Metabolic changes in old age – What to consider!

Switzerland is getting older and older. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of people over 65 in Switzerland has continued to increase (1). Health and well-being in old age (over 65 years) also depend to a large extent on what is eaten. But what exactly happens to the body in old age and to what extent does the physical requirement profile shift?

Physical change
“My metabolism isn’t that of a 20-year-old anymore either.” We hear this and similar sentences again and again from our customers. Of course, the body changes as we get older.
For example, the greatest bone density is already reached at the age of 30. After that the natural decomposition predominates again. The stomach lining also recedes with age and the absorption of vitamin B12 deteriorates. Furthermore, the transition to retirement age is usually accompanied by a reduction in physical activity. This is exacerbated by the fact that digestion slows down and a correspondingly longer feeling of fullness occurs. A steady deterioration of the sense of smell and taste also leads to less appetite. In combination with an unbalanced diet or nutrient intake, this in turn promotes a reduction in muscle mass and overall energy requirements. The downward spiral resulting in a poorer sense of well-being and a lower quality of life has begun.
It is always surprising how quickly these aging processes occur due to an unbalanced lifestyle. However, we and our customers are just as amazed about the slowing down of the aging processes and improved quality of life that occur with an optimized lifestyle.

What do we need to pay particular attention to?
The nutritional societies focus on preventing muscle loss. This should counteract the risk of falling and at the same time ensure mobility in old age. In order to cover the protein requirement, protein-rich foods such as dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, legumes, tofu or quorn should therefore be eaten with every main meal.
However, two essential aspects must be taken into account:

1. how high is the actual energy and protein requirement? Mainly the requirement depends on the physical activity and the state of the own metabolism. However, this is very individual and varies greatly. For example, if the body’s own energy consumption is not covered, the body’s own proteins may be used as energy sources. The demand for protein increases.
2. if the metabolism does not function, both digestion and the feeling of hunger suffer. This in turn makes it more difficult to consume the proteins, which typically involve a large volume.

Therefore we at betteryou check the metabolism as well as the effective energy and protein requirements by means of spiroergometry. If these are intact, it ensures that digestion and the feeling of hunger are present and thus the optimal nutrient intake remains realistic. The muscle breakdown is therefore counteracted.

A functioning metabolism provides the basis for healthy aging. If the individual energy and protein requirements are known, the macronutrient distribution (carbohydrates, fats, protein) can be optimally adjusted to this. In a second step it is then worthwhile to optimally adjust the critical micronutrients in old age. You will learn more about this in my next blog post.

Stay healthy and take care!




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