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While getting older is just a fact of life and something you can’t avoid, most of us want to make sure we’re doing all we can to feel and look our healthiest as each birthday passes by. It’s not all about erasing wrinkles, sagging skin, and gray hairs. If you want to do that, by all means, go for it. But you also want to make sure you’re doing all you can to take care of yourself as you age. That means eating well, staying active, and looking after your mental health.
Doing all of the above should be your main defense against the not-so-great effects of aging, but there are some other things you can try to ensure you’re going the extra mile when it comes to your health. One of those things to consider is taking supplements and vitamins that could help support the aging process.
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“Aging is a result of normal biological functioning where there are marked changes in our cells,” explains registered dietitian Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, of Brooklyn-based Maya Feller Nutrition. “The process of aging can be accelerated secondary to diseases. We do know that antioxidants from foods and some supplements may act in a protective manner, reducing cellular damage. The general recommendation is to reduce the intake of pro-inflammatory foods that exacerbate systemic inflammation.”
And while there isn’t a magic supplement or vitamin that can stop the aging process altogether and turn you into Benjamin Button, those antioxidants might make a big difference. Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, chef, nutritionist, Reiki master, and founder of the Culinary Alchemy program, says antioxidants balance out the effects of free radicals, which are naturally created by your body but also come from environmental factors like pollution, chemicals, and smoke. “If free radicals and antioxidants are out of balance in the body, it can cause oxidative stress, which plays a role in several age-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, dementia, cancer, atherosclerosis, vascular diseases, obesity, osteoporosis, and metabolic syndromes,” she adds.
Before you start buying all the anti-aging supplements out there, it’s important to note that they shouldn’t be your only solution. Again, healthy eating, exercise, and good lifestyle habits can really get you far. If you do decide to look into vitamins and supplements, it’s recommended to consult your doctor or a healthcare professional who knows your personal medical history. The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of money on a product and find out it’s going to hurt your body.
“Safe supplementation is key,” Feller says. “There is no one size that fits all, and any supplement recommendations need to be tailored to the individual based on their current health status as well as needs.”
And with that in mind, if you’re ready to learn more about which vitamins and supplements can help, the experts weighed in below.