Elderly people represent an increasing fraction of the European population. Their higher susceptibility to degenerative and infectious diseases lead to rising public health and social concerns. Appropriate preventive nutrition strategies can be applied to restore and maintain a balanced intestinal microflora exerting protective functions against the above disorders. The project is based on the application of selected biomarkers in hypothesis driven human studies. We will identify the structural and functional specificity of the elderly's intestinal microflora across Europe. Using this baseline information, we will investigate functional food based preventive nutrition strategies aiming to beneficially affect the functional balance of the elderly's intestinal microflora. Expected outcomes include nutritional recommendations as well as new concepts and prototype functional food specifically adapted for health benefits to the elderly population.
The overall objective is to improve the quality of life of the elderly throughout the third age, with emphasis on the preservation of the period of independence recognised as "the crown of life". The focus is on preventive nutrition and the application of functional food to derive health benefits for the ever-increasing European elderly population. Based on hypothesis driven human studies, the specific objectives of the project are 1) to assess structural and functional alterations of the intestinal flora with ageing and across Europe; and 2) to validate functional foods based preventive nutrition strategies to restore and maintain a healthy intestinal flora in the elderly. Implementations include nutritional recommendations as well as new concepts and prototype functional food specifically adapted for health benefits to the elderly population.
- Assessment of the gut microflora diversity and composition in the European elderly, and identification of its alterations with ageing (baseline human study);
- Assessment of modulation of the intestinal microflora (intervention human study with functional food), and potential health benefits towards degenerative pathologies and infectious diseases;
- Improved health status of the ageing population via specific nutritional recommendations;
- Nutritional guidelines based on the complete assessment of a synbiotic product;
- Design and provision of adapted food supplements directed towards intestinal microbial function;
- Validation of processes and rationale for the design of a new generation of functional foods to satisfy health benefits for the elderly, based on innovative technologies.