Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition & Aging, University of Waterloo
What Do We Know About Nutritional Requirements And Needs During Aging
Canada's population continues to age rapidly. Canadian senior citizens have outnumbered children in 2015. A major concern regarding old age is a decline in health, especially if this entails a loss of self-sufficiency and independence caused by a decline in cognition. Nutrition is key to healthy aging for a number of diseases but during aging, there are physiological modifications occurring in the body. These modifications could well change the requirements for some nutrients or foods. Also, in this period of life, many older people loss self-sufficiency and are therefore living in institutions. The symposium will focus on the following questions: What do we know about dietary requirements of the elderly in relation to modifications of the physiology? How can we improve the nutritional status and food intake of older adults? Are there special nutritional requirements for vulnerable older adults who are frail or who have dementia? Answering these questions will help to design better nutrition interventions to fulfill the nutritional needs of older people.
Omega-3 fatty acids homeostasis during aging and in carriers of an epsilon 4 allele of apolipoprotein E
A major concern about old age, to both the individuals and the society, is a decline in cognition because it compromises the quality of life in affected individual and their families. There is currently no drug with proven efficacy to treat or delay progression of cognitive decline. Therefore, finding prevention strategies is of paramount importance. Nutrition is key to healthy aging and consuming fatty fish containing docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) seems to decrease the risk of developing cognitive decline but not in apolipoprotein E e4 carriers (E4+), the most important genetic risk of Alzheimer's disease. Mélanie Plourde's research group have shown that aging and carrying an E4+ allele, are two conditions disrupting the kinetics of DHA, hence modifying DHA homeostasis. Since DHA is thought to be protective against cognitive decline in animals via neuroprotective effects, disrupting DHA homeostasis can therefore lead to higher risk of developing cognitive decline. This conference will present data collected in animal model and clinical trials understanding the role of fatty acid homeostasis during aging and in E4+ carriers.
Nutritional challenges and opportunities in the most vulnerable— older adults living in residential care
Although older adults living in long-term and other residential environments make up a relatively small proportion of the 65+ age group in Canada, they have specialized care needs and complexity that can result in high health care use and poor quality of life. Relatively little is known about this population in terms of their food intake, and the complex mechanisms that impair food intake, leading to malnutrition. Research does demonstrate however, that if nutritional status is optimized, morbidity, risk for mortality and quality of life are improved. Making the Most of Mealtimes (M3) is a research program focused on improving food intake in older adults in long term and residential care to promote not only improved health but also quality of life. A prevalence study has been recently completed that provides a foundation for intervention work. This presentation will describe the complexity of food intake in this vulnerable group and suggest a conceptual model that can drive innovation with respect to novel interventions. M3 has completed the most comprehensive data collection in the world, with respect to identifying determinants of food intake. These determinants are focused on the domains of meal access (e.g. Eating ability, dentition), meal quality (e.g. Nutrient density of menus, variety), and mealtime experience (e.g. Physical and psychosocial aspects of the dining experience). Data were collected from over 600 residents randomly selected from 32 long term care homes in four provinces. Preliminary data will be presented on food intake and key determinants. Opportunities for improving food intake, considering preliminary findings will be discussed.
A WellnessRx Education Initiative for Health Professionals: Its Evolution, Diffusion and Evaluation
Pauline Léveillé (Abstract Presentation)
Previous studies reported that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and arachidonic acid (AA) concentrations are age-dependant but their kinetics are unknown. Objective: To determine the kinetics of 13C-EPA and 13C-AA in young and older participants. Method: Six young (18-30 yrs old) and six older (≥ 70 yrs old) healthy participants were recruited. The study had three blocks of one month: 13C-EPA follow-up, wash-out and 13C-AA follow-up. Each participant orally consumed a single oral dose of 35 mg of 13C-EPA, and after the wash-out, a 50 mg dose of 13C-AA. Fasted blood samples were collected before breakfast (baseline) and thereafter at 2 h, 4 h, 6 h, 24 h, 7 d, 14 d, after the tracer intake. Preliminary results: The data presented here are on two young and six elderly participants. Mean age of the young and the elderly is 24 ± 4 and 75 ± 2 yrs old, respectively. At baseline, there was no difference in plasma triglycerides, and total cholesterol between the two groups supporting that the elderly were metabolically healthy. Plasma incorporation of 13C-EPA peaked within 6 h in both groups (2.0 ± 0.5 nmol/ml). 13C- AA peaked within 4-24 h in participants (3.2 ± 0.2 nmol/ml). After the 13C- EPA intake, the retroconversion of 13C-EPA into 13C-DHA was 17% higher in the elderly compared to the young. After the intake of 13C-AA, retroconversion into 13C-LA and 13C-DGLA was higher in the elderly potentially indicating a higher degradation rate with age. 13CO2 will be analyzed in the breath sample and will assess if β-oxidation of 13C-AA is higher in the elderly group. Conclusion: Older men had transiently higher EPA concentrations compared to younger adults. More studies are needed to evaluate whether the change in EPA kinetics is a «normal» physiological modification occurring during aging or whether it contributes to risk of developing diseases associated with aging such as low grade inflammation.
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