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Whether we like it or not, certain parts of our bodies begin to deteriorate as we get older, and this is especially true as we approach middle age. For example, after you turn 40 you might notice that your skin isn’t as firm as it used to be or that your bones are a bit more fragile.
While we can’t exactly stop the aging process, a healthy, balanced diet coupled with routine exercise is one way to stay in tip-top shape even as time marches on. Another way to stay on top of your health is to take supplements to ensure that your body is getting enough of the key nutrients it needs. As you get older, this can include collagen, calcium, and more.
We asked a team of registered dietitians and experts for their suggestions for the best dietary supplements for people over 40. Keep reading to find out which supplements are right for you. And if you’re looking specifically for supplements that may help you lose weight, check out these dietitian recommendations.
“Animal studies have found that curcumin can help prevent colon cancer by killing cancer cells while preserving healthy cells. These results offer some promise for the use in humans, especially since colorectal cancer is the second most deadly cancer in the United States, with prevalence increasing after the age of 40,” notes registered dietitian Diana Gariglio-Clelland, RD for NextLuxury.com. “Countries where turmeric is used on a regular basis have lower rates of colorectal cancer, which isn’t surprising due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.”
Gariglio-Clelland recommends buying turmeric supplements with piperine (the active compound in black pepper), as this compound can help boost absorption.
READ MORE: Popular Foods That Reduce Inflammation, Says Dietitian
“Magnesium can be a common nutrient that is lacking in a typical American diet, and as we age, magnesium absorption can go down. Therefore, taking magnesium as a supplement for those over 40 can be beneficial,” says Holly Klamer, MS, RDN a registered dietitian and writer with My Crohn’s and Colitis Team. “Magnesium is needed for maintaining blood pressure, energy production, muscle function, bone health and nerve function just to name a few.”
Klamer adds: “Many chronic diseases that increase with aging are associated with low magnesium levels according to a 2021 review. Therefore, taking a magnesium supplement may help lower the risk for certain conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
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For many, maintaining firm skin as we age is very important. According to Alicia Galvin, RD, the resident dietitian for Sovereign Laboratories, Vitamin E supplements can help improve skin appearance. “Naturally occurring vitamin E is not a single compound; instead, vitamin E is a group of molecules with related structures, some of which may have unique properties in the skin,” she says. “Vitamin E can absorb the energy from UV light and can therefore prevent UV-induced free radical damage to the skin.”
Another supplement that’s great for aging skin is collagen. Per registered dietitian Kylie Ivanir, MS, RD, who runs a private practice called Within Nutrition, a high-quality, wild-caught marine collagen supplement is best. “Supplementing with collagen can be beneficial because after age 40, the body begins to produce less collagen,” she explains. “Collagen is an abundant protein found in bones, muscles, skin, tendons, and ligaments, helping to provide structure and elasticity.”
As you age, you may start to notice the effects of too little collagen in your body. “Collagen depletion can cause the skin to lose elasticity, firmness, and can increase wrinkle formation,” Ivanir adds. “Collagen depletion can also lead to more joint pains and aches. I recommend Marine collagen supplements over bovine since they are a bit easier for the body to absorb.”
“Being over the age of 45 is a risk factor for prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal. Prediabetes is a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes and is increasing in prevalence,” says Gariglio-Clelland. “A study of 200 people over a year-long period found that the group taking 20 milligrams of zinc daily had improvements in both blood sugars and insulin sensitivity, which can reduce the risk of prediabetes.”
She continues: “In addition, people with type 2 diabetes usually have lower levels of zinc compared to people with healthy blood sugar levels, adding more evidence to this connection.”
“Bone loss increases with age as does the risk for bone fractures. Calcium is a major nutrient needed for bone and muscle health. It can be common for calcium intake to be insufficient from diet alone,” Klamer points out. “A 2020 review found calcium supplementation for two years or more was effective for reducing bone loss. Therefore, starting to take a calcium and vitamin D supplement can be beneficial for people over 40, specifically to help maintain bone strength.”
“Another supplement for those over 40 to consider is a broad-spectrum probiotic. Supplementing with a probiotic may be helpful because microbiome diversity begins to decrease as we enter our middle years,” explains Ivanir. “Maintaining microbiome diversity helps ensure healthy hormone levels and a strong metabolism, digestive system, and immune system.”
She adds: “Rather than single strains, consider a broad spectrum probiotic such as Seed.”
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