Supplements in the shape of a vitamin pill

These Vitamins Might Help Slow the Aging Process

These nutrients are packed with age-fighting powers.
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Aging is a guaranteed part of life. Even with all the advancements in health and wellness these days, scientists have still not found the antidote to aging, according to a 2021 study published in the journal Nature (1), the aging process is “unstoppable.” The good news: you can age well by staying active, eating a healthy diet, and taking the right anti-aging vitamins and supplements that support the aging process.

“Supplements are a great first step to support longevity and improved health and wellness for men,” says Roseanne Schnell, CDN, Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist for The Vitamin Shoppe. “Men have specific health challenges such as heart disease, stroke, COPD, and diabetes,” she says. The conditions are heavily influenced by lifestyle factors—including getting the proper nutrients.

Let’s be clear: there’s no single supplement or vitamin that will add years to your life. But there are ones that can slow down parts of the aging process.

Related: The 5 Top Supplements for Muscle Building, Plus 2 to Skip

What Causes Aging?

Aging is complex and is influenced by countless factors. On a cellular level (1), DNA, telomeres (caps at the end of chromosomes), mitochondria, and proteins deteriorate or stop functioning as well as they once did. But lifestyle and environmental factors are also at play. Among them:

Poor Nutrient Intake

“Malnutrition is associated (2) with accelerated aging,” says Brittany Michels, MS, RDN, LDN, registered dietitian nutritionist for The Vitamin Shoppe. “Eating habits, as well as digestion, absorption, and usage of nutrients from food, change as we age and increase risk of malnutrition.”

Free Radicals

Free radicals can speed up the aging process by damaging cells and DNA. Antioxidants like vitamin A, C and E can help fight the damaging effects of these free radicals, says Valdez. They can also help prevent age-related diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Inflammation

As we age, our bodies have consistently higher levels of inflammation-causing molecules (3) that can exacerbate the aging process and lead to chronic disease. Supplements such as calcium and omega 3 can make you feel younger due to their ability to reduce inflammation, says Valdez. These nutrients also help build and support healthy bones, skin, and muscle function.

The Best Anti-Aging Vitamins

Looking to add some supplements to your regimen? Here are nine of the best, according to registered dietitians.

1. Multivitamin

If you’re not taking a multivitamin already, now is the time to start for its anti-aging benefits.

“A multivitamin covers a wide array of baseline nutrient needs. It’s one of the most comprehensive supplements to add to your daily regimen, to ensure the majority of baselines are met,” says Michels. Look for one that contains antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, which scavenge free radicals that cause damage to cells and accelerate aging.

“A multivitamin is excellent to take, especially if you don’t have a balanced diet,” says Valdez. “Although the primary anti-aging vitamins and minerals are A, C, E, omega 3 fatty acids, and calcium, the body requires other vitamins and minerals to function harmoniously.”

Expert Pick:

2. Magnesium

“Magnesium is a mineral needed in over 300 processes in the body, including blood pressure and blood sugar management, protein synthesis, nerve function, and immune support,” says Michels. And if you sweat when you work out, it’s even more critical.

“Magnesium becomes depleted with stress and sweat, and is found to increase an inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein when levels are low,” says Michels. “Low dietary intake, coupled with depletion from stress and sweat, make this a top deficient nutrient.”

Per the National Institutes of Health, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men is 400-420mg.

According to Michels, look for a supplement containing up to 400 mg of magnesium glycinate, a form of magnesium that has been found to promote bone health, manage blood sugar in people with diabetes, and maintain normal heart rhythms.

“Consult with a nutrition expert for dosing recommendations if you have low dietary intake, high stress or sweat levels, or suffer from any chronic illness,” says Michels.

Expert Pick:

3. Zinc

Like magnesium, zinc is a mineral involved in more than 300 cellular reactions that take place daily, says Schnell. “Zinc plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, prostate function, and wound healing,” says Michels. “According to research, older people have a harder time absorbing dietary zinc.” So taking a zinc supplement is important, especially as you age.

Per the National Institutes of Health, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men is 11mg. Look for a supplement with up to 15-30mg of supplemental elemental zinc per day.

“Double-check your multivitamin, as many cover baseline zinc needs,” she says. “Consult with a nutrition expert if supplementing long term.”

Expert Pick:

4. Omega 3s

Adding an omega 3 supplement is critical to fighting inflammation, which can be caused by stress, a “huge factor that can lead to accelerated aging (4),” notes Valdez. So if you’re not taking an omega 3 supplement, you’re missing out on this anti-aging vitamin all-star.

“Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory fatty acids that play a significant role in heart and brain disease prevention,” says Michels. Most of us don’t get enough omega 3s because we don’t eat enough of the foods that are packed with them, including seafood (especially fatty fish like salmon and trout) and plant-based sources like algae.

Schnell adds that omega 3s also provide the essential fatty acids to support eye and joint health.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men is 1.1g.

According to Michels, men should aim for three servings of low-mercury seafood weekly. Salmon and oyster averse? Supplement with a minimum of 1,200-2,000mg of combined EPA & DHA omega 3s.

One caveat: “Consult with a nutrition expert for dosing recommendations if taking any blood-thinning medications or considering higher levels,” says Michels.

Expert Pick:

5. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin responsible for calcium absorption. It also helps with maintaining healthy levels of testosterone, something you may be concerned with as you age.

“Testosterone is the main male sex hormone that regulates muscle and fat mass, sex drive, fertility, red blood cell production,” says Michels. “Low levels of vitamin D are linked to depression, erectile dysfunction, and immune function.”

What’s more, vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, and immunity issues—conditions that can speed up aging if they’re not prevented or managed, says Valdez. Yet another reason Vitamin D ends up on our list of anti-aging vitamins.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men is 600-800 IU’s. But Michels notes that it is very difficult to meet needs from food alone, and if you’re not getting direct exposure to sunshine, you are at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency.

What you may need in a vitamin D supplement may vary, though. “I normally recommend 1,000-5,000 IU’s /d for men, considering what you get in your multivitamin, through diet and sun exposure,” says Schnell.

Expert Pick:

6. Essential amino acids (EAAs)

Essential amino acids (EAAs) are the building blocks of protein. So if you’re trying to maintain muscle as you age—after the age of 30, the average male loses three to five percent muscle mass per decade—or even see gains at the gym, you might want to consider a supplement.

There are nine essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. “This group of amino acids are mostly responsible for muscle protein, connective tissue, and skin synthesis,” says Schnell.

Besides crucial muscle benefits, EAAs also support vital body functions including the production of hormones and neurotransmitters.

Foods that contain all nine essential amino acids are referred to as complete proteins. Common sources of complete proteins include meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. But it can be tricky for men to get their recommended daily intake from food alone.

“Many of my male clients have a low protein breakfast or skip a meal with their hectic schedules, making it very difficult to meet their daily protein goal with lunch and dinner meals alone,” adds Schnell.

She notes that there are no set guidelines on dosage for these anti-aging vitamins, but that they are usually measured in grams, and that there is a large range of doses of EAA’s depending on your muscle mass, activity, activity level, and desired results. But the recommended dosages are anywhere from 3-15 grams 1-3 times per day.

Expert Pick:

7. Vitamin C

Not only does vitamin C help support a healthy immune system, but it also does wonders to ward off aging.

“As a strong antioxidant, vitamin C can protect against the harmful free radicals that promote aging,” says Valdez. “This vitamin can also help keep you looking younger by repairing damaged skin cells and stimulating collagen formation.” (Collagen plays a role in strengthening the skin and keeping it elastic and hydrated)

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men is 75-90mg.

According to Valdez, men should supplement with 90 mg per day.

Expert Pick:

8. Calcium

Of course, healthy bones are incredibly important when it comes to aging and warding off bone disease, like osteoporosis. And while bone (and teeth) health may first come to mind when you think of calcium, its benefits aren’t limited to your bones and organs.

“Calcium supports skin health and structure,” says Valdez. That’s because calcium works to help with cell turnover, and also helps your skin maintain moisture.

Per the National Institutes of Health, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men is 1,000-1,300mg. According to Valdez, men should be supplementing 1,300 mg per day.

Expert Pick:

9. Collagen peptides

Collagen peptides have been making waves in recent years for their ability to bolster hair, skin, and nails, which is why many refer to them as one of the best anti-aging supplements.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, but as we age, our collagen production declines. So supplementing with collagen peptides can support healthy aging. “Collagen is insoluble and is not able to be digested. “It is broken down by hydrolysis, and collagen peptides are formed that are easily dissolved (even in cold water) and absorbed/digested,” says Schnell.

She notes that there are no set guidelines on dosage for collagen peptide supplements, but collagen peptides are usually measured in grams, and dosage depends on the reason for supplementation (ex: some people take higher doses when supporting joint health). But the recommended dosages are normally between 6-20 grams per day.

Expert Pick:

10. Curcumin

This bright yellow supplement (also known as turmeric) is on every list of anti-aging vitamins these days, and for good reason.

“Curcumin is the bioactive compound in turmeric that displays antioxidant activity. It promotes the synthesis of glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant, which protects cells from free radical damage that causes aging,” says Michels.

Per the Cleveland Clinic, doctors recommend taking 1,000 mg per day.

Expert Pick:

How to Find Quality Supplements

Before we get to that list, one caveat: Vitamins and supplements are not regulated for safety and effectiveness by the Food & Drug Administration. That means the ingredients (and their quality) are up to independent companies and manufacturers. This can get tricky (and possibly dangerous) for consumers to pick the best, highest-quality ones. (The FDA has also created a short check-list of things to consider before taking a supplement.)

One way to choose a quality supplement that has undergone quality testing: look for a USP (United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) seal on your supplements, which indicates the products’ ingredients are accurate and free of toxins, says Jonathan Valdez, RDN, owner of Genki Nutrition and spokesperson for New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That’s because the FDA itself relies on standards developed by the USP, so it’s a solid way to guarantee quality. Plus, the USP Dietary Supplement Verification Program is a voluntary testing and auditing program that supplement manufacturers can do to guarantee quality for consumers. So it’s a win-win for everyone. (The  supplements in this article are USP Verified.)

The Bottom Line

While no vitamin or nutrient can turn back the clock, some vitamins have properties that support the aging process. Ask your doctor whether taking one of the above anti-aging vitamins could help you as you age.
References:
  1. Colchero, F., Aburto, J.M., Archie, E.A. et al. The long lives of primates and the ‘invariant rate of ageing’ hypothesis. Nat Commun 12, 3666 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23894-3
  2. López-Otín, Carlos et al. “The hallmarks of aging.” Cell vol. 153,6 (2013): 1194-217. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2013.05.039
  3. Bardon LA, Corish CA, Lane M, Bizzaro MG, Loayza Villarroel K, Clarke M, Power LC, Gibney ER, Dominguez Castro P. Ageing rate of older adults affects the factors associated with, and the determinants of malnutrition in the community: a systematic review and narrative synthesis. BMC Geriatr. 2021 Dec 4;21(1):676. doi: 10.1186/s12877-021-02583-2. PMID: 34863118; PMCID: PMC8642873.
  4. Chung, Hae Young et al. “Redefining Chronic Inflammation in Aging and Age-Related Diseases: Proposal of the Senoinflammation Concept.” Aging and disease vol. 10,2 367-382. 1 Apr. 2019, doi:10.14336/AD.2018.0324
  5. Yegorov, Yegor E et al. “The Link between Chronic Stress and Accelerated Aging.” Biomedicines vol. 8,7 198. 7 Jul. 2020, doi:10.3390/biomedicines8070198

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