Table of Contents
- Causes of Aging
- Anti-aging supplements
The Underlying Causes of AgingIt’s widely recognized today that most, if not all, health threats arise due to inflammation. This constant onslaught of environmental and lifestyle threats—pollution, physical and mental stress, poor diet, unhealthy habits—causes whole-body inflammation. This response is common after a lifetime of wear and tear, and it results in aches, pains, wrinkles, higher disease risk, and other signs that we typically associate with aging. Fortunately, there’s a simple, easy way to tell if chronic inflammation is threatening your health. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance produced by your liver to combat inflammation. High levels of CRP in the bloodstream are associated with a variety of bad news illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. The good news is that your CRP level is easy to check. A simple blood test—you don’t even have to fast the night before—and you get your score. A CRP score below 1 means you’re inflammation-free. But scores even a fraction of a point above 1 signal trouble. If CRP remains elevated for months at a time, that’s the very definition of chronic inflammation producing a serious fire, in the form of heart disease, cancer, or something just as troubling. And there’s another cause of aging that is just now starting to be understood. Research is starting to show that your biological age (as opposed to your chronological age) is strongly determined by the length of your
CurcuminIf you’ve ever enjoyed an Indian or yellow curry you’ve ingested a good dose of the spice turmeric. This beautiful golden spice is the gracious source of the supplement curcumin—the ultimate anti-aging supplement. It’s been used medicinally for centuries. Today’s science has proven why. Thousands of studies on curcumin echo the findings of a report in the journal Advanced Experimental Medical Biology, which says: “Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has the potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses.” Curcumin is known for its outstanding ability to reduce inflammation. Here are just a few of the studies that have shown this:
- In one study, one month of curcumin supplements significantly reduced C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. This study used curcumin with enhanced absorption, meaning it’s combined with another substance to help your body use it to its fullest strength. That’s an important feature you should look for when purchasing a curcumin supplement.
- Another study concluded that a daily dose of 2,000 mg of curcumin was as effective as 800 mg of ibuprofen for relieving pain and inflammation in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Omega-3 Fatty AcidsIt’s been shown time and again that a diet high in the omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs), EPA and DHA, can help dramatically reduce inflammation. EFAs can also help boost healthy HDL—“good” cholesterol—while lowering dangerous triglycerides. In addition, they can help lower blood pressure. They’re even helpful for promoting strong, healthy, young-looking hair, skin, and nails. Bonus? Omega-3s have been shown to help balance mood, boost cognitive function, and improve overall brain health. And why not? Looking that good makes you feel great. Omega-3 EFAs are called essential because we need them to survive, yet the body can’t produce them. They must come from diet. Unfortunately, depending on your diet, getting adequate EFAs these days is kind of sketchy. They’re abundant in cold water fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, herring, and mackerel, and in certain types of algae, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts (for their healthy oils). But considering the state of the world’s polluted waters, the safer option is to take it in supplement form. To get the most from omega-3s, take 1,250-1,500 mg of EPA and DHA daily.
Vitamin DResearch on the benefits of vitamin D continues to mount, with studies showing it can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, neurodegenerative diseases, various forms of cancer, diabetes, and the list goes on. As of late, research has even shown that vitamin D has protective effects on telomeres. In one study, researchers wanted to see how vitamin D supplementation affected telomere length in patients on kidney dialysis. Naturally these people would have shorter-than-normal telomeres. However, those taking vitamin D had greater telomere length compared to those who were not. In another study of 2,160 women, blood levels of vitamin D were positively associated with longer telomere length, regardless of factors such as age, menopausal status, use of hormones, and physical activity. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common—so much so that many doctors now check vitamin D status with routine blood tests. Adequate levels range from 40-80 ng/ml, and adults should take about 5,000 IU per day to reach and maintain that level. If you take a supplement, be sure to choose D3, the form your body can absorb and use most efficiently. Of course, the cheapest and most reliable way to get your daily dose of D is through sunlight. Vitamin D is known as “the sunshine vitamin” because your body produces it in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Going outside for 10-20 minutes in the midday sun without
Other Anti-Aging SupplementsSupplementing with curcumin, omega-3s, and vitamin D is an excellent—and effective—way to slow down the aging process. Start with those three, and if you want to add other anti-inflammatory, telomere-supportive nutrients to the mix, try vitamin B12, CoQ10, and polyphenols such as resveratrol and green or black tea. While, unfortunately, nothing can stop us from getting older, we can look—and more importantly, feel—younger and more energetic by adding these anti-aging supplements to our daily routines.
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