Q. Dear Terry, “I’m in my 60s and have been healthy most of my life. I have lost many close friends and relatives to things like cancer or heart attacks. I don’t take any medications and I want to keep it that way. What natural things can I take to maintain my health as I continue to age?”– Harold P., Dothan, AL
A. Dear Harold, There are many ingredients that come to mind when talking about the aging process. I believe a solid foundation with a multivitamin and mineral formula is necessary. Believe it or not, mineral deficiencies are more common than vitamin deficiencies. I prefer a multivitamin that features chelated minerals, which increases their absorption in the body. I believe a multivitamin and mineral formula should be taken several times per day and include vitamins and minerals in their most absorbable and active forms.
Cancer and heart disease are the two top causes of death in adults. To help address inflammatory and oxidative changes, I think a few of my top picks would be curcumin, French grape seed extract, and active glutathione.
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Curcumin helps to protect the central nervous system, including our brain and nerves, from oxidative damage. Other research has shown that curcumin can help increase a process called neurogenesis, or the formation of new neurons. This is a breakthrough when it comes to the aging process and preventing neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Curcumin is also very beneficial for the heart and helps prevent cancerous changes to cells. I prefer a clinically studied curcumin that is enhanced with turmeric essential oil. I recommend 750 mg of curcumin per day.
French grape seed extract is another top choice because of its protective effects for the cardiovascular system and our blood vessels. Research has shown that grape seed extract can reduce high blood pressure, protect the blood vessel walls from damaging free radical activity, and prevent the dangerous oxidation of LDL cholesterol – one of the first steps on the road to a heart attack or stroke. Grape seed extract also helps the blood vessels to relax, allowing for better circulation and reduced blood pressure. I recommend a tannin-free, French grape seed extract that is standardized only to provide oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) that are small enough to be absorbed, with a high level of polyphenols. I recommend 400 mg of grape seed extract per day.
It’s hard to talk about aging without mentioning glutathione. Glutathione is a compound that we make naturally and is one of the most important antioxidants we have. Many factors can diminish our glutathione supply, including health conditions, aging, and oxidative stress. Glutathione in the active form is able to aid in cellular defense, detoxification, and fight the DNA-damaging effects of oxidative stress. I recommend taking 300 mg per day of the reduced, active form of glutathione that is orally absorbed and has been stabilized in a patented process with protective antioxidants.
Terry . . . Naturally