Pharmaceuticals  19th July 2022  6 mins read

Social Health

We talk to our Nutraceutical Market Manager for EMEA, Liz Connor Kenworthy to learn more about what social health is and how to maintain this as we age.

Social health is an aspect often ignored when considering our well-being as we age. What  is it and what can we do?

It's common to consider our health in terms of both our physical and mental well-being. Although they are extremely important, we often underestimate the impact that social health may have on us. As we age, this is an even more important consideration, and with the pandemic creating boundaries for us, it will have indeed been worsened by the lack of contact we've seen over the past few years. 

Our Nutraceutical Market Manager for EMEA, Liz Connor Kenworthy, joins us to discuss her thoughts on social health, why it's important and how IMCD is supporting this area of health.

What is social health?

Liz: Social health is an aspect that is not immediately visible or tangible like physical health, but it can have an impact on how you feel about your life, therefore influencing your overall health. If you think back to a nice time you had with family or friends, just laughing or chatting, and the feelings associated with that, or when you hear people say having met a friend ‘what a tonic’ they are, this I feel is a perfect example of social health. On the flip side, think of how restless and out of kilter we feel when we are isolated from these social interactions, our peers or community. There was a feeling of being adrift and hopelessness throughout recent times due to the pandemic, especially when social isolation occurred. To support our general health, we need to cultivate our social health, and that depends on a connection to others.

Good social health has been shown to support better physical and mental health, with strong social connections linked to a longer life, reduced stress, and even improved cardiovascular health

Why is it even more important to maintain this as we age?

Liz: Good social health has been shown to support better physical and mental health, with strong social connections linked to a longer life, reduced stress, and even improved cardiovascular health.  Low social health leads to a risk of social isolation, potentially leading to increased anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders, of which we have seen an escalation of in recent times.  A perfect example of the positive impact of embracing all facets of health is the recognised Blue Zones.  Here we can observe the culture that embraces all aspects of health: physical, mental, social, good nutrition, a close-knit community and /or family, and having a sense of purpose, resulting in some of the oldest people, living the longest and healthiest lives.

What can we do to improve/maintain our immunity?

Liz: It is well established that the immune system changes as we get older. The balance between immune activation, regulation and resolution can be altered as we age, resulting in inadequate protection against infection, along with a greater risk of inflammatory disease.  While bolstering your immunity is easier said than done, several dietary and lifestyle changes may strengthen your body’s natural defense.  These include getting adequate (and importantly) good quality sleep, enjoying a wide variety of foods, moving daily (any form of exercise helps), keeping hydrated, managing stress and anxiety levels, and being social (it is good to talk). One could also look to incorporate supplements formulated specifically for this category in to the diet to support this holistic approach to health.

How did the pandemic affect the senior community and their social health?

Liz: The COVID-19 pandemic made it essential to social distance by use of worldwide lockdowns, dramatically changing social interactions. Whilst social distancing minimised the spread of COVID-19, such social isolation had the potential to affect the cardiovascular and immune systems.  This social isolation was immediately apparent, even the fact of being told that you are vulnerable can be quite fear inducing, leaving much of the population feeling both anxious and stressed. With this perceived risk of transmission, many individuals avoided all social and physical interaction, which had a negative impact on their social and physical health.  We know the immune system continually reacts and adapts to its surroundings to offer us the most protection, and many aspects of the immune system deteriorate with age, a process known as immune senescence. It follows then that the pandemic could have a negative effect on those that are susceptible.

What does IMCD do to support this?  

IMCD offers innovative solutions that are market-ready, formulated with active nutraceutical ingredients that are backed by science.  We recently formulated an ‘Immune Gummy’, which is a plant-based formulation suitable for vegans. It consists of a synergistic blend of active nutraceutical ingredients specifically formulated to support, strengthen and aid recovery. Being a gummy format, it is convenient, easy to take, and palatable, avoiding the ‘pill fatigue’ phenomena we are seeing something which is particularly important for the older market who often have a cocktail of drugs they are already taking. We have seen the gummy category grow year-on-year in the supplement market, so it is nice to be able to offer this format.



To request our Immune Gummy brochure, please click here.

We recently formulated a plant-based Immune Gummy - a blend of active nutraceutical ingredients specifically formulated to support, strengthen and aid recovery"







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