A mixture of the correct supplements, proper nutrition and regular resistance training will help you stay sharp — and slim — through the years. Not only will this combination leave you looking younger, you will also reduce the chance of developing major health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or Alzheimer’s. In fact, if taking just vitamin C and E daily may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, wouldn’t it be worth the effort to stock your supplement cupboard in order to look and feel younger, longer? I have previously published a post on the wisdom and potential benefits of supplementation. You can read it here: http://yaso-shan.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/a-guide-to-commercial-supplements.html
- A high quality multivitamin
- Pharmaceutical-grade fish oils
- A mixed vitamin E (mixed vitamin E contains all eight types of vitamin E, whereas most just contain alpha tocopherol)
- A calcium-magnesium supplement in a citrate base with vitamin D3 (the citrate form is most absorbable)
- Vitamin C with bioflavonoids (bioflavonoids increase the activity of vitamin C in the body) and perhaps a capsule of grapeseed extract
- Acidophilus pills to restore healthy gut balance, immunity, wellness, aid digestion overall health
20s and 30s: Learning to juggle
This is a busy decade - marriage, babies and trying to keep up with a demanding job will be front and centre of your life - they all conspire to exhaust you. On top of that, you're probably on yet another diet and there's also the continuing problem of PMS and maybe a less-than-glorious sex life because you're often just too tired. Try adding these supplements to your basics:
- Magnesium Take 400mg a day to energiseyour body and relax tense muscles.
- Calcium Balance your magnesium intake with 800mg of calcium and you'll have an aid to good bone density, too.
- Zinc If you're trying for a baby take 50mg of zinc a day to assist with peak fertility
- Damiana an aphrodisiac herb. Good for perking up your love life and brilliant for soothing anxiety and lifting depression. Take 1-2ml of tincture three times a day - try the version from Neal's Yard Remedies.
- Indian ginseng Women in their thirties are often plagued with fatigue and nervous exhaustion due to being overstimulated and anxious. Most ginsengs can aggravate things, but Withania somnifera (Indian ginseng) is more grounding, with its benefits for energy, stamina and immunity.
40s: Manage those moods!
This usually starts out as your most settled decade, but pre-menopause can cause problems. It's also a common time to go back to work when children are settled at school and you may need a confidence boost. You may also experience niggly symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain and digestion problems. It's a good idea to take some extra supplements. Calcium Ideally, see your GP for a bone-density test, then take a calcium supplement depending on this result. If your lifestyle is fairly hectic, keep taking 800mg calcium and 400mg magnesium.
- Iron Heavy periods can leave you feeling washed out, so an occasional iron tonic, such as Floradix or Floravital (Boots and health food stores) is worth it. Take for two weeks, starting a few days before each period.
- Kelp I.OOOmg of kelp a day will gently feed your thyroid gland. Borderline low thyroid levels, which cause symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain and sluggish digestion, are often mistaken for pre-menopause.
- Phytoestrogens (soya isoflavones) These gently build up your oestrogen levels, ensuring a symptom-free menopause. Try Blackmores Phytolife - take two to four capsules a day, from health food stores.
50s: It's your turn now!
A decade that can be full of activity and change. You might be starting, going through or have kissed the menopause goodbye. Your children will probably have left home and your life looks either a little empty or bursting with opportunity. Healthwise, this is when you should be protecting yourself that bit more, so add a few important supplements to your basics.
- Calcium If your bones aren't 100 per cent,increase your calcium intake to 1,000mg a day, but keep magnesium at 400mg.
- Co-enzyme Q10. Strengthens the heart muscle and maximises the benefits of oxygen within all cells. Take 50mg a day.
- Phytoestrogens (soya isoflavones). If you're suffering from hot flushes, take the supplements recommended for your forties and switch to extra tofu and soyain your diet when it passes.
- Siberian ginseng When you need to improve energy, mood and libido, this is the second most stimulating ginseng. Like all ginsengs, they improve immunity and stamina.
60s: Stay sharp and sexy
Now's the time to do things for yourself or keep working, start something new or relax more, travel often or hunker down in your home. You may not need the menopause soothers any more, but you can start taking something to keep your mind sharp, your body fizzy with energy and your love life humming. The right supplements - along with good eating and exercise - can keep you feeling as sexy, gorgeous and interesting as ever. Add these to your basics:
- Calcium. Keep focusing on bone density. Take 5OOmg of calcium, balanced with 400mg of magnesium (look for magnesium with boron and vitamin D). Avoid acidic foods and drinks that leach calcium from bones, such as fizzy drinks, alcohol, caffeine, sugar and refined foods. Alkalise your body by increasing your intake of vegetables and salad.
- Ginkgo biloba and bilberry. Great for sharpening circulation to your brain and eyes for a quick mind and clear vision. Try Solgar Bilberry, Ginkgo Eyebright Complex - take two capsules a day. Or Biocare Ginkgo Plus (contains bilberry) - one or two capsules a day. Both from health food stores.
- Glucosamine. To protect your joints and keep you supple, 5OOmg a day is a good maintenance dose, but take 1,000mg daily if you have a joint problem.
70s: Go with the flow!
This is a time to reintroduce supplements you may have taken previously - for supplements, like youth, are often wasted on the young. Keep taking the basics and add some of these interesting extras to the mix. Zinc Take it again now to improve your sense of smell. You may feel disinclined to cook or eat well, which is often because you can't smell the food.
- Zinc helps restore this and, in turn, your appetite. Take 5Omg a day
- Panax ginseng A fantastic energy boost for this age group, as it can be overstimulating for the young. Builds stamina, your immune system, libido and energy - what more could you want? One note of caution - avoid if you have high blood pressure.
Adjust them as suggested when you meet those lifestyle and well-being problems:
- VITAMIN C A vital support to our immune system and a protective antioxidant. A good daily dose is 500mg. Taking more than 1,OOOmg a day may cause stomach pain, diarrhoea or flatulence.
- B COMPLEX Essential for energy production in your body and to support your hormones. A good average dose is 25-50mg of each of the main Bs (1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and smaller amounts of 89 and B12) in one B-complex tablet. These nutrients are not stored in the body, so you need to top up the supply every day.
- OMEGA-6 (Evening primrose oil or starflower oil) Slows signs of ageing, balances hormones and helps with PMS and the menopause symptoms. Take 1,000mg daily increasing to three times that a day for hormonal imbalances, such as PMS.
- OMEGA-3 (Fish oil or linseed oil) Can help reduce inflammation and maximisebrain function. Take 1,000mg
Adapted from Woman & Home Magazine (Feel Good You Supplement Issue)