Although aging is an inevitable part of life, most of us want to hold onto our youthfulness for as long as possible.
You can’t stop yourself from aging, but you can make dietary and lifestyle changes to slow certain aging processes and reduce your risk of age-related disease. That’s why you’ll see this article use terms like “support healthy aging” rather than “anti-aging.”
The main causes of aging include accumulated cellular damage caused by reactive molecules called free radicals and the shortening of telomeres, which are the structures located at the ends of chromosomes that play an important role in cellular division (
Following a nutrient-dense diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake are the best ways to support healthy aging and slow the effects of aging on your body.
What’s more, scientists have identified numerous substances that may slow certain aging processes and help prevent age-related disease.
Here are 14 supplements that may help slow the effects of aging.
Curcumin — the main active compound in turmeric — has been shown to possess powerful cellular protective properties, which are attributed to its potent antioxidant effects.
A process called cellular senescence occurs when cells stop dividing. As you age, senescent cells accumulate, which is believed to accelerate aging and disease progression (
Research demonstrates that curcumin activates certain proteins that help delay cellular senescence and promote longevity (
Plus, animal studies demonstrate that curcumin combats cellular damage and significantly increases life span. This compound has been shown to postpone age-related disease and alleviate age-related symptoms as well (
This may be why turmeric intake is associated with a reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline in humans (
You can increase your curcumin intake by using fresh or dried turmeric in the kitchen or taking turmeric or curcumin supplements.
Curcumin is the main active compound in turmeric. It may slow aging by activating certain proteins and protecting against cellular damage.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a well-known polyphenol compound concentrated in green tea. It offers impressive health benefits, including a reduced risk of certain cancers and heart disease (
Plus, this compound may promote longevity and protect against age-related disease.
EGCG may work by restoring mitochondrial function in cells and acting on pathways involved in aging. It also induces autophagy, the process by which your body removes damaged cellular material (
Plus, there may be an association between green tea intake and protection against aging skin, as well as reduced hyperpigmentation caused by ultraviolet (UV) light (
Additionally, one review suggests that daily green tea intake may suppress brain aging by activating nerve cells and reducing stress (
You can get EGCG in your diet by drinking green tea or taking concentrated green tea extract supplements.
EGCG is a polyphenol compound concentrated in green tea that may improve mitochondrial function to support healthy aging. Plus, green tea intake is linked to a reduced risk of disease and death.
As you age, the production of collagen — a protein that helps maintain skin structure — slows, leading to accelerated signs of aging like wrinkles.
Some research suggests that supplementing with collagen may reduce signs of aging, including wrinkles and dry skin (
For example, a 12-week study in 72 women demonstrated that taking a supplement that contained 2.5 grams of collagen — along with several other ingredients, including biotin — per day significantly improved skin hydration, roughness, and elasticity (
Other human studies show that collagen supplements may improve skin elasticity, reduce wrinkles, increase skin hydration, and improve nail growth (
Though these results are promising, many of these studies are funded by companies that manufacture collagen products, which may influence study results.
Many types of collagen supplements are available, including powders and capsules.
Collagen is a popular dietary supplement that may help prevent skin aging by boosting collagen levels in your skin.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that your body produces. It plays an essential role in energy production and protects against cellular damage (
Research suggests that levels of CoQ10 decline as you age. Supplementing with it has been shown to improve certain aspects of health in older individuals.
For instance, a 4-year study in 443 older adults demonstrated that supplementing with CoQ10 and selenium improved overall quality of life, reduced hospital visits, and slowed physical and mental deterioration (
CoQ10 supplements may work by reducing oxidative stress, a condition characterized by an accumulation of free radicals that accelerates the aging process and the onset of age-related disease (
Additionally, CoQ10 supplements may benefit heart health by reducing stiffness in your arteries, lowering blood pressure, and preventing the buildup of oxidized cholesterol in your arteries (
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that your body naturally produces. Supplementing with it may slow age-related physical decline and improve quality of life in older adults.
Nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) are precursors to the compound nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+).
NAD+ is found in every cell in your body and is involved in many critical processes, including energy metabolism, DNA repair, and gene expression (22,
Its levels decline with age. This decline may be associated with accelerated physical decline and the onset of age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s (
Additionally, research suggests that the NAD+ precursors NMN and NR help restore NAD+ levels and age-associated cellular changes (
A 21-day study in 12 men with a median age of 75 showed that supplementing with 1 gram of NR daily increased NAD+ levels in skeletal muscle and reduced levels of inflammatory proteins. However, these results may be hampered by a conflict of interest (
Nonetheless, a 30-day study in both mice and a small number of people ages 45–60 found that NMN supplements significantly lengthened telomere length in each group. The shortening of telomeres plays a central role in the aging process (
Although these results are promising, more human research on NR and NMN is needed (
Supplementing with NMR and NR may help boost NAD+ levels in your body and prevent age-associated genetic changes.
Crocin is a yellow carotenoid pigment found in saffron, a popular, pricey spice that’s commonly used in Indian and Spanish cuisine.
Human and animal studies have shown that crocin offers many health benefits, including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, antidepressant, and antidiabetes effects. It may also protect against age-related cognitive decline (
Test-tube and rodent studies demonstrate that crocin helps prevent age-related nerve damage by inhibiting the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are compounds that contribute to the aging process (
Crocin has also been shown to help prevent aging in human skin cells by reducing inflammation and protecting against cellular damage induced by UV light (
Since saffron is the world’s most expensive spice, it may be more cost-effective to take a concentrated saffron supplement.
Crocin, which is a pigment found in saffron, may combat cellular damage and reduce inflammation to promote longevity and prevent cognitive decline.
Vitamin C functions as a powerful antioxidant in your body, helping to protect cells from oxidative damage. It also plays important roles in immune function, inflammation regulation, and many other processes that are essential to healthy aging (
This is why you should maintain an optimal intake of this vitamin to support health and protect against age-related conditions.
For example, in a study in 80 adults with an average age of 60, those with higher blood levels of vitamin C performed better on tasks involving attention, focus, memory, decision-making, recall, and recognition (
Vitamin C is also essential for skin health. Supplementing may improve skin hydration, stimulate collagen production, and safeguard against wrinkle development and premature aging due to sun exposure (
What’s more, some evidence suggests that supplementing with vitamin C improves immune function in older adults (
As older adults have a higher risk of suboptimal or deficient vitamin C levels than middle-aged or younger adults, they may want to consider taking supplements — especially if their diet is low in vitamin C-rich foods like fruits and vegetables (
Vitamin C levels are commonly low in older adults. Having too little may harm health and contribute to premature aging.
The following supplements may also support healthy aging. But keep in mind that more human research is needed on each of them.
8. Vitamin E
Vitamin E plays important roles in immune function and the regulation of inflammation.
Some evidence suggests that older adults need more of this vitamin than younger adults to maintain health during the aging process (
L-theanine is an amino acid concentrated in certain teas, including green tea.
Some research indicates that supplementing with L-theanine may help improve brain function in middle-aged adults and protect against age-related liver dysfunction, oxidative stress, and inflammation (
This medicinal plant has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Several animal studies suggest that rhodiola may help promote longevity. However, more human research is needed (
Astragalus is a stress-reducing herb used in traditional Chinese medicine.
It may help combat aging by reducing oxidative stress, promoting immune function, preventing cellular damage, and activating telomerase, an enzyme that maintains telomere length (
Fisetin is a flavonoid compound that’s considered a senotherapeutic, meaning it may kill senescent cells.
Rodent studies suggest that it may reduce the number of senescent cells in tissues, extend life span, and protect against brain aging (
Resveratrol is a polyphenol antioxidant found in grapes, berries, peanuts, and red wine that may promote longevity by activating certain enzymes called sirtuins.
Animal studies indicate that this compound may increase life span, but human research is needed (
Sulforaphane is a sulfur compound concentrated in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli that’s known to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Recent studies have found that sulforaphane increases the life span of roundworms and prevented age-associated heart problems in mice (
Research notes that vitamin E, L-theanine, rhodiola, astragalus, fisetin, and resveratrol may support various aspects of health as you age. However, more human studies are needed on each of these supplements.
Before adding a new supplement to your routine, talk with a doctor — especially if you have an underlying health condition or are taking medication.
As supplements are regulated differently than medications in the United States and many other countries, always look for third-party certification on the label to ensure you’re getting a high quality product.
Check out these two articles to help make supplement shopping a breeze:
In addition to following a healthy diet and lifestyle, taking certain supplements may help slow the aging process and promote a long, healthy life.
Curcumin, collagen, CoQ10, crocin, and vitamin C are just a few of the substances that have been shown to offer age-supportive effects.
Nevertheless, the best way to promote longevity and overall health is to take care of your body by eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and reducing stress.
Just one thing
Try this today: Did you know that reducing stress levels not only promotes overall health but may also boost your life span? Be sure to check out our list of stress reduction tips.