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Vitamins For An Older Healthy Person

Categories: Vitamins and Other Food Supplements
Sources: 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 fo
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