The Best Supplements for Living Longer, Say Experts
We know that healthy living via a good diet and consistent exercise are key to healthy aging. But are there any vitamins and supplements that can give that process a boost? Science suggests there are. These are some of the best supplements experts say fight aging and may increase longevity. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
To improve your odds of a living longer, healthier life, research suggests adding vitamin K to your supplement vocabulary. "Recent studies demonstrated that vitamin K is a vital cofactor in activating several proteins, which act against age-related syndromes," wrote authors of a 2021 review of studies published in the journal Antioxidants. Among K's benefits, they say: it can help prevent hardening of arteries and heart disease, improve cognitive function, boost insulin sensitivity and fight cancer.
Vitamin K2—which the USDA only began to recognize as a separate vitamin in 2006—may have serious benefits for heart and bone health. K2 helps the body absorb calcium in places it should (like in bones) and filters it out of places it shouldn't (like the heart and kidneys). Blood vessels produce a protein called MGP, which prevents calcium from building up on their walls and possibly causing blockages. Vitamin K2 is essential to the formation of MGP.
The powerful antioxidant known as vitamin C provides immune support, neutralizes damage-causing free radicals, and is essential to the production of collagen, one of the proteins that keeps skin young-looking. According to a 2021 review of studies published in the journal Molecular Biology Reports, vitamin C can also protect against the shortening of telomeres, the parts of a chromosome that contain DNA and get shorter with age—when they get too short, they die, contributing to body-wide aging.
Vitamin D supports the immune system, which begins to degrade as we get older, protecting an aging body from all manner of disease. Vitamin D also helps the body absorb calcium, which builds bone density, potentially staving off the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis, and it supports muscle metabolism, which declines with age. And a 2007 study at the London School of Medicine found that vitamin D supplementation can increase telomere length.
Vitamin A is the basis of retinoids, the gold standard for anti-aging skin products. Prescriptions like Retin-A and over-the-counter products containing retinol increase skin cell turnover, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen. But vitamin A's benefits go way beyond skin deep: It is considered important to cognitive function, including the parts of the brain dedicated to memory and learning. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.