You can't stop yourself from getting older. But a good supplement can help slow the toll that Mother Nature takes on your skin and your body.

Why You Need Anti-Aging Vitamins

"As people age, the metabolism changes and they get rusty, crusty, fat, and inflamed, and some hormones decline while others rise. This leads to chronic illness," says Lorraine Maita, MD, speaker, author, and medical director, "Rusty is oxidation," says Maita. This occurs when oxygen interacts with cells. This normal process can lead to DNA damage, which can set the stage for the development of many common chronic diseases. She continues, "Crusty is glycation," by which sugar combines with different molecules to impede the molecules' function, contributing to the aging process. Finally, "Fat, combined with both of these processes, causes inflammation. Supplements designed to slow down these processes can potentially slow aging and prevent or reverse chronic degenerative illness."

But not all supplements are created equal, so you'll need to educate yourself and become a savvy shopper when deciding what to put in your body.

Differences in Supplements

"When evaluating supplements, the quality and purity makes a difference," Maita stresses. That's why she suggests taking the time to ensure that anything you're considering contains high-quality ingredients and was manufactured following clinical or pharmaceutical grade standards. "There are organizations that certify quality and purity, such as ConsumerLab and International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) programs, so look for their seal of approval to be sure the product contains what it says it does, and is free of contamination," she adds.

Here are Maita's top five picks for supplements that can help to slow the effects of aging:

1. Multivitamin and mineral formula. This can provide the optimal balance of beneficial nutrients and minerals, including antioxidant vitamins A, C and E; minerals that control blood sugar and decrease glycation, like chromium; and vanadium, B vitamins, and magnesium, which play a role in energy production.

2. Fish oil. The active ingredients in fish oil (EPA/DHA) can reduce inflammation, resulting in a number of important health benefits, such as improved memory, decreased triglycerides (fats in the blood) and cholesterol levels, lowered risk of heart disease and age-related eye maladies, slowed cognitive decline, and protection against colon, breast, and prostate cancers.

3. Vitamin D3 with vitamin K2 as menaquinone (a storage form of vitamin K). These vitamins act together to improve bone and heart health. Vitamin K keeps calcium in the bone and away from the blood vessels and soft tissue, while vitamin D helps you absorb calcium and prevent its loss. This supplement has also been shown to enhance weight loss, control blood sugar, improve mood, improve bone strength, and prevent some forms of cancer. (Note that for complete absorption, it is best taken with a fatty meal.)

4. Glutathione. This supplement is a master antioxidant and detoxifier. It acts on every cell of your body, and protects you against oxidation and the damaging effects of chemicals, radiation, and environmental pollutants. Glutathione also maximizes the activity of other antioxidants, like vitamins C, E, and Coenzyme Q10. Glutathione deficiency has been linked to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases; autoimmune disorders, arthritis, cancer, muscle weakness, and fatigue.  

5. Resveratrol with pterostilbene. Resveratrol is a chemical compound commonly found in the skin of red grapes, while pterostilbene is similar to resveratrol. The combination is known as the longevity supplement. It helps keep cells healthy and allowing them to repair and regenerate damaged tissue. It's also thought to prevent heart disease and insulin resistance, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Where to Buy

You can find anti-aging vitamins and supplements at reputable health food stores and pharmacies. Check with your doctor to find out the best brands of supplements and the correct dosage for your size and your needs, though, before you buy. You'll also want to read the labels so you'll know exactly what you're taking, and be on the lookout for any overlap in ingredients if you take multiple anti-aging supplements.

A Word of Warning

Although you might be tempted to shop online to get a better deal, Maita cautions against being swayed by a bargain, since you could end up with an outdated or inauthentic product.

Lorraine Maita, MD, reviewed this article.



Maita, Lorraine, M.D. Medical Director, Author and Speaker, Email interview 12 April 2013. "" Web. 2013. Accessed 6 June 2013.

IFOS. "International Fish Oil Standards Program." Web. Accessed 6 June 2013.