Aging isn’t an illness, and we should not assume that pain and disease are an inevitable part of it. However, as we age, the needs of our body changes as well.
As we age, many of us start to experience negative health symptoms. It’s important that we listen to those symptoms as it’s our body’s way of sending us a message that a change needs to be made.
Many of these symptoms have to do with nutrient deficiencies. Why?
This is because as we age, our bodies don’t absorb the nutrients from our food as well as we once did. Our systems begin to slow down and become less efficient. Making sure our bodies can utilize the correct amount of nutrients becomes very important for cellular repair so that we can look and feel our best.
I always recommend getting as much of your nutrient needs from foods as possible. However, in reality, this is very difficult.
Some of the reasons for this include:
- Reduced soil quality has resulted in fewer nutrients in our food ingredients.
- High stress levels create a higher demand for nutrients.
- High levels of toxins in our environment mean that our body requires additional nutrients to help with detoxification.
- Medications that we take and those in our food supply (e.g. antibiotics) has created imbalances in our gut microbiome that has compromised our ability to absorb nutrients from our food.
The following list is a selection of nutrients that are important as we age. You won’t need all of them as a supplement. Please remember that supplements are meant to supplement (not replace) an already healthy diet.
Also, everyone’s symptoms and needs are different and require a different balance of nutrients. Some supplements can interact with prescribed medications. For these reasons, you should consult with your healthcare practitioner before adding any supplementation to your diet.
I have put digestive support at the top of the list because the root cause of many conditions is traced to poor digestive health. Digestion can be improved by taking bitters and digestive enzymes to help with the adequate breakdown of food. Probiotics are also beneficial to help improve your gut microbiome.
Antioxidants are important as they perform important functions in the body. For example, alpha-lipoic-acid can help with diabetes and liver function. Vitamin C is a powerful immune enhancer and vitamin E fights cellular aging by protecting the cell membrane. Vitamin E also improves circulation.
In addition to vitamin E, there are a number of important nutrients for the heart. Coenzyme Q10 aids circulation and is heart protective. As we age, we tend to have 50% less CoQ10 than our younger selves. Omega 3 essential fatty acids protect the heart and keep plaque from adhering to arteries. Magnesium is another important nutrient for the heart as higher plasma magnesium levels are associated with lower heart disease risk.
Omega 3’s mentioned above are also essential for proper brain function. And B vitamins are necessary for the formation of certain proteins for proper cognitive functioning. The B vitamins are also well known to help us produce energy from the macronutrients we are consuming. And, keeping digestion optimized is important for the brain given the connection between the gut and brain health (see digestive section above and the link here).
Bone health is something that many of us start to think about as we age. Lifestyle factors (such as weight-bearing exercise) are important. There are also some specific nutrients that work together with calcium to better support our bone health. For instance, vitamin D enhances calcium absorption and bone formation and magnesium is needed to balance with calcium for proper muscle and heart function.
Grape seed extract is a powerful free radical scavenger and is shown to be beneficial for a number of age-related health conditions. N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) is an important glutathione precursor, which is a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier. It also enhances brain function and mood.
This is just a selection of useful nutrients in aging. Depending on your symptoms, other nutrients may be relevant for you.
Nutrients in the form of supplements can be helpful for the management of certain symptoms but are not a replacement for a healthy diet and lifestyle. Also, it’s important to remember that many of our symptoms took years to develop and it usually takes some time to resolve them as well. So, taking a therapeutic amount of a particular nutrient for a sufficient length of time is often necessary to see results.
Not sure which nutrients are right for you? Please book a free call with Bonnie here to learn more about what working together would look like and determine if it is right for you.