned that probiotics could shift gut microbiota and metabolites to affect GI function in early pregnancy.

The study involved 32 women who were studied over a period of 16 days and followed two cycles of six daily probiotics and two days without probiotics. The participants were asked to complete a daily survey that questioned whether the probiotics influenced GI function within 24 hours. Faecal specimens were also collected.

The data concluded that probiotics significantly improved daily nausea and overall life quality. While the results are promising, it is important to note that further research is needed as the data resulted from surveys and further double-blind placebo trials would be needed to establish causation.

Omega 3’s role in muscle mass

Omega 3 has been widely linked to supporting cognitive function, as discussed in last week’s Nutrition News, but a recent study has suggested it could also play a role in supporting skeletal muscle mass or strength.

NutraIngredients reported that Dutch researchers evaluated 119 studies in their qualitative assessment, with 66 studies selected for meta-analysis following filtration for studies with endpoints in muscle fatigue, muscle quality and inflammation. The results uncovered a significant relationship between long-chain omega 3 fatty acid supplementation and lean body mass, skeletal muscle mass and quadriceps MVC.

Despite the positive findings, there are several limitations of this study as a meta-analysis without dedicated research into the supplement’s effects. A wide range of studies were used to identify potential associations across different muscle-related endpoints, which meant there was no restriction on studies based on the type of supplement used, number of participants and other factors that may affect the outcome. Therefore, the findings give cause for further research to better assess the role of omega 3 in muscle mass support.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is the Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.