Dr. NirBarzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, believes that supplements can have a positive impact on health. However, the effectiveness of supplements in promoting a long and healthy life is not straightforward and should be personalized based on individual biology.
Barzilai and other leading longevity experts emphasize that the ideal supplement regimen should be unique to each person and each moment in time. This approach should be driven by the biology of your body and not just by a one-size-fits-all routine.
Dr. Andrea Maier, who co-directs the Centre for Healthy Longevity at the National University of Singapore, also recommends supplements to some of her patients. However, she takes a personal and scientific approach to prescribing them, as research has shown that many supplements do not live up to their label claims and people react differently to each pill.
As we grow older, our body’s capacity to absorb nutrients tends to decline. Consequently, incorporating supplements into one’s routine, when used thoughtfully, can potentially enhance longevity in various aspects.
Let’s explore five scientifically supported supplements that have gained attention and their potential benefits for aging bodies.
A wide array of aging and longevity experts, including immunologist Anthony Fauci and biohacker Bryan Johnson, advocate for the use of a particular supplement. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in maintaining bone density by facilitating the conversion of calcium into strength.
Typically, the primary source of vitamin D is sunlight, and during the winter months when sun exposure is limited, many individuals opt for vitamin D supplements. Alternatively, one can derive vitamin D from a diet rich in fatty fish like salmon, fortified milk, and egg yolks.
Although Dr. Barzilai acknowledges having low vitamin D levels, he chooses not to supplement this nutrient. According to him, vitamin D primarily aids in preventing osteoporosis. Despite his low vitamin D levels, bone scans indicate robust bone density, leading him to believe that supplementation is unnecessary in his case.
Fish oil stands out as a formidable guardian of heart health, enriched with ample omega-3 fatty acids that contribute to cholesterol improvement. Additionally, there is some indication that its anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for preventing and alleviating arthritis-related swelling and pain.
Notably, omega-3s can also be obtained from alternative sources such as walnuts, salmon, or tuna. Opting for omega-3-rich foods like fish and nuts not only ensures a holistic intake of these essential fatty acids but also introduces a plethora of other nutrients. Nuts, for instance, are rich in fiber, magnesium, and vitamin B6, while salmon enhances vitamin D and vitamin B12 stores, offering a well-rounded nutritional boost.
NAD+ boosters, such as NR
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) plays a pivotal role as an enzyme in the energy production process within our body. Its functions include maintaining tissue health, supporting DNA repair, and enhancing immune function and metabolism.
Nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) are precursors believed to boost NAD+ production, gaining popularity as antiaging supplements. However, the US Food and Drug Administration, recognizing NMN as a potential drug under investigation, has prohibited its marketing as a dietary supplement. On the other hand, NR remains permissible as a supplement, with some studies indicating promising anti-inflammatory properties that could contribute to healthy aging. Further research focused on populations with NAD+ deficiencies is necessary to definitively determine the potential benefits of NR for those who may benefit the most from the supplement.
Found naturally in vibrant strawberries, persimmons, onions, and apples, this chemical compound is a potent inflammation combatant. It has the potential to eliminate accumulated old and toxic cells that often build up with age.
Renowned longevity researcher Paul Robbins attests to its efficacy, taking it every two weeks for relief in his “cranky” knee. Fisetin has garnered excitement among aging researchers for its potential to address diverse conditions, including arthritis and Alzheimer’s. Nevertheless, many experts advise caution, urging individuals to await further research over the next few years to better understand the benefits and potential risks before considering its use at home.
Magnesium stands out as a remarkable mineral, playing a crucial role in sustaining the well-being of muscles, bones, nerves, blood pressure, and cellular health.
Renowned longevity expert Peter Attia incorporates various forms of magnesium into his daily routine to support healthy aging. However, obtaining an adequate amount of magnesium is achievable through a nutritious plant-based diet, rich in dark leafy greens like spinach, as well as bananas, avocados, nuts, and beans.
Experts advise fine-tuning your diet and exercise routine
There isn’t a universally endorsed supplement protocol among aging experts. However, they unanimously advocate for a healthful, plant-centric diet abundant in nuts, legumes, fruits, and vegetables to effectively support aging bodies.
Interestingly, despite this consensus, over half of American adults still turn to supplements. According to Maier, this inclination is often driven by a desire to alleviate anxiety, offering a sense of control over health in a country where no FDA-approved drugs exist for antiaging, and no supplements are recommended to prevent prevalent age-related diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Maier herself doesn’t rely on supplements, attributing her nutritional needs to a healthy vegan diet. On the other hand, Barzilai takes a specific homocysteine supplement containing folic acid and vitamin B, addressing a genetic imbalance he has. He emphasizes the distinction between targeted supplementation for individual needs and the casual adoption of any vitamin based on general recommendations.