Can we slow down aging?
A host of factors contribute to both healthy development in children and teens and again in the healthy ageing of adults. These dietary and lifestyles factors are important at any age but starting with reduced hormonal production in our 30’s the body begins to slowly degrade. At around 55 years of age the degradation of our bodies begins to quicken and we need to become significantly more cognisant of what can be done to reduce the degradation of our bodies and organs.
The lowest hanging fruit for most of us in extending our life expectancy is:
- Regular Exercise. (4-5 years). (1)
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol or other drug consumption (5-8 years) (2)
- Avoiding excessive transfats and sugar consumption. (5-6 years)
- Consuming a balanced, nutrient-dense diet.
Aside from adequate Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate consumption, The top 5 nutrients we should be especially attentive to include in our diets to aid healthy ageing are:
Calcium = Vital for bone formation and strength. (800mg daily)
Vitamin D = Aids absorption of nutrients including calcium (5ug daily)
B Vitamins = Vital for proper hormonal, energy metabolism and Psychological function. (1.4mg of B6 & 2.5 ug of B12 daily)
Vitamin C = One of the most powerful antioxidants, helps the body fight against oxidative damage and aids the immune system to fight disease. (80mg daily)
Omega 3 = Vital for proper brain function, skin and eye health. (500mg combined of DHA & EPA daily)
All of which can be attained inadequate levels through a carefully considered diet, or more easily via over the counter supplements.
For the purpose of this blog post, we are looking into healthy brain ageing. All of the above ingredients remain true for healthy brain ageing, however, we shift our focus to the following 3 as a necessary addition:
1. Co-Enzyme Q 10 - Similar to a Vitamin, CoQ10 is found in every cell in our bodies and helps the cells produce energy, fight off harmful disease and protect against oxidative damage. It is found in small amounts in some animal food sources, in particular, Liver & Kidney, however, the amount generally ingested in a normal diet falls short of the recommended 100-300mg daily, thus exogenous supplementation of CoQ10 appears to be our best bet for getting adequate levels of the nutrient. Studies have shown the merit of CoQ10 on:
i) Reducing the symptoms of Parkinson's disease (4).
ii) Increasing life expectancy (5).
iii) Reduce feelings of physical fatigue (6).
2. Vitamin E - Serving as an aid for immunity, healthy skin and eyes, Vitamin E is also one of the few Vitamins with solid data supporting its importance on brain function in the elderly. (7)
3. Choline - Choline is a nutrient that plays a facilitative role in some vital bodily functions including brain development, nerve function, muscle movement and energy metabolism. It can be consumed in the diet in food sources such as eggs, beef, sprouts and salmon, however, it is estimated that up to 80% of Americans are deficient in Choline and fall short of their 550mg daily intake recommendation. Choline supplementation comes in many forms including Choline Bitartrate, Alpha GPC, CitiCholine and some popular patented Choline solutions, most studies for cognitive decline and dementia treatment being on the CitiCholine/CDPCholine forms. Choline has been cited to
i) Improve cognitive performance (8).
ii) Reduce symptoms of Alzheimer's (9).
iii) Improve memory in the elderly (10).
Takeaways from this post:
- Lifestyle changes and activities that improve blood and nutrient flow to the brain.
- Correct macro and micronutrient intake, especially the vital vitamins and minerals noted above.
- Supplement with antioxidants.
All vitamins, minerals and supplements are readily available at health food stores or online marketplaces such as Amazon.