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Many people live well into their 80s — and beyond. As the body ages, however, various systems slow down, and the risk of disease increases. Even though you can’t stop time, you can forestall some of the negative effects of aging with a healthy lifestyle and well-chosen supplements.
Slowing of cognitive processes: difficulty accessing memory and learning and remembering new people and events.
Sensory decline: delay in refocusing eyes and impaired ability to hear high-pitched sounds.
Weakened immune system: increased susceptibility to colds, the flu, and other illnesses.
Decline in muscle and bone mass.
Increased risk of developing heart disease and cancer.
When You Call Your Doctor: :
You need a complete physical every year after age 50. See your doctor right away, however, if you are concerned about the risk of age-related diseases.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
What It Is:
Put simply, aging is the process of growing old. Every part of the body is affected: Among other changes, hair turns gray, skin wrinkles, joints and muscles lose flexibility, bones become weak, memory declines, eyesight diminishes, and immunity is impaired.
What Causes It:
Cells in the body divide a set number of times; then they die and are replaced by new cells. With age, this process slows, and a progressive deterioration of all body systems begins. Though some of this decline is normal and inevitable, many researchers believe that unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals accelerate the process, making us old before our time. Some damage is unavoidable because free radicals are produced during the normal course of cell activity. But you may be able to slow aging by avoiding outside factors that foster free-radical formation — cigarette smoke, pollution, excessive alcohol, and radiation from X rays or the sun — and by enhancing your body’s own antioxidant defenses. Manufactured by the cells and obtained through diet, antioxidants are powerful weapons that can disarm free radicals.
How Supplements Can Help:
Some supplements should be used daily by everyone concerned about the effects of aging. Vitamin C and vitamin E are antioxidants that fight free radicals. Vitamin C and flavonoids work within the cell’s watery interior. Vitamin E protects the fatty membranes that surround cells; in addition, it improves immune function in older people and reduces the risk of some age-related conditions, including heart disease, some forms of cancer, and possibly Alzheimer’s. In a recent study from the National Institute on Aging, people who took vitamin E supplements were about half as likely to die of heart disease — the nation’s leading killer — as those not using vitamin E.
Green tea extract, long prized for its longevity-promoting properties, and grape seed extract (100 mg twice a day) are other antioxidants that may be more potent than vitamins C and E.
Folic acid, a B vitamin, maintains red blood cells and promotes the healthy functioning of nerves. Moreover, it protects the heart by helping the body process homocysteine, an amino acid-like compound that may raise the risk of heart disease. Folic acid is assisted by vitamin B12, which fosters healthy brain functioning. Taking this vitamin is important because many older people lose the ability to absorb it from food, and low B12 levels can cause nerve damage and dementia. The amino acid-like substance carnitine contributes to a healthy heart because it helps transport oxygen to the cells and produces energy. Evening primrose oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is essential to a number of body processes. As it ages, the body loses its ability to convert the fats present in foods to GLA.
In addition, certain supplements are vital to specific concerns. Glucosamine helps maintain joint cartilage and eases the pain of arthritis. Because it enhances blood flow, the herb ginkgo biloba may improve such age-related conditions as dizziness, impotence, and memory loss.
What Else You Can Do:
Protect yourself from excessive sun. Ultraviolet rays make skin age faster.
If you smoke, quit. Smoking speeds bone and lung deterioration.
Build and maintain bone and muscle mass with weight-bearing exercise, such as walking and weight training.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables — they’re rich in antioxidants.
Although more research is needed, some experts recommend people over age 50 take a coenzyme Q10 supplement to minimize the effects of aging. This substance helps transport energy throughout the body and acts as an antioxidant, but the body’s own production declines with age. If you want to add coenzyme Q10 to your regimen, take 50 mg twice a day (food enhances its absorption).
Dosage: 1,000 mg vitamin C and 500 mg flavonoids twice a day.
Comments: Reduce vitamin C dose if diarrhea develops.
Dosage: 400 IU a day.
Comments: Check with your doctor if taking anticoagulant drugs.
Green Tea Extract
Dosage: 250 mg twice a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain at least 50% polyphenols.
Folic Acid/Vitamin B12
Dosage: 400 mcg folic acid and 1,000 mcg vitamin B12 once a day.
Comments: Take sublingual form for best absorption.
Dosage: 500 mg L-carnitine twice a day.
Comments: If using longer than 1 month, add mixed amino acids.
Evening Primrose Oil
Dosage: 1,000 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Can substitute 1,000 mg borage oil once a day.
Dosage: 500 mg glucosamine sulfate twice a day.
Comments: Increase to 3 times a day if you have osteoarthritis. Take with food to minimize digestive upset.
Dosage: 40 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Standardized to have at least 24% flavone glycosides.
This site may give youÂ little more knowledge about defending yourself from Aging.
Source: Reader’s Digest