You can’t prevent the passage of time—but you can lessen its impact on all parts of your body with anti-aging supplements. Keep your organs fit, your cells strong, and your skin supple with science-backed nutrients and herbs shown to minimize the effects of aging. (Bonus: most of them work on multiple organs and systems.)
Anti-Aging Supplements for Your Brain
- Anthocyanins, a family of antioxidants found primarily in red-purple fruits and vegetables, protect against age-related changes in the brain and may delay or even prevent cognitive decline. They work in part by lowering inflammation and inhibiting DNA damage, and research links anthocyanins with improvements in learning, recall, and memory, and a reduced risk of cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
- B vitamins are critical for brain health, and low levels—especially of B6, B12 and folate—are linked with neurological and psychological changes, including mood alterations, cognitive impairment, and dementia. B vitamins protect the brain by blunting inflammation that contributes to cognitive decline, enhancing DNA repair, and slowing brain atrophy associated with aging, and research suggests supplementing with B vitamins, especially B6, B12, and folate, enhances brain performance, supports mood, and lessens the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- EPA and DHA, the biologically active forms of omega-3 fats, have a variety of neuroprotective properties, including keeping neuronal membranes healthy, slowing brain atrophy, lowering inflammation, and protecting the brain from the effects of aging. They also support healthy mood, and studies link a higher intake of EPA and DHA with a reduced risk of depression, cognitive decline, and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s.
Anti-Aging Supplements for Your Eyes
- Lutein, a carotenoid found in dark, leafy greens, is highly concentrated in the macula, the part of the eye responsible for sharp, clear vision. It’s thought to absorb blue light (from flat-screen TVs, laptops, and other devices), protecting the retina from light-related damage. Lutein also lowers inflammation and guards against free radical damage, and studies link higher levels of lutein with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. Zeaxanthin, in the same family of carotenoids, has similar actions and protective effects.
- Beta carotene, an antioxidant found in dark leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, and other dark orange fruits and vegetables, is another vision-protective carotenoid. In the body, it’s converted to vitamin A, linked with a reduced risk of cataracts and vision changes during aging. Large studies suggest beta carotene, especially in combination with vitamins C and E, zinc, and copper, lowers inflammation, mitigates free radical damage, and significantly reduces the likelihood of age-related macular degeneration.
Anti-Aging Supplements for Your Heart
- Coenzyme Q10 (Co Q10), a vitamin-like substance naturally produced by the body, protects against inflammation and free radical damage, enhances DNA repair, and supports cellular energy production—important, since heart muscle cells have high energy demands. Levels naturally decline with age, and studies suggest that supplementing with CoQ10 can keep the heart healthy and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Resveratrol, an antioxidant abundant in red grapes and cranberries, lowers inflammation and keeps blood cells from clumping together and forming clots that can lead to heart attack or stroke. Other research suggests that resveratrol influences several longevity genes, slowing aging-related decline in cardiovascular function. Studies show taking resveratrol supplements can also reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.
- Garlic is rich in compounds that lower cholesterol and blood pressure, lessen the risk of blood clots, keep arteries healthy, and slow the development of atherosclerosis (or hardening of the arteries). Aged garlic extract is especially powerful, and some research suggests aged garlic supplements can reduce soft plaques in the arteries, the type most associated with blood clots and blockages that lead to heart attacks.
Anti-Aging Supplements for Your Joints
- Cat’s claw, an Amazonian medicinal herb, has long been used to treat a variety of inflammatory disorders. It’s a powerful antioxidant, protecting against free radical damage to joints and inhibiting chemicals produced by the body during acute inflammation. Studies suggest cat’s claw can safely and effectively treat osteoarthritis—caused by the breakdown of cartilage, and common in aging. In other research, cat’s claw supplements significantly reduced joint pain, swollen joints and other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Curcumin, the primary active compound in turmeric, has potent anti-inflammatory and immune-supportive actions, protecting against the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis—an autoimmune disorder that affects the lining of joints, leading to pain, swelling, bone erosion, and joint deformity. Dozens of studies point to its effectiveness in dampening inflammation, and other research shows curcumin reduces swelling in rheumatoid arthritis, increasing mobility and lessening pain.
Anti-Aging Supplements for Your Cells
- EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a polyphenol antioxidant found primarily in green tea, lowers inflammation, fights free radicals, repairs DNA, and protects cells from damage. Studies show EGCG blocks the formation of cancer, prevents tumor formation and growth, encourages apoptosis (cancer cell death), and lessens the development of several types of cancer. It’s especially protective against skin cancer, reducing the risk of melanoma—the most dangerous and malignant form.
- Sulforaphane, a sulfur-rich compound found mainly in cruciferous vegetables, enhances DNA repair, detoxifies carcinogens, and protects cells from cancer. Studies show sulforaphane inhibits cancer cell proliferation, slowing their ability to grow and multiply, and a high intake is linked with a lower risk of breast, prostate, colorectal, and other cancers.
- Lycopene, an antioxidant found primarily in tomatoes, lowers free-radical damage, supports DNA repair, and inhibits the development and spread of cancer. Research shows lycopene arrests cancer cell growth and induces apoptosis in cancer cells without affecting normal cells, and a higher intake is linked with a reduced risk of cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer.
Anti-Aging Supplements for Your Skin
- Astaxanthin, a carotenoid naturally found in some varieties of algae, is responsible for the pinkish-red color of salmon, trout, shrimp, and lobster—so it’s relatively hard to get from dietary sources, especially if you’re a vegan or don’t eat seafood. Astaxanthin is significantly more powerful than other carotenoids, and may be 500 times more effective than vitamin E. Research suggests it minimizes UV damage, improves skin texture and elasticity, and lessens age spots and other signs of aging.
- Vitamin C, a highly versatile antioxidant, lowers inflammation, protects against free radical damage, and mitigates damage from the sun’s UV rays. It also plays a crucial role in the synthesis of collagen, and studies show taking vitamin C supplements can minimize sun-related damage to the skin, boosting elasticity, decreasing wrinkles and fine lines, and reducing visible signs of aging.
- Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and research suggests that it prevents UV damage from the sun, slows the breakdown of collagen, and lessens visible signs of aging in the skin. It’s especially powerful in combination with vitamin C, protecting against sunburn, decreasing DNA damage, and lowering the risk of skin cancer.