Farmers develop innovative products for the recovery of chronic diseases

The awareness that nutrition is important for a healthy body is getting more and more attention in modern Western medicine. Research shows that nutrition can contribute to an accelerated recovery and improvement of the quality of life of chronically ill people. Dialogue and coordination between physician and farmer can lead to the development of new products that contribute to better health.


Number of chronic diseases increases annually in the Netherlands and Europe

The OECD report ‘Health at a glance’ reports that 50 million Europeans have 2 or more chronic diseases. The annual costs for these are € 58 billion. The RIVM predicts that in 2030 7 million Dutch people have a chronic disease. Four out of ten people will be ill. We are getting older, but not healthier. In 2015, with 4.5 million ill Dutch, an average of € 5.300, = per resident was paid on healthcare costs. These costs will increase even further.

Recent American studies have shown that in chronic disease there may be a disease related malnutrition. Previously there were publications showing a connection between diet / lifestyle and diseases. A good example of this is type 2 diabetes. More and more studies show that a type 2 diabetes patient suffers from chronic inflammations that can be caused by a particular diet and lifestyle pattern. Such a disease usually appears reversible with a change of diet and lifestyle. Through balanced nutrition, adapted to age, effort and disease, malnutrition and inflammation processes in many cases can be prevented and/or reduced, thus reducing healthcare costs.

The influence of animal (milk) products on human health

One of the most efficient ways to reduce healthcare costs is the prevention of Sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is characterized by a decrease of muscle strength and muscle mass, which is common in the elderly. Reduced muscle mass increases the risk of falling injuries, and consequently on invalidity leading to loss of independence. As early as 2008, healthcare costs related to Sarcopenia in America were estimated at $ 132 billion a year.

Scientific studies have shown that the risk of sarcopenia can be reduced by extra well digestible protein. This additional protein may maintain or even increase muscle mass (bodybuilders). Research shows that, in particular, the amino acids Arginine and Leucine are determinative of the maintenance or increase of muscle mass and muscle strength. Milk protein products are rich in these amino acids, and can therefore mean a lot for (top) athletes but also for the elderly.

A recent article in the Journal of Dairy Science deals with the fact that certain fats in milk, yogurt and cheese have anti-inflammatory characteristics. Worldwide, consumption of whole milk products has decreased sharply since 1970, while the consumption of lean products has increased. For the food industry this is not disturbing, because lean products are often eaten more because they are less saturated. From the point of view of health, this is less good because proper fats in milk and milk products are found to support human health.

Tuning between doctor and farmer for a positive impact

Over the last few years, it has been more and more common to customize the diets for (top) athletes and (chronic) ill patients to their needs to improve performance or affect the course of the disease. With the growing aging of Dutch society, it is unlikely that the costs of care resulting from, among other things, Sarcopenia will increase in the coming years without adjusting food for the elderly.

A research-based dietary composition for preventing, or reducing the effects of certain chronic diseases such as Sarcopenia, cardiovascular disease, and obesity can lead to a revaluation of animal products. This applies, for example, to the effect of certain fats on human health and for the effect of the specific amino acid composition of animal protein on human health.

Such an approach could be an impulse for the development of new products, aimed at a society with less nutrition-related diseases. For farmers it is a producer’s chance to make their products more valuable. Carla Peeters, founder of COBALA Good Care Feels Better. She is a member of the Committee for Economic Policy and Health Care of VNO-NCW. If you like to know more about this article or the services of COABALA. Please contact us. 







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