According to the World Health Organization, by 2020, chronic health conditions that tend to increase with age, such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes are expected to account for approximately 60% of diseases worldwide. Fortunately, many of these conditions are preventable with appropriate dietary and lifestyle choices. Prevention of chronic diseases can both improve longevity and ensure a better quality of life into later years. Maintaining your health and vitality while aging involves a combination of physical activity, a healthy diet, stress management, mental and social stimulation, and adequate sleep. A wellness plan for disease prevention or management may also involve the use of dietary supplements. Learn more about the best supplements by age for both women and men on the Fullscript blog.
Below is some useful information about top recommended supplements for healthy aging and longevity, including popular products from my dispensary.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids because they can not be produced by the body and must be obtained from the diet. Two of the primary and most studied omega-3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). High amounts of EPA and DHA are found in seafood, including salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, trout, and oysters. Intake of these long-chain fatty acids is associated with a lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease and heart failure. Research demonstrates that EPA helps reduce elevated triglyceride levels and symptoms of depression. DHA has been found to protect against brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. EPA and DHA dietary supplements are commonly manufactured from krill oil, fish oil, cod liver oil, or algal oil (a vegetarian source).
Calcium with Vitamin D
Calcium, the most abundant mineral found in the body, plays a part in many body functions, including building bone tissue, supporting muscle and nerve function, and preventing kidney stones. Dietary sources of calcium include dairy, soy products such as soy milk and tofu, sardines, and hardy greens such as kale, bok choy, cabbage, and broccoli. As you age, calcium absorption decreases and supplementation may be required. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for women over 50 and men over 70 years old increases to 1,200 mg. Dietary calcium supplements often include additional Vitamin D and Vitamin K which which improve absorption of calcium from the gastrointestinal tract and its proper assimilation into the proper places in the body. Magnesium and other minerals like boron and silica are also often helpful for optimal absorption and distribution of calcium, to protect all of the tissues in the body rather than just the bones. Research has shown that calcium supplementation can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure), colon cancer, and bone fractures in aging adults.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble compound found in the heart, kidneys, liver, and pancreas. Levels of CoQ10 are depleted by age-related oxidative stress and statin use, a lipid-lowering medication. Statin drugs are commonly prescribed for primary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) in aging adults. CoQ10 supports cardiovascular health by providing energy to heart cells and protecting them from free radical damage, a sign of aging. CoQ10 supplementation can lower levels of inflammatory markers and improve cholesterol parameters, such as total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). CoQ10 supplement forms include ubiquinone, the oxidized form, and ubiquinol, the reduced form. Research has shown ubiquinol to be more effective at increasing levels of CoQ10 in the blood. Learn more about heart health and nutrition on the Fullscript blog.
Collagen, an essential structural component of the body, is found in connective tissues, such as skin, bone, cartilage, ligaments, hair, and blood vessels. It consists primarily of three amino acids, glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. Collagen is found naturally in foods such as bone broth, gelatin, eggs, and bone-in canned fish, such as salmon or sardines. Collagen supplements may be derived from different animal sources, including bovine (beef), chicken, marine, and natural eggshell membrane (NEM). Supplementing your diet with collagen can help alleviate joint pain in conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and activity-related joint pain. Collagen supplements can also help prevent skin aging, osteoporosis, and hypertension.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis)
Green tea is an antioxidant-rich fresh, grassy-tasting tea. Research has demonstrated that green tea can benefit memory, attention, and brain function. These effects may be partly attributed to the amino acid l-theanine. Green tea extract may help to improve a number of factors related to aging and chronic disease. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) is the major catechin, an antioxidant compound, found in green tea. Green tea extract supplements that contain EGCg and caffeine may be effective at increasing metabolism. Additionally, green tea improves markers for metabolic diseases, including reductions in blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) levels. The antioxidants in green tea may also have liver protective effects in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
High homocysteine levels, a biomarker of aging in the body, are linked to the development of coronary heart disease and stroke, reductions in grey matter in the brain, and poor cognitive function. The body requires certain nutrients, including pyridoxine (vitamin B6), folate (vitamin B9), and cobalamin (vitamin B12), to metabolize homocysteine. Research has shown that supplementation with B vitamins is effective in lowering homocysteine levels in the body. Dietary sources of B vitamins include liver, eggs, tuna, lamb, legumes, brown rice, nutritional yeast, milk, and yogurt. Learn more about vitamins for brain health and memory on the Fullscript blog.
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