The odd grey hair, wrinkles and grunting when you get up from the couch are the dreaded tell-tale signs that you’re not as young as you used to be. Stiffness in the morning, squinting to read the fine print and a general feeling that there’s less petrol in the daily tank will confirm what, secretly, you already know – you’re starting to age.
None of us are getting any younger and while it’s impossible to stop the march of time, there are certain nutrients, vitamins and minerals we can take to slow down the aging process and ensure we maintain good quality of life – cognitively and physically – into our senior years. And it’s never too late to start.
We’ve done the research and developed a short list of the top 5 supplements to slow down the biological aging process and give yourself the best shot at maintaining good health for many years to come.
Derived from turmeric (the root spice that makes curry yellow), curcumin has long been used in Ayurveda (traditional Indian) medicine to cure chronic diseases, increase immunity, treat allergies and reduce inflammation.
More recent studies have shown that curcumin greatly reduces oxidative stress, and this is important as oxidative stress is one of the key hallmarks of aging. Oxidative stress damages nuclear and mitochondrial DNA which in turn leads to cell death, an acceleration of the aging process and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, dementia, cancer, atherosclerosis, obesity, diabetes, vascular diseases and osteoporosis.
Inflammation is another leading cause of aging, and reducing inflammation is an area where curcumin excels. Animal studies have shown that curcumin supplementation extends both healthspan and lifespan in all subjects by blocking pro-inflammatory pathways in the body.
While there is a mountain of evidence pointing to the health benefits of curcumin, we also know that too much of the golden goodness can cause stomach upset, gastroesophageal reflux disease, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea, so it’s important to seek advice from your doctor before starting supplements.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a type of plant-based compound called catechins, that is found in high levels in green tea. It’s a potent antioxidant that works to reduce the level of free radicals in the body. When free radical levels are too high, cell damage occurs which accelerates the aging process.
One study meta analysis conducted in 2009 strongly suggests that long term consumption of EGCG could protect against the development of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases.
An animal study conducted in 2013 found that rats fed an EGCG supplement enjoyed an increased median life span of 14% compared to a control group. In addition, inflammation and oxidative stress in liver and kidney tissue was significantly lower in the group fed EGCG.
Other studies have shown that EGCG supplementation leads to a reduced risk of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease including plaque formation on the brain that leads to the development of Alzheimer’s.
Along with green tea, EGCG can also be found in black tea and oolong tea. People who are intolerant to tea (experiencing nausea or bloating) can still get EGCG through supplements prepared by a compounding pharmacist.
Not just for colds and flus, Vitamin C is a known powerful antioxidant that eats free radicals for breakfast.
A review conducted by the University of Genoa published in 2017, found that Vitamin C supplementation, “…appeared to halt cell growth, oxidative stress, telomere attrition, disorganization of chromatin, and excessive secretion of inflammatory factors, and extend lifespan.”
The review also found that when high levels of Vitamin C are present in the body, inflammation and immune system deterioration, associated with aging, were modulated.
This finding is backed up by a clinical study of elderly participants conducted in Spain. This study found that 6 months of Vitamin C supplementation improved the immune function of elderly people to that of a young adult.
Vitamin C can be found in all fruits and vegetables and is particularly high in Kakadu Plums, chilli peppers, black currants, guava and rockmelons. People who do not eat a lot of fruit and vegetables can get extra Vitamin C through supplements.
Like Vitamin C, Vitamin E is a formidable antioxidant and, when present in optimal levels, protects the body against oxidative stress. It’s also known that Vitamin E deficiency is associated with neurological decline.
A 2021 study concluded that increasing Vitamin E levels may decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The study found that levels of Vitamin E serum in people with these two diseases was generally found to be low and that increasing dietary and supplementary Vitamin E could protect against both diseases.
Vitamin E can be found in nuts, seeds, wheat germ oil, fish, avocado, mango and kiwi fruit. Supplements may need to be taken is Vitamin E levels are extremely low.
There is some evidence to suggest that, as we age, our ability to absorb magnesium from food diminishes, which can sometimes lead to magnesium deficiency. Boosting the amount of magnesium in our diets and through supplements may provide health benefits as we age.
Magnesium is vital to ensuring that mitochondria can produce energy efficiently and that this energy is transferred around the body, to where it’s needed, with equal efficiency. Magnesium deficiency reduces the body’s threshold for, and resistance to, free radical damage and also contributes to the kind of inflammation that’s associated with aging.
According to a 2021 review published in Nutrients magazine, chronic magnesium deficiency can lead to many health conditions in the elderly including cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and stroke, cardio-metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, airways constrictive syndromes and asthma, depression, stress-related conditions and psychiatric disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia syndromes, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, bone fragility, and cancer. The review’s authors say, “Maintaining an optimal Magnesium balance all through life may help in the prevention of oxidative stress and chronic conditions associated with aging.”
Note from National Custom Compounding – We regularly make up supplements to help our customers slow down the aging process and protect against diseases associated with aging. We can combine multiple supplements in one easy-to-take medication to help make your health care routine quick and easy.