As we age our bodies simply do not perform as well as they used to. But aging does not have to mean poor health. Many “age-related” ailments stem from a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and chronic stress. Many folks have no interest in fixing their health problems because that’s “too hard.” They go the doctor and get a pill since that’s easy. If that’s you, read no farther. But if you are genuinely interested in maintaining good health naturally as you age, read on. Here in Part 1, I will focus on supplementation for general health, leaving performance enhancement and more specific disease preventative topics for later articles.
A common argument against supplements is that we should get our vitamins and minerals from a good diet. It would be great if that worked. But much, if not most, of our produce and meat comes from depleted soil. Sure, the farmers fertilize, but typically only with potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. If the essential minerals aren’t there to begin with the plants, and by extension grazing animals, won’t provide them either. Some areas simply don’t have the minerals we need. If you live in the South, it’s likely that you are zinc deficient. That can make you crave salt, among other things. Care to guess which part of the US has the highest blood pressure?
Most of us know how important vitamins are. But vitamin supplementation is especially important if you live on the Standard American Diet. There’s a reason its initials are SAD. I ate poorly when I was young; fast, processed and junk foods. I knew I was eating crap, so I took a high-quality men’s multivitamin to compensate. As I aged I found that wasn’t enough. By 45, old knee and shoulder joint injuries flared up interfering with my workouts and general quality of life. But I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel and become a middle-aged couch potato like so many of my contemporaries.
I did some research and tried a Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM supplement. After about six months the joint pain was gone and I still use that supplement. At nearly 60, I can squat and dead-lift with no knee pain. I perform strict Military presses with no shoulder joint pain. That success led me to explore other natural remedies and preventatives and my supplement stack grew.
If what I am about to share seems like a lot, consider that I am seldom sick. I am in better physical condition now than I was in my thirties and I seldom have any reason to go to the doctor. The money I spend on supplements is a fraction of what many of my contemporaries spend on doctor visits and prescriptions. The difference, besides the money, is I don’t suffer from side effects.
Please note: This list is based my own research, personal experience and opinion; it is not to be taken as health advice. I encourage you to do your own research. There are numerous studies published on the Web; I encourage you to read them. I am not affiliated with or compensated by any companies I may mention in this article; I am only a customer.
Part 1 – Essential Supplements
NOW “Adam” multivitamin – this is a two a day vitamin (morning / evening) with other men’s health supplements included. There are numerous high quality men’s multivitamins on the market. I happen to like this one based on formulation and quality. If I was only allowed to take one supplement and nothing else, this would be the one.
Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM – 2X / day – morning / evening. Various studies on this differ. Some show a benefit for arthritis and others do not. I had long term joint injuries. I don’t know if they were arthritic, but this works for me. I use NOW brand because their product contains what the label says (as independently verified by Consumer Reports) and it is moderately priced.
Saw Palmetto Extract – 160 mg 2X / day– morning / evening. Around 50 I was getting up to pee two or three times a night and noticed reduced flow. I started taking Saw Palmetto extract. I noticed a significant improvement in flow within a few weeks. Now I only get up once at night (I drink a lot of water to avoid kidney stones). This doesn’t work for everyone, but if you are having issues it’s worth a try.
Turmeric Curcumin with Black Pepper Extract – 750 mg 2X / day– morning / evening. This is a very effective anti-oxidant, improves brain function, helps prevent heart disease and cancer (it may even be a cancer treatment since it reduces angiogenesis). Curcumin can cross the blood brain barrier and helps clear the Amyloid plaques seen with Alzheimer’s. It is more effective in treating arthritis than NSAIDs and is a natural antidepressant.
Fish Oil – 300 mg 2x / day – morning / evening. The documented benefits are numerous: reduced risk of heart disease, anti-inflammatory, improved brain function, preserves eye health and vision, aids with fat loss and liver fat reduction, promotes healthy skin and helps reduce anxiety, depression and ADHD.
Olive Leaf Extract – 20% Oleoropein, 750mg 2x/day – morning / evening. A study in Europe on identical twins showed this reduces blood pressure and cholesterol. I was diagnosed with hypertension in 2013, made some lifestyle changes and added this to my supplement regimen. My blood pressure is back where it was in my twenties with no prescription drugs (or their side effects).
Zinc Gluconate – 50mg 1x/day – evening. This promotes healing, strengthens the immune system and can help lower blood pressure. In men, zinc deficiency reduces testosterone and can lead to erectile dysfunction. In one study, older men who were given a zinc supplement doubled their testosterone levels. A significant portion of the US population, especially in the South, is zinc deficient.
Vitamin D3 – 5,000 IU 2x/day – morning / evening. The “sunshine vitamin” is important for your immune system, regulating calcium and phosphorous absorption, fighting heart disease, multiple sclerosis, flu and even regulating mood helping to control depression. This one is tricky because it is a fat-soluble vitamin and is more difficult for your body to eliminate. At 10,000 IU per day, I take the upper dosage limit. More than that can cause hypercalcemia (elevated blood calcium levels). At 5,000 IU most people within the 125 – 200 lb. weight range should be fine. Ideally you would have a blood test to confirm your D3 levels and adjust the dosage accordingly.
Vitamin K2 – 100mcg – 1x/day – morning. If you are going to take high dosage vitamin D3, take K2 with it. K2 promotes calcification of bone and helps prevent calcification of soft tissue (like your artery walls).
Magnesium Citrate – 400mg, 1x / day – evening. Magnesium is involved in numerous chemical processes in the body. It helps stop insulin resistance, reduces the frequency of migraines, fights inflammation, has an anti-depressant effect, improves energy for exercise, aids lactic acid removal, improves sleep quality, maintains high bone density and even helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
That’s it for Part 1. In Part 2 I will cover what I consider to be non-essential supplements, but important for disease prevention and improved quality of life.