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Vitamins For An Older Healthy Person
Category: Vitamins and Other Food Supplements
Source: How And When To Be Your Own Doctor
Someone who is beyond 35 to 40 years of age should still feel good
almost all of the time. That is how life should be. But enjoying
well-being does not mean that no dietary supplementation is called
for. The onset of middle age is the appropriate time to begin
working on continuing to feel well for as long as possible. Just
like a car, if you take very good care of it from the beginning, it
is likely to run smoothly for many years into the future. If on the
other hand you drive it hard and fast with a lot of deferred
maintenance you will probably have to trade it in on a new one after
a very few years. Most people in their 70s and older who are
struggling with many uncomfortable symptoms and low energy lament,
'if I'd only known I was going to live so long I would have taken
better care of myself.' But at that point it is too late for the old
donkey; time for a trade in.
Gerontologists refer to combating the aging process as "squaring the
curve." We arrive at the peak of our physical function at about age
eighteen. How high that peak level is depends on a person's genetic
endowment, the quality of the start they received through their
mother's nutritional reserves, and the quality of their childhood
nutrition and life experience. From that peak our function begins to
drop. The rate of drop is not uniform, but is a cascade where each
bit of deterioration creates more deterioration, accelerating the
rate of deterioration. If various aging experiences were graphed,
they would make curves like those on the chart on this page.
Because deterioration starts out so slowly, people usually do not
begin to notice there has been any decline until they reach their
late 30s. A few fortunate ones don't notice it until their 40s. A
few (usually) dishonest ones claim no losses into their 50s but they
are almost inevitably lying, either to you or to themselves, or
both. Though it might be wisest to begin combating the aging process
at age 19, practically speaking, no one is going to start spending
substantial money on food supplements until they actually notice
significant lost function. For non-athletes this point usually comes
when function has dropped to about 90 percent of what it was in our
youth. If they're lucky what people usually notice with the
beginnings of middle age is an increasing inability for their bodies
to tolerate insults such as a night on the town or a big meal. Or
they may begin to get colds that just won't seem to go away. Or they
may begin coming home after work so tired that they can hardly stay
awake and begin falling asleep in their Lazy Boy recliner in front
of the TV even before prime time. If they're not so lucky they'll
begin suffering the initial twinges of a non-life-threatening
chronic condition like arthritis.
The thinnest line demonstrates the worst possible life from a purely
physical point of view, where a person started out life with
significantly lowered function, lost quite a bit more and then hung
on to life for many years without the mercy of death.
If one can postpone the deterioration of aging, they extend and
hopefully square the curve (retard loss of function until later and
then have the loss occur more rapidly). Someone whose lifetime
function resembled a "square curve"(the thickest, topmost line)
would experience little or no deterioration until the very end and
then would lose function precipitously. At this point we do not know
how to eliminate the deterioration but we do know how to slow it
down, living longer and feeling better, at least to a point close to
the very end.
Vitamin supplements can actually slow or even to a degree, reverse,
the aging process. However, to accomplish that task, they have to be
taken in amounts far greater than so-called minimum daily
requirements, using vitamins as though they were drugs, a
therapeutic approach to changing body chemistry profiles and making
them resemble a younger body. For example, research gerontologists
like Walford reason that if pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), in fairly
substantial (but quite safe) doses can extend the life and improve
the function of old rats, there is every indication that it will do
a similar job on humans. Medical researchers and research
gerontologists have noticed that many other vitamin and vitamin-like
substances have similar effects on laboratory animals.
Some will object that what helps rats and mice is in no way proven
to cause the same result on humans. I agree. Proven with full
scientific rigor, no. In fact, at present, the contention is
unprovable. Demonstrable as having a high likelihood's of being so,
yes! So likely so as to be almost incontrovertible, yes! But
provable to the most open-minded, scientific sort--probably not for a
long time. However, the Life Extension Foundation is working hard to
find some quantifiable method of gauging the aging process in humans
without waiting for the inarguable indicator, death. Once this is
accomplished and solidly recognized, probably no rational person
will be able to doubt that human life span can be increased.
Experiments work far better with short-lived laboratory animals for
another reason; we can not control the food and supplement intakes
of humans as we can with caged mice. In fact, there are special
types of laboratory mice that have been bred to have uniformly short
life spans, especially to accelerate this kind of research. With
mice we can state accurately that compared to a control group,
feeding such and such a dose of such and such a supplement extended
the life-span or functional performance by such and such a percent.
A lot of these very same medical gerontologists nourish their own
bodies as thoroughly as the laboratory animals they are studying,
taking broad mixes of food supplements at doses proportional to
those that extend the life spans of their research animals. This
approach to using supplementation is at the other end of the scale
compared to using supplements to prevent gross deficiencies. In the
life extension approach, vitamins and vitamin-like substances are
used as a therapy against the aging process itself.
Will it work? Well, some of these human guinea pigs have been on
heavy vitamin supplementation for over thirty years (as of 1995) and
none seem to be suffering any damage. Will they live longer? It is
impossible to say with full scientific rigor? To know if life
extension works, we would have to first determine "live longer than
what?" After all, we don't know how long any person might have lived
without life extending vitamin supplements. Though it can't be
"proven," it makes perfect sense to me to spend far less money on an
intensive life extension vitamin program than I would certainly lose
as a result of age-related sickness.
Besides, I've already observed from personal use and from results in
my clinical practice that life extension vitamin programs do work.
Whether I and my clients will ultimately live longer or not, the
people who I have put on these programs, including myself and my
husband, usually report that for several years after starting they
find themselves feeling progressively younger, gradually returning
to an overall state of greater well-being they knew five or ten or
fifteen years ago. They have more energy, feel clearer mentally,
have fewer unwanted somatic symptoms.
Sometimes the improvements seem rather miraculous. After a few
months on the program one ninety year old man, an independent-minded
Oregonian farmer, reported that he began awakening with an erection
every morning; unfortunately, his 89 year old cranky and somewhat
estranged wife, who would not take vitamins, did not appreciate this
youthfulness. A few months later (he had a small farm) he planted a
holly orchard. Most of you won't appreciate what this means without
a bit of explanation, but in Oregon, holly is grown as a high-priced
and highly profitable ornamental for the clusters of leaves and
berries. But a slow-growing holly orchard takes 25 years to began
making a profit!
A few older clients of mine reported that they noticed nothing from
the life extension program, but these are unique people who have
developed the ability to dominate their bodies with their minds and
routinely pay their bodies absolutely no attention, driving them
relentlessly to do their will. Usually they use their energies to
accomplish good, Christian works. Eventually, these dedicated and
high-toned people break down and die like everyone else. Will they
do so later on life extending vitamins than they would have
otherwise? I couldn't know because I can't know how long they might
have lived without supplementation and since they refuse to admit
the vitamins do them any good, they won't pay for them.
Many on life extension programs experience a reverse aging process
for awhile. However, after the full benefit of the supplementation
has worked itself through their body chemistry, they again begin to
experience the aging process. I believe the process will then be
slowed by their vitamins compared to what it would have been without
supplements. But I can't prove it. Maybe we will have some idea if
the program worked 20 to 40 years from now.
At this time I know of only two companies that make top quality life
extension vitamin supplement formulas. One is Prolongevity (Life
Extension Foundation), the other, Vitamin Research Products. I
prefer to support what I view as the altruistic motives behind
Prolongevity and buy my products from them. Unfortunately, these
vitamin compounders can not put every possibly beneficial substance
in a single bottle of tablets. The main reason they do not is fear
of the power-grabbing Food and Drug Administration. This agency is
threatening constantly to remove certain of the most useful
life-extending substances from the vitamin trade and make them the
exclusive property of prescription-writing medical doctors. So far,
public pressure has been mobilized against the FDA every time action
was threatened and has not permitted this. If some product were
included in a mix and that product were prohibited, the entire
mixed, bottled and labeled batch that remained unsold at that time
would be wasted, at enormous cost.
Were I manufacturing my own life extension supplement I would
include the following. By the way, to get this all in one day, it is
necessary to take 6 to 12 large tablets daily, usually spread
throughout the day, taken a few at a time with each meal. If you
compare my suggested formulation to another one, keep in mind that
variations of 25 percent one way or another won't make a significant
difference, and adding other beneficial substances to my
recommendations probably is only helpful. However, I would not want
to eliminate anything in the list below, it is the minimum:
Beta-Carotene 25,000 iu Selenium 100 mcg
Vitamin A 5,000 iu Taurine 500 mg
B-1 250 mg Cyctine 200 mg
B-2 50 mg Gluthaianone 15 mg
B-3 niacinamid 850 mg Choline 650 mg
B-5 750 mg Inositol 250 mg
B-6 200 mg Flavanoids 500 mg
B-12 100 mcg Zinc 35 mg
PABA 50 mg Chromium 100 mcg
Folic Acid 500 mcg Molybdenum 123 mg
Biotin 200 mcg Manganese 5 mg
Vitamin C 3,000 mg Iodine (as kelp) 10 mg
Vitamin E 600 iu Co-Enzyme Q-10 60 mg
Magnesium 1,000 mg DMAE 100 mg
Potassium 100 mg Ginko biloba 120 mg
Calcium 1,000 mg Vitamin D-3 200 iu
Please also keep in mind that there are many other useful substances
not listed above. For example, every day I have a "green drink," an
herbal preparation containing numerous tonic substances like ginseng
and also various forms of algae and chlorophyll extracts. My green
drink makes my body feel very peppy all day, so it certainly
enhances my life and may extend it. It costs about $25,00 a month to
enjoy that. I also use various pure amino acids at times.
Phenylalyanine will make me get more aggressive whenever I am
feeling a little lackluster; this nutrient has also been used as an
effective therapy against depression. Melatonin taken at bedtime
really does help me get to sleep and may have remarkable
life-extending properties. Other amino acids help my body
manufacture growth hormones and I use them from the time I begin
training seriously in spring through the end of the summer triathlon
competition season. Pearson and Shaw's book (see Bibliography) is a
good starting point to begin learning about this remarkably useful
Next: The Future Of Life Extension
Previous: Vitamins For Young Persons And Children