How nutritional supplements help you slow aging, feel better and be healthier

You’ve probably heard this: If you eat a good diet, you don’t need nutritional supplements. But there are two good reasons that statement doesnt hold up.

First, the richest sources of nutrition in our diets are fresh vegetables and fruits. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends eating five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day. Do you eat that many fruits and vegetables? Most Americans dont. As a result, most of us are nutritionally deficient.

Second, our lives are stressful. Chronic stress, coupled with a poor diet, puts tremendous strain on everything from our immune systems to our hearts, increasing our need for nutrition. If we arent getting enough nutrients from our diets, were more likely to suffer health problems as a result.

Nutritional supplements are preventive maintenance for your body. Here are four reasons you should take them:

1. Supplements help you age better. As we age, we often become deficient in key nutrients that our bodies need to function optimally. Some people come up short on calcium and wind up with osteoporosis. Others dont get enough antioxidants, leading to cellular damage and premature aging.

Supplementation replenishes nutrients that we may miss. Research shows that a properly designed supplement regimen can delay or even prevent many of the health conditions that come with aging, like heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis, helping you live longer and with more vitality.

2. Supplements give you more energy. Are you constantly tired from long work hours, lack of sleep and a so-so diet? When the body doesnt get the right balance of nutrients, it doesnt produce energy as efficiently. Blood sugar levels spike and then dive throughout the day. The result is that we end up feeling tired all day.

Supplements give your cells what they need to extract more energy from food and use that energy better, keeping you vibrant and alert.

3. Supplementation prevents dysfunction. Heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes dont appear overnight. They are the end result of years-long deficiencies in key nutrients. Deprive your body of the nutrients it needs, and it will become dysfunctional. The results: heart failure, type 2 diabetes and a host of other diseases.

By taking supplements when youre well, you prevent deficiency and dysfunction. This reduces your odds of developing age-related degenerative diseases.

4. Prevention puts money in your pocket. How much do you think you would save over 20 years if you didnt need prescription medication or expensive surgeries? Giving your body the full range of nutrients it needs can help you prevent disease and reduce the cost of medications, doctor visits, hospitalization and insurance, saving thousands of dollars.

[How to begin]

Beyond important nutrients, vibrant good health requires a commitment to exercise, diet and sleep. Developing a supplement strategy is a great way to start a new year of wellness and vitality.

Start With These Five Supplements

Multivitamin

One of the most popular supplements in the country, a multivitamin is a great way to optimize your daily intake of key vitamins and minerals.

Benefits
Taken consistently, multivitamins support cell function and can make up for some dietary shortcomings.

Dosage
Take a daily multivitamin formulated for your age, gender and/or activity level.

 

Vitamin D3

A 2009 study found that people who were vitamin D deficient were more likely to have a heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Research shows that this vitamin may protect against colon cancer and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

Benefits
Vitamin D3 supports bone formation, heart and vascular health and promotes immune function.

Dosage
2,000 IU to 10,000 IU per day.

 

Fish Oil (Omega-3a)

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial to the brain and cardiovascular system.

Benefits
Omega-3s promote a healthy heart rhythm, reduce inflammation throughout the body, support brain function and reduce the risk of stroke and hypertension.

Dosage
900 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) per day.

 

Antioxidants

Free radicals are reactive molecules that damage our cells and DNA and can lead to premature aging. Antioxidants block the damaging impact of free radicals.

Benefits
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and resveratrol protect cells from free radicals, promote heart health and support the immune system.

Dosage
500 to 1,000 mg of vitamin C and 100 mg of resveratrol per day.

 

Protein

As we age, we lose lean muscle mass. Maintaining that muscle mass is one way to stay strong and active.

Benefits
Protein supplementation promotes muscle growth and retention as we age, supports metabolic function and improves heart health.

Dosage
Adults need about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. That means if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be consuming at least 54 grams of protein daily.

Dr. Andrew Myers is an expert in nutrition and preventive medicine and the co-author of Health Is Wealth, 10 Power Nutrients that Increase Your Odds of Living to 100 and Health is Wealth Performance Nutrition. Please visit his website at healthiswealth.net.