Anti-Aging hacks, scam err?
Let's start with three common Anti-Aging Supplements...let's see if they are what media and health charlatans on Twitter cut them out to be.
NMN and NAD:
These have gained traction and popularity as supplements that promote anti-aging. So, what exactly are they? There is a ton of biochemistry involved with these, so we just need to look at NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) and NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) in simpler terms.
NAD is a coenzyme involved in almost every metabolic process in our body. It assists with turning the nutrients we consume into adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which is how cells exchange and produce energy. Thus, less NAD reduces the cell’s ability to make and utilize the aforementioned ATP, which leads to diminishing its ability to perform its function within the body.
When a cell finds itself less and less able to produce other functional molecules for cell health, it will die much a lot faster. In these ways, NAD has proven itself to be essential to maintaining proper neurological and organ health; without it, the human body ages and decreases in function.
As we get older, NAD molecules in our bodies start to deplete. Around middle age, NAD levels have plummeted to half that of our youth. (1) Why does this matter? If we lose NAD molecules, we will lose energy and slowly start the dreaded aging process of getting more tired/weak.
That's where NMN comes in! NMN is like NAD's sidekick by (through conversion) helping elevate NAD molecules in the body by slowing down this whole aging process. Supplementing NMN may be an effective nutraceutical anti-aging intervention, with beneficial effects on a wide array of physiological functions. (2)
"Choosing to supplement with NMN along with NAD provides a much more direct path to promoting cell metabolism and is thus a much quicker means of doing the same." (3) NMN
Now, this all sounds great and seems straightforward. All we need to do is supplement ourselves with this extraordinary NMN molecule, right? Well… kinda, you see, the research on this supplement is still very new. There is promising evidence with the few studies we have now.
However, there still needs to be more studies done to see if it's both safe and effective in the long run.
You probably have heard someone before touting about how great wine is for you due to this incredible antioxidant found in it. That antioxidant is called resveratrol. Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in grapes, wine, grape juice, peanuts, cocoa, and berries of Vaccinium species, including blueberries, bilberries, and cranberries. (1)
"Resveratrol administration has increased the lifespans of yeast, worms, fruit flies, fish, and mice fed a high-calorie diet, but it is not known whether resveratrol will have similar effects in humans." (2)
Even with some promising research on this antioxidant, the issue is the limited clinical research being done (especially with humans). While this effect on humans requires a bit more research before it can be confirmed as fact, Resveratrol seems to have the ability to activate certain genes that prevent the effects of aging from manifesting as rapidly as usual.
There is no set dosage yet recommended to get the most benefits from resveratrol. Note that resveratrol's oral bioavailability is "relatively low due to its rapid metabolism and elimination." (3A) In one study, participants consuming 500mg had only 1% of it make it to the bloodstream. This a result of it being rapidly and extensively metabolized. (3B). One might consider shopping for a resveratrol product that uses liposomal technology. Liposomes protect ingredients through the GI tract.
There are transdermal applications out there that may increase absorption, depending on the topical carrier they use. (4A; 4B) I personally use a topical version, where I do feel and notice positive effects, particularly of my skin.***
*** I don't carry this product. Feel free to DM me if you're interested and I'll be happy to share where I get mine.
I <3 KSM-66
Ashwagandha is a Ayurvedic adaptogen. Adaptogens are herbs that improve one's ability to cope with stress. During times of increased stress, these herbs normalize the physiological process of the body and help it adapt to changes. (1)
Specifically, ashwagandha supplementation in human clinical trials has shown to potentially reduce stress (by lowering cortisol hormone, aka the stress hormone), lower anxiety, increase libido, and sharpen focus/memory. (source below)
In one 60-day study, 32 out of 64 subjects were given 300mg twice daily of the trademarked Ashwagandha "KSM-66," while the other 32 were given a placebo. After 60 days, the treatment group had a 27% reduction in cortisol serum levels (remember: cortisol is the body's primary stress hormone), and a reduction of the overall feeling of stress.
"In the Ashwagandha group, by Day 60 there was a significant reduction in scores corresponding to all of the item-subsets: 77% for the “Depression” item-subset, 75.6% for the “Anxiety” item-subset, 64.2% for the “Stress” item-subset." (2)
I take 600mg of Ashwagandha in the form of KSM-66, daily. When I need acute (aka now) relief from stress, say before I have an important meeting, or have an interview, or even stress from social situations, I'll take 120mg-240mg of it in the form of Shoden. This form is a higher concentration concentration than the KSM-66 and Sensoril versions, meaning it will have a stronger effect of stress relief, but it's also significantly more expensive.
Though supplements may help you on this anti-aging journey, let's take a look at lifestyle changes that can also help.
Getting 7-9 hours of sleep consistently each night can naturally encourage anti-aging properties. When we sleep, our bodies go through a supercharged recovery process. Blood flow increases to the skin to help repair UV damage from exposure to the sun and other cellular damage that may have occurred during the day. This can help your skin look new/younger when you wake up. Additionally, your body repairs muscles and organs and processes new memories and information.
Reducing intake of inflammatory foods:
Processed, fried, high-sugar foods/desserts and foods high in trans fats/saturated fats can all contribute to inflammation in your body. Inflammation is something that, for the most part, gets in the way of several beneficial processes that happen in your body.
Chronic inflammation can increase cortisol levels, leaving you feeling tired, stressed, and run down. It can interrupt your sleep, cause digestive issues, lead to weight gain, and several other problems.
This can increase the process of aging in the body, but thankfully, if you reduce the number of inflammatory foods you eat, you can mitigate these effects.
Saving the best for last. This may sound very cliché and overdone, but a well-balanced diet will genuinely benefit you in your anti-aging endeavors. Our bodies are like a well-oiled machine. We need water, vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and fats to keep us functioning in tip-top shape. We get this variety of things by drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day, consuming 6-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and a diet with adequate/healthy proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
We need to fuel and supply our bodies with these things every day to function at 100%. Don't just have a glass of water, an apple, and some carrots and think that's enough. Ensure you get a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables in your diet to ensure you get all those necessary vitamins/minerals.
If you have an issue getting in those fruits and veggies, then a green powder or multivitamin can help fill some of those holes. The only caveat is eating fruits and veggies whole will give you the most benefit that supplements will not, but they are a quick-patch for any shortcomings in your diet. This is one surefire anti-aging hack!
Disclaimer: As always, consult with your physician before making any changes to your diet, workout, or supplement regimen.
NMN and NAD References:
(1) Yoshino J, et al. "NAD+ Intermediates: The Biology and Therapeutic Potential of NMN and NR." Cell Metab. 2018. March NCBI Article
(2) Zhu XH, et al. "In vivo NAD assay reveals the intracellular NAD contents and redox state in healthy human brain and their age dependences." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2015
(5) Christopher Shade, Ph.D. "The science behind NMN." Feb 2020.
(2) Adrian L Lopresti. "Stress-relieving actons of ashwagandha." Sep 2019.
(3) Rohit Sharma and Natália Martins. "Telomeres, DNA Damage and Ageing: Potential Leads from Ayurvedic Rasayana (Anti-Ageing) Drugs." Aug 2020
(1) Burns J, et al. "Plant foods and herbal sources of resveratrol." J Agric Food Chem. Pubmed
(2) Jane Higdon, Ph.D. 2005 "Resvertatrol." Oregonstate.edu
(3A) CHRISTAKIS SERGIDES. "Bioavailability and safety study of resveratrol 500 mg tablets." Jan 2016.
(3B) Walle T. Bioavailability of resveratrol. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2011 Pubmed
(4A) Ming-Jun Tsai, et al. "Nanocarriers enhance the transdermal bioavailability of resveratrol: In-vitro and in-vivo study." Dec. 2016. ScienceDirect
As always, please holler if you have any questions.
This is not medical advice. Consult with your physician before beginning any diet regimen.