Nutritional Supplements for Aging

Consumption of a high-quality multivitamin is recommended. Common nutritional deficiencies connected with aging include B vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, chromium, and trace minerals.

Since stomach acids may be decreased, powdered multivitamin formula in gelatin capsules are suggested, as this form is the easiest to digest. Such formulas may also contain enzymes for further help with digestion.

Antioxidants can help neutralize damage caused by free radical actions, which are thought to contribute to problems of aging. They are also helpful in preventing and treating cancer, and in treating cataracts and glaucoma. Supplements that serve as antioxidants include:

  • Vitamin E, 400–1,000 IUs daily. Protects cell membranes against damage. It shows promise in preventing heart disease, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
  • Selenium, 50 mg taken twice daily. Research suggests that selenium may play a role in reducing cancer risk.
  • Beta-carotene, 25,000–40,000 IUs daily. May help in treating cancer, colds and flu, arthritis, and immune support.
  • Vitamin C, 1,000–2,000 mg per day. It may cause diarrhea in large doses. The dosage should be decreased if this occurs.

Other supplements that are helpful in treating agerelated problems include:

  • B12/B-complex vitamins. Studies show that B12 may help reduce mental symptoms, such as confusion, memory loss, and depression.
  • Coenzyme Q10 may be helpful in treating heart disease. Up to 75% of cardiac patients have been found to lack this heart enzyme.

The following hormone supplements may be taken to prevent or treat various age-related problems. However, caution should be taken before beginning treatment, and the patient should consult his or her health care professional prior to hormone use.

  • DHEA improves brain functioning and serves as a building block for many other important hormones. It may be helpful in restoring hormone levels that have declined, building muscle mass, strengthening bones, and maintaining a healthy heart.
  • Melatonin may be helpful for insomnia. It has also been used to help fight viruses and bacterial infections, reduce the risk of heart disease, improve sexual function, and to protect against cancer.
  • Human growth hormone (hGH) has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels and to stimulate bone, cartilage, and muscle growth while reducing fat.