Vitamins and Supplements To Take

We’ve all heard that 40 is the new 30. And we’ve all seen the celebrities who tip into their 50s with glowing skin and hair that’s as shiny and thick as a teenager’s. In this new era of aging gracefully, many of us strive for toned bodies and supple skin at every age. (Here are 7 foods that will give you glowing skin all year long.)

Despite our new generation of aging beauties, the fact remains: age isn’t just a number. There are certain hormonal and physiological changes our bodies undergo that can’t be denied. From a slowed heart rate and stiffer blood vessels to memory loss and decreased bone density, our bodies constantly transform as we age. That means how we maintain our bodies has to change with every new phase.

MORE: 5 Vitamins You’re Probably Not Getting Enough Of If You’re Over 50

There’s no single formula for warding off the signs of aging, but an ongoing wellness regimen that includes vitamins and herbal supplements can ease the transition from one decade to the next. Studies have shown that the right dose of vitamins can behave like antioxidants and actually increase your lifespan. The B vitamins are essential for your brain health, while vitamin D is critical to take for your skin and overall health at every age. Calcium also tops the list in importance as women age, providing the building blocks needed to protect against broken bones.

As you consider which supplements your body needs to address aging, it’s important to understand your options. Vitamins that the body can digest as food, such as fermented vitamins, are believed by some to be more easily absorbed than chemical isolate supplements, which are made from chemical compositions. Another option, herbal supplements, are made from naturally occurring flowers and plants. It’s important to talk to your doctor before choosing supplements, as some can interact with medications and reduce their effectiveness.

In Your 40s

If your 30s were spent in a blur of pregnancy, work, and running after little kids, hitting 40 is like a wakeup call. Suddenly everything feels a little softer and it’s much harder to recover from “cheat days.” In fact, you can lose as much as 5% of muscle mass if you’re inactive, and pack on pounds if you don’t change your habits. Hair loss is also common. The culprit? Estrogen decreases during this decade as many women enter perimenopause, the phase before menopause when your body prepares for the end of your period.

What you should take

  • Vitamin D: Best known as a mood booster (we naturally get it from exposure to sunshine), vitamin D also has an effect on our muscles. Studies have linked vitamin D to stronger muscles and decreased frailty, making it an excellent addition to your wellness routine just as your body’s muscle mass begins to decline.
  • Omega-3 and omega-6: If thinning hair is a concern, consider adding supplements of these fatty acids to your arsenal. One study of women over a six-month period saw “superior improvement” in hair quality for those who consumed the supplements compared to those who did not.

MORE: 5 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Vitamin D

The average woman goes through menopause in her early 50s and experiences hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, and irritability. Treatments for menopause once relied on hormone therapy, but researchers are increasingly focusing on alternatives including exercise, vitamins, and herbal supplements to ease such side effects.

What you should take

  • Multivitamins and vitamin E: A 2017 study of 60 women going through menopause found that multivitamins resoundingly reduced negative side effects. Another study found Vitamin E was an effective treatment for hot flashes: After a four-week trial, participants taking the supplement reported fewer or more manageable hot flashes.
  • Black cohosh: Herbal remedies have long been used to combat menopausal discomforts. Black cohosh, a plant native to North America, is thought to treat hot flashes and night sweats. Although the plant’s effectiveness is still being studied, supplements containing its dried root remain a popular recommendation for women going through menopause.
  • Vitamin D: Dropping estrogen levels during this decade also lead to lower calcium levels, putting you at risk for osteoporosis. Vitamin D has been shown to reduce risk of developing osteoporosis, and because the wonder vitamin also helps boost your mood, it could make irritability more manageable. Vitamin D3 should also be on your radar here, as it safeguards your heart health.

In Your 60s

Once you hit your 60s, the majority of your body’s hormonal transitions are complete. That doesn’t mean it’s time to go on cruise control. This is the decade when you may notice changes to your digestive system—specifically, your stomach’s acid levels deplete, your bowels may be more irritable, and you may become lactose intolerant.

What you should take

  • Vitamin B12: Researchers have found a link between B12 and improved gut bacteria, suggesting the vitamin can balance the digestive tract and make you feel more comfortable. B12 also aids in the digestion of carbohydrates and protein.
  • Vitamins D and K: If you develop lactose intolerance or sensitivity, make sure to supplement your diet with good old vitamin D to combat calcium loss, and consider increasing your intake of vitamin K, which helps with calcium absorption. Vitamins K1 and K2 work together to absorb and distribute calcium, but K2 supplements are especially important if you’re a vegetarian, as they’re largely found in animal foods.

MORE: People Who Don’t Get Enough OF THIS Vitamin Are 77% Weaker

In Your 70s and Beyond

Brain health is important at any age, but as we enter our 70s, the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease increases.

What you should take

  • Vitamin B12: In addition to taking any other supplements your doctor recommends at this age, consider a boost of B12. Deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to impaired brain health, and researchers have learned that taking B12 supplements in combination with folic acid may help slow the progression of dementia and cognitive decline.

This article was condensed from for Dr. David Jensen

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