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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume IV, Wellbeing in Later Life by Cary L. Cooper, Thomas B. L. Kirkwood

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6

Nutrition and Lifelong Wellbeing

C. Alexandra Munro and John C. Mathers

Newcastle University, U.K.

Nutrition and Aging: Basic Concepts

Nutrition is critical for health and wellbeing at all stages of the life course because food supplies the substrates for energy production to power all body processes and specific molecules and ions for synthesis of cellular and extracellular structures, enzymes, signaling molecules, and other regulators. Across the life course, nutritional needs change in response to alterations in the patterns of physiological processes (e.g., growth, development, pregnancy and lactation), body composition, physical activity, and cellular and tissue damage (e.g., caused by smoking, disease, or physical trauma). A priori, nutrition can be expected to modulate the aging trajectory positively to the extent that it can prevent or ameliorate the core processes (inflammation, oxidative stress/redox changes, and metabolic stress) that lead to the accumulation of the macromolecular damage which is causal for aging (Kirkwood, 2005) and/or enhance the body's defense mechanisms including DNA repair, apoptosis, and autophagy (Mathers, 2003; Mathers, Coxhead, & Tyson, 2007; Rubinsztein, Marino, & Kroemer, 2011). Some nutrients (and other food-derived bioactive molecules) have specific protective roles; for example, vitamins C and E and selenium are essential components of the cell's antioxidant defenses whereas the longer-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (or PUFAs) ...

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