Part 7: supplement series
In all, there are eight supplements which together form the best defense against the ravages of aging mediated by inflammation and diminished circulation. The following nutritional supplements have been shown to have significant physiological effects on the body, pushing us in the right direction along the Continuum, and as a group, I refer to them as the ‘Big 8,’ for the special role they play as part of an anti-aging strategy. With the exception of resveratrol, which I do not recommend for women, the ‘Big 8’ have nearly universal application, and I have been supplementing my own diet with these products for many years. They are as follow:
1. Omega-3 Fish Oils (EPA/DHA Essentials from Pure Encapsulations)
2. *Resveratrol (from Pure Encapsulations); see below for more information
3. Niacitol (a form of no-flush niacin from Pure Encapsulations)
4. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA from Pure Encapsulations)
5. High quality green tea (our supplier in Japan is called O-cha. More about this in the final section and you can investigate this phenomenal source of the highest quality green tea in the world at www.o-cha.com)
6. *Collagen with hyaluronic acid (Collagen JS from Pure Encapsulations); see below for more information
7. Polyphenol Nutrients (from Pure Encapsulations)
8. CoQ-10 (from Pure Encapsulations)
*Resveratrol is the most controversial of the Big 8, with claims made for its role as an anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer agent, and heart-protective agent, and for its use in blood sugar regulation and life extension. While promising data exist in mice, rats, and fish, sufficient studies on mammals have not yet been done. At this time, my best sense of resveratrol is that the data are so exciting and hold so much promise that it is worth including in the Big 8, but should be considered the most experimental of the group. Resveratrol should not be taken by persons with a personal or family history of breast cancer as studies have shown that breast cancer can be accelerated by supplementation with resveratrol. I do not recommend resveratrol to women or to any persons with a personal or family history of cancer.
*Collagen and hyaluronic acid are the building blocks of connective tissues (skin, hair, nails, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons). Our ability to manufacture these substances slows as we age and stops completely some time after we reach the age of skeletal maturity. The elasticity and suppleness of the skin, hair, and joints of children and young adults are directly related to the presence of high levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid, while the progressive drying and cracking of these connective tissues as we age testifies to the loss of these substances. The scientific data for collagen/HA supplementation is insufficient to support their unqualified prescription. However, due to the extreme importance of supporting these (especially joint) structures, I have been taking the Pure Encapsulations formulation daily for more than a decade.
In addition to the above, I also take Vitamin D (Bio-D-Mulsion Forte from Biotics Research). Despite being a triathlete who spends a lot of time in the sun, when I tested my own blood levels of Vitamin D, I was dangerously toward the lower end of the normal range. I attributed that to the use of sun-block, but part of the problem may also be that I have dramatically decreased the amount of meat that I eat. Rather than expose myself to more solar radiation, I decided to begin Vitamin D supplementation and have watched my levels climb over the last 2 years to the middle of the normal range. I am shooting for the top of the normal range as I recognize the essential role Vitamin D plays in anti-inflammation and immune function, as described above.