The quality of life and health status at an older age is influenced by a wide variety of factors.
To begin with, we all know that a healthy diet, adequate exercise, avoiding toxins, quality sleep, and stress reduction are of utmost importance. We also know how important it is to have a meaningful relationship, to feel your belonging to the team, not to sit at home and enjoy every moment of life here and now!
There is no magic pill that is guaranteed to allow you to live up to 100 years. However, there is a huge list of various factors that will help you live a long and healthy life. There are some key nutritional supplements on this list that — provided that you follow all the basic principles of a healthy lifestyle — will help protect your cells from damage and increase your lifespan.
14 anti-aging nutritional supplements
Resveratrol is one of my favorite anti-aging supplements. (And no, it’s not only because it is found in red wine!) Seriously, resveratrol is one of the most studied antioxidants. This is polyphenol, which is present in grapes, blueberries, raspberries, peanuts and yes … in wine. It has a number of useful properties: from improving control of blood sugar (1) to reducing inflammation (2) and helping to detoxify the body (3). And this is only a small part of its advantages. In addition, a compound known as pterostilbene (which is a metabolite of resveratrol) can be even more effective than resveratrol itself.
2. Fish oil
Fish oil is another important and necessary product when it comes to longevity. All thanks to its well-studied anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3 is a healthy type of fat that helps reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease (4). There are even specialized mediators derived from fish oil that help reduce inflammation and potentially help in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases, sepsis, pancreatitis and other conditions. At the moment, additional studies are still needed to confirm all the beneficial properties of this substance. However, this is definitely an incredibly interesting area of research that should not be ignored.
Another favorite of mine is ginger. For centuries, it has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions. It contains many useful components, such as gingerol, shogaol and paradol, which have antioxidant, antitumor and anti-inflammatory properties (5). Ginger is a relatively safe way to prevent chronic diseases. And personally, I often use it in my practice!
4. Nicotinamide Riboside
Nicotinamide riboside is a form of vitamin B3 (niacin) that functions as a precursor of NAD + or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (an important coenzyme found in our cells). It is also believed that he is involved in the work of signaling pathways in the body and the work of neurotransmitters. We can assume that nicotinamide riboside is an activator of NAD +. It performs many important functions, including improving blood sugar and lipid balance, as well as increasing the life expectancy in some animals and maintaining lean body mass.
According to available data, due to its ability to improve cardiac function, nicotinamide riboside is useful in certain types of cardiomyopathy (6). Another recent study showed that nicotinamide riboside may be a useful supplement to protect the brain from the development of Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases (7). Despite some conflicting data regarding the use of nicotinamide riboside, it certainly gives the impression of a worthwhile supplement to combat the signs of aging, especially given data confirming its powerful protective properties.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is currently a hot topic of discussion. Some people think that vitamin D is not “just” a vitamin, but something more powerful, akin to hormones. According to available data, in certain populations, vitamin D reduces the risk of death (8). After all, we all know that a deficiency of this vitamin is associated with a number of cancers, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) plays a significant role in the energy conversion cycle of mitochondria, which are the source of energy for cells. Some studies have shown that a deficiency of this important carrier of electrons and protons can be associated with neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, cancer, fibromyalgia, muscle damage, and heart disease (9).
7. Grape Seed Extract
Grape seed extract is a powerful antioxidant. One recent study has shown that it helps protect the body from cellular dysfunction that can occur as a result of exposure to the BPA toxin (Bisphenol A) (10). Another study showed that grape seed extract is not only an antioxidant, but also an effective anti-inflammatory supplement (11).
Alpha lipoic acid has been studied since the 1950s. All thanks to its significant role in energy metabolism and the protection of cells from mitochondrial dysfunction caused by reactive oxygen species. It is a very important and healthy antioxidant. A healthy person’s body is usually able to produce enough of this important substance that enhances other key antioxidants, such as glutathione, vitamin C and vitamin E. However, with age, the level of alpha-lipolic acid in our body decreases, which can lead to endothelial or cellular dysfunction (12). This is one of the key supplements that should not be forgotten, especially with age.
9. Adaptogenic mushrooms
For a long time, medicinal mushrooms have been used to strengthen the immune system, as well as fight inflammation and even cancer. Is this just PR? Probably not. A recent study showed that Shiitake mushrooms increase immunity and promote better cell proliferation (13). According to Dr. Andrew Weil, there are many healthy varieties of mushrooms that can protect our cells from damage (14). A joint intake of some of them in the form of an additive from a mixture of mushrooms can have a mutually reinforcing effect.
10. Milk Thistle
Spotted milk thistle is a herb that I always have in my house. It is known as a tonic for the liver. In addition, it enhances the body’s ability to detoxify. It was found that it stimulates the immune system and can be useful for strengthening immunity in infectious diseases (15). This is a key supplement that helps protect cells (particularly liver cells) from damage.
Curcumin is another extremely useful herbaceous plant that I also often use in my practice. Animal studies have shown that curcumin and one of its metabolites contribute to longevity (16). It is believed that this positive effect is associated with its ability to regulate the reaction to oxidative stress and certain genes associated with the aging process. In addition, curcumin can be useful in the fight against obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, as well as in various types of cancer, fatty liver, arthritis, skin diseases, inflammation of the digestive tract and even PMS! (17)
12. Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola)
Studies have shown that Centella asiatica is useful for diabetes and for wound healing. It has antimicrobial properties, and also protects the brain from harmful effects and helps strengthen memory. These beneficial properties are usually associated with flavonoids, phenolic compounds and triterpenes contained in this plant.
Ginseng is an absolutely necessary supplement when it comes to combating age-related effects and protecting the brain from age-related changes (18). This is the most widely used plant in the world and helps strengthen our ability to withstand a number of serious disorders and diseases (19). Ginseng is believed to have a wide spectrum of effects, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and strengthens memory. In addition, it helps with obesity, diabetes, allergies, certain types of tumors, and sexual dysfunction.
Astragalus is one of the most popular Chinese plants. It is used as an immunostimulant, an antioxidant, a means to protect the liver, as well as an antidiabetic, anticancer and diuretic agent (20). Research also suggests that it is able to protect our mitochondria from exposure to reactive oxygen species. It definitely looks like a key herbal supplement to protect cells from damage (21). Since energy depletion and increased oxidative stress lead to the aging process, and this plant seems to be a defense against all these problems, it has been suggested that astragalus has an anti-aging effect. (22)