Santo Domingo, D.N.. Representatives from the Board of Corporate Nutritional Advisors and a technical team from the Department of Food Research and Education at Western Michigan University, USA, announced the national launch of a new fortified supplement for the elderly that, in addition to meeting the basic nutritional needs of these beneficiaries, mitigates muscle loss and boosts the immune system.
When staple food prices put inflationary pressures on, advocates say, public or private humanitarian food aid initiatives opt for these solutions that cover nutritional needs and that do not affect or put pressure on the distribution channels of items in the local basic food basket, ultimately making them more expensive.
The proposal, which aims to contribute to the achievement of the established goals of the PLANDES National Ten Year Health Plan 2022-2032 of the Ministry of Health, was developed based on the composition of the food aggregate used by the Ministry of Health of the Government of Chile for several decades, in the so-called Complementary Nutrition Program for the Elderly, PACAM. In its new version, it includes more therapeutic benefits for the elderly, such as helping to reduce muscle loss and boosting the immune system, strengthening the beneficiary’s organic abilities to resist viral attacks.
The information was provided during a launch and donation ceremony held at the La Zurza Environmental Sanitation Foundation (FUNDSAZURZA), during which 2,800 servings of the said supplement were delivered to 136 seniors of both sexes living in this community who are cataloged under conditions of Grade I and II malnutrition.
The event was hosted by Will Lajara, Country Representative for the Department of Food Research and Education (FIRE) Technical Team, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, and Herman Herrera, President of Fundsazurza.
Also present were doctors Jesús Suardi, Director of Public Health Area IV, and Maria Solano, Director of the Program for the Elderly of the Ministry of Health, as well as Raymond Familia, Deputy Director of ProIndustria.
According to Lahara’s explanations, during the 2021-2022 pandemic, it was clear that the groups most vulnerable to the virus were the elderly and elderly, and due to the structural and situational nutritional deficiencies that characterize this segment, the Chilean model program was used, but enriched with new therapeutic benefits.
It turned out that a 16-month, two-stage pilot project involving voluntary private supplementation and analytical screening to assess simple hematological variables among patients of different ages and sexes vaccinated and affected by COVID-19, who, taking the supplement as the only non-drug therapy, gave interesting results.
He emphasized that the first new feature of the supplement in terms of reducing sarcopenia is known and widely described in the literature in relation to the replacement of the protein matrix of caseinates with whey isolates, which, due to their high adsorption rate and composition rich in limiting amino acids, have proven effective in mitigating the phenomenon of body weight loss in the elderly.
In that vein, he added that the supplement’s second benefit as an immune system booster is more complex, as it was developed in light of recent documented advances in ingredients with therapeutic potential to help with viral attacks, which include micronutrients, phytonutrients, and milk immunoglobulins.
He pointed out that humanitarian food aid programs in times of food price volatility, whether due to supply chain problems or shortages of basic raw materials, pose an additional challenge.
Finally, he stated that the proposal is intended to contribute to the established goals of the Ministry of Health’s 2022-2032 PLANDES National Ten Year Health Plan, and in this sense, providing an immunologically impacted meal replacement food supplement for the elderly “guided our country towards the achievement of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals 2 (Zero Hunger) and 3 (Well-Being for All Ages).”