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The impact of the pandemic and life expectancy on healthy aging concerns

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Life expectancy is projected to increase globally. A person aged 65 years in 2015-2020 could expect to live an additional 17 years on average. By 2045-2050, that figure will increase to 19 years1​. What’s clear is that the growth in the number of older adults is unprecedented. This provides a vast opportunity for catalytic and collaborative effort towards improvement in the lives of older individuals, as well as any individual interested in maintaining their quality of life. The global pandemic has also contributed to the interest in healthy aging by bringing greater awareness to quality of life.

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Staying active is extremely important for healthy aging. Exercise has numerous benefits, including improved mental health, immune health, cognitive function and social engagement. With greater physical activity comes the increase in incidence of muscle soreness and pain. Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) influences the endocannabinoid system by increasing levels of anandamide. An endocannabinoid often dubbed as the 'bliss molecule' which if the “first responder” to stress and injury in the body. PEA has been proven to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory impact in the body2​ , PEA levels tend to decrease with age, as well as with inflammation in the body. Levagen+ is a branded form of PEA that helps improve symptoms of joint pain and supports recovery or inflammation. It also protects against muscle deterioration*. These are critical functions as individuals try to maintain an active lifestyle and manage discomfort.

Curcumin, which is a polyphenol found in turmeric, also offers many beneficial properties for exercise recovery. Curcumin has been found to aid in performance recovery and management of inflammation after exercise3​. The issue with curcumin is that it’s often hydrophobic and has limited absorption in the gastrointestinal environment. HydroCurc®​is a branded form of Curcumin that offers greater bioavailability because it features a branded technology from Pharmako called LipiSperse. LipiSperse is a cold-water-dispersible technology that makes curcumin readily dispersible, which in turn aids in its bioavailability.

The opportunity to stay active is limited for some, which is caused by physical limitations imposed by age, as well as a sedentary lifestyle. The pandemic has exacerbated this by confining many of us to our homes. This has resulted in less opportunity for physical activity in general. ActivAMP is extracted from Gynostemma pentaphyllum, an adaptogenic herb, which activates an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPk). AMPk is often called the "master metabolic regulator" and switches on the same fat-burning and energy producing metabolic processes that exercise does. Gencor offers a branded version of AMPk called ActivAMP. ActivAMP works to maintain healthy regulate metabolic activity, as well as support glucose utilization, oxidation, and appetite, which are all beneficial to those experiencing a more sedentary lifestyle*.

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Sleep is closely connected to overall health, particularly for aging adults. Adequate sleep is as important to good health as diet and exercise. Some of the common contributors to lack of sleep include poor sleep habits, medications, sleep disorders (i.e. restless leg syndrome), and being idle4​. The pandemic has caused an array of contributors to disturbed sleep, including stress and worry. Natural and botanical alternatives, such as melatonin, L-Theanine, valerian, chamomile and lemon balm, are all commonly found in sleep supplements. However,  other ingredients such as PEA have been found to not only positively impact sleep quality, but may also positively support immune health. If one is under stress, they may sleep less overall and have a lower sleep efficiency5​. Thus, products that address both stress and sleep at once, such as affron®​, Pharmactive’s branded saffron extract, have great potential.

Gencor’s branded PEA, Levagen+, can help promote restful sleep through indirect activation of CB1 receptors which increases a calming effect inducing sleep. It can also increase restful REM sleep - our deep phase of sleep, also known as 'Rapid Eye Movement'*. Furthermore, a lack of sleep has been strongly associated with increased signaling molecules (cytokines) released from inflammation.  Therefore, when the balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory signals are out of balance, it may cause people to be more susceptible to sleep disturbance.  PEA improves sleep quality by reducing pain, which is correlated with disturbances in sleep7​. The beneficial effect of PEA on sleep is also proposed to be due to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to act through TRPV1 agonist that are known to facilitate sleep (vasorelaxation effect). For those facing the stressors related to the pandemic, PEA can help provide support by influencing the ECS and reduce levels of anxiety. Gencor’s published osteoarthritis study showed PEA’s (Levagen+ PEA) ability to reduce levels of anxiety, further supporting PEA’s mechanisms. Thus, PEA may be an effective solution for those with troubles sleeping, increased stress or nerves to reduce inflammation and restore the sleep/wake cycle6​.

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And finally, cognitive health has become an integral component of healthy aging. While historically, cognitive health has most often been associated with more senior populations challenged by cognitive decline, the segment now includes younger consumers concerned with sleep deprivation, stress, low mood and prevention of cognitive decline. The pandemic has exacerbated these concerns as individuals face uncertainly with regard to employment, education and overall health and well-being. Individuals of all ages have look to supplementation as a means to stave off decline and maintain cognitive and mental well-being. Curcumin has been recognized for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which support brain health. In fact, research has indicated that curcumin helps to improve cognitive functions in patients with Alzheimer’s8​. Gencor recently discovered the cognitive benefits of co-administration of ferrous sulphate and HydroCurc®​ on levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an essential protein for normal neurological function, memory and energy homeostasis. Outcomes from a six week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study administered by the University of Westminster and Coventry University suggest that individuals whom were administered HydroCurc®​ and a low dose ferrous sulphate supplement experienced an increase in BDNF*. As memory formation is often an issue with the aging population, curcumin and iron hold great promise for those suffering from a decline in BDNF. BDNF levels also decrease with chronic stress, depression and anxiety9​; all of which have been at increased levels with the onset of the pandemic.

Gencor offers an extensive list of branded ingredients and standardized single-herb extracts that positively impact the healthy aging journey for individuals. The goal is to promote a full range of benefits to maintain an optimal level of health. Gencor’s solutions are clinically shown to support the specific needs of aging adults. The company offers targeted solutions which are supported by extensive human clinical research, patented extraction processes, claims substantiation, intellectual property, global reach, and complete control over supply chain and processing.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or ailment.

 

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References:

[1] United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2019). World Population Ageing 2019: Highlights ​(ST/ESA/SER.A/430).

[2] Passavanti, M.B., Alfieri, A., Pace, M.C. et al.​ Clinical applications of palmitoylethanolamide in pain management: protocol for a scoping review. Syst Rev​ 8, ​9 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-018-0934-z

[3] Davis JM, Murphy EA, Carmichael MD, et al. Curcumin effects on inflammation and performance recovery following eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol​. 2007;292(6):R2168-R2173. doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00858.2006

[4] https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/sleep-aging

[5] https://www.sleepscore.com/how-to-rest-your-way-to-less-stress/#:~:text=Sleep%20is%20a%20powerful%20stress,you're%20well%2Drested.

[6] Steels, E., Venkatesh, R., Steels, E. et al. A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study assessing safety, tolerability and efficacy of palmitoylethanolamide for symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Inflammopharmacol 27, 475–485 (2019).

[7] https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/cnsnddt/2018/00000017/00000004/art00010

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781139/

[9]Hashimoto K, Shimizu E, Iyo M. Critical role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in mood disorders. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2004 May;45(2):104-14. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresrev.2004.02.003. PMID: 15145621.