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DISPATCHES FROM VITAFOODS EUROPE 2012

Industry must tackle ageing in ‘more comprehensive’ way

By Nathan Gray , 11-Jun-2012

The functional food and nutritional supplement industry must tackle the key issues of anti-ageing in a ‘much more comprehensive’ way than it currently does, warns leading ageing expert.

The development of anti-ageing medicine has seen many changes in the way we tackle the issues of ageing – not least in the role that nutrition plays in the battle for eternal youth. However, the industry must look at scientific data it creates “in a much more comprehensive way” if it is to ever help with solving the big issues in ageing, says leading anti-ageing expert Dr Astrid Stuckelberger.

Speaking with NutraIngredients at the recent Vitafoods Europe 2012 conference and exposition, Stuckelberger said the use of foods and supplements to assist healthy ageing is “a total revolution.”

“With supplements, and with the whole food industry – food is becoming a huge tool to have hope in having a healthy ageing, full of energy, and to enhance their body.”

“You [now] have ingredients in food that will buy you memory, that will buy you health, that will buy you sex, that will buy you good digestion – from early childhood right up until old age,” said Stuckelberger – who is based at the University of Geneva.

However, the ageing expert, who also works as an advisor to the European Commission, the United Nations and the Swiss Government, argued that industry need to break out of niche markets and work on larger issues of ageing.

“What we see here is everybody selling its own product – the omega-3, the probiotics – but they are not looking at some key methodological problems, which are cumulative effects of agents, and of co-agents,”

Nutrition for ageing

“Today we have means to supplement what is missing in the body … And not only to supplement and to re-establish to point zero, but also to boost, or if I could say to dope the body. And this is what food is doing,” said Stuckelberger.

She said anti-aging is promoting the principle that analysing the whole body for what it needs, then providing personalised recommendations for foods and supplements is the way of the future.

“We all have deficits of something or some other but it’s not the same. So you take the amount of pills, or supplements and nutrients … that you need to stay at the peak performance of your body, of your mind, of your beauty,” she said.

Stuckelberger added that in the future, it may become the job of the industry to provide total solutions for nutrition, including ‘nutrition systems’ that measure and recommend the nutrients people need each day on a personal level.

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