Aging is an inevitable part of life, and unfortunately, chronological aging often comes with physical decline. The organs don’t always work as well as they once were able to, and bones and joints become more fragile. Fortunately, many vitamins and minerals can help alleviate these effects if taken properly— and all of them are naturally found in food! But when we’re not able to get the necessary intake from food, we can get what we need from vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Vitamins and Minerals
Many vitamins and minerals are synergistic, meaning that their nutritional effects are maximized when consuming both the vitamin and the mineral. Many synergistic vitamins and minerals have similar food sources, so when taking a supplement of a vitamin, it’s also necessary to supplement a mineral with it.
Vitamin A and Zinc
Vitamin A has long been thought to have positive effects on the eyes. Regular intake of vitamin A may have some success in preventing age-related eye disorders, such as macular degeneration. The mineral zinc also helps maintain eye health. Foods high in vitamin A include carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, apricots, and other orange and yellow vegetables and fruits. You can find zinc in meat, seeds, nuts, and dark chocolate.
B Vitamins and Folate
The B vitamins, particularly vitamins B12 and B6 have shown memory improvements in the elderly, though more research is needed to confirm that these vitamins help combat age-related memory loss. Both the B vitamins and their counterpart, folate (which is also good for brain function) are found in green vegetables, while you can also find B vitamins in meat (red meat, poultry, and seafood), dairy products, and eggs.
Vitamin C and Iron
Historically, vitamin C was used to treat scurvy, and more recently it’s more often used as an immune booster. In addition to these benefits, vitamin C may also be effective in treating both age-related vision loss and age-related memory loss. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, and bell peppers have high amounts of vitamin C. Iron also has positive effects on brain function, and it’s found in leafy greens, lentils, beans, and red meat.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Vitamin D is well-known for aiding in bone health, along with the mineral calcium. Vitamin D deficiency is actually a common occurrence, which could be a reason why our bones become more fragile as we age. A great source of vitamin D is the sun, just remember to wear SPF sunscreen when going outdoors. Dairy products, fish, and eggs are all other good sources of vitamin D and calcium. Magnesium and Vitamin K (both found in dark, leafy greens) should also be taken with vitamin D, as they work together to regulate vitamin D levels, while vitamin D helps to absorb calcium properly.
Vitamin E and Selenium
It’s a possibility that vitamin E is effective in lowering the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease, though maybe not completely preventing it. It can, however, slow the effects of the disease in people already suffering with it. Both vitamin E and selenium can be found in fatty fish and shrimp.
Other nutrients that aren’t considered a vitamin or a mineral are simply considered nutrients, though many botanical nutrients are referred to as herbal supplements. There are an endless number of both herbal and non-herbal supplements that have claims to combat aging, though more studies are needed before any significant claims can be made.
On the other hand, there has been extensive research done on a coenzyme known as NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide). The essential nutrient is naturally found in the human body and it is the most abundant nutrient in the body after water. NAD+ helps to slow down, and even reverse the aging process by helping control DNA damage— the main cause of aging. NAD+ is created from NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide), and NMN is the supplement to look for.
When considering taking any kind of supplement, whether it’s in the form of a vitamin, mineral, or other type of nutrient, remember to consult with your doctor first to ensure that a supplement is the best choice for you.