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Longevity Secrets: Which Supplements Should You Take?

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by David Bunnell
Guest columnist

Dietary supplements, which include vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, hormones and herbs can be a powerful addition to a nutritious diet.  They come in pill, capsule, tablet, powder or liquid form and are generally, though not always, consumed after eating a meal. 

As much as possible, you should get your nutrients from food, however, used correctly, supplements facilitate your body’s natural defense mechanisms to function better and thereby resist diseases. 

There are hundreds of supplements and considerable conflicting information about their effectiveness.

Drug companies have a vested interest in you getting sick and therefore they aren’t all that interested in supplements that might keep you well.  On the other hand, supplement companies have a vested interested in you putting too much faith in their products.

Supplement studies are sometimes designed to purposely mislead or create unnecessary confusion.  I could write a whole book on this topic. 

What is important, however, is finding the right supplements that can help your body reduce free radicals and inflammation, stimulate blood flow, increase production of good hormones, strengthen cell membranes and build your immunity system.

Based on my research including interviews with doctors and scientists and my own use of supplements, I have come up with following guidelines which apply in a broad, general sense first to everyone, then to male and female children, young men, young women, middle-aged men and middle-aged women.  Consider middle-age to be 50 and above. 

These guidelines reflect my own opinions and should not be the only information you rely on for deciding which supplements you should take.  I encourage you to read all you can about supplements, talk to your friends and your doctor.

Keep in mind that you can always make changes.  If a supplement doesn’t seem to be working for you, or you become concerned it might be detrimental, then quit taking it.  Conversely, you can always add a new one. 

Here are my recommendations:

Supplements Everyone Should Take

  1. Multi-vitamin.  One a day.  
  2. Vitamin D.  1000-3000 units, daily. More in winter, less in summer. 
  3. Omega 3.  2,000 mg daily for Adults.  1,000 mg for children.

note:  Children getting one hour or more of sunlight a day may not need to take Vitamin D as a supplement, particularly in the summer.  If you eat three or more servings of fish a week, you can skip the Omega 3 supplement. 

Additional Supplements for Children

  1. Calcium.  4-8 years old, 800 mg., daily.  8-18 years old, 1300 mg., daily.

note:  Children can get adequate calcium from milk, fortified orange juice, yogurt, cheese, leafy greens, etc., but most don’t and thus need a supplement.  Either way, adequate Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption.

Additional Supplements for Young Women

  1. Vitamin B Complex with 800 mcg folic acid.  One a day.
  2. Vitamin E.  400 units, daily.
  3. Selenium.  200 mcg, daily.
  4. CoQ10.  30 mg, twice daily.
  5. Calcium.  1000 mg, daily.
  6. Vitamin K.  100 mcg, daily.
  7. Lycopene.  15 mg, daily.

 Additional Supplements for Young Men

  1. Vitamin B Complex with 800 mcg folic acid.  One a day.
  2. Vitamin E.  400 units, daily.
  3. Selenium.  200 mcg, daily.
  4. CoQ10.  30 mg, twice daily.
  5. Milk Thistle.  150 mg, once daily.
  6. Saw Palmetto.  580 mg, once daily.

note:  Milk Thistle supports liver function.  If you don’t drink alcohol or drink very little alcohol, you can skip this. 

Additional Supplements for Middle-Aged Women

  1. Vitamin B Complex with 800 mcg folic acid.  One a day.
  2. Vitamin E.  400 units, daily.
  3. Selenium.  200 mcg, daily.
  4. Alpha Lipoic Acid.  200 mg, twice daily.
  5. Acetyl-L-Carnitine.  500 mg, twice daily.
  6. Cucumin.  500 mg, daily.
  7. CoQ10.  30 mg, twice daily.
  8. Calcium.  1000 mg, daily.
  9. Vitamin K.  100 mcg, daily.
  10. Lycopene.  15 mg, daily.
  11. Magnesium.  400 mg, daily.
  12. Potassium.  40 mg, daily.
  13. Phosphatidyl serine (PS).  300 mg, daily.
  14. Nattokinase.  100 mg, daily.
  15. Lutein with Zeananthin.  20 mg/1mg, daily.
  16. DHEA. 25 mg, daily.

note:  Ask your doctor before taking DHEA which is a powerful hormone. 

Additional Supplements for Middle-Aged Men

  1. Vitamin B Complex with 800 mcg folic acid.  One a day.
  2. Vitamin E.  400 units, daily.
  3. Selenium.  200 mcg, daily.
  4. CoQ10.  30 mg, twice daily.
  5. Milk Thistle.  150 mg, once daily.
  6. Saw Palmetto.  580 mg, once daily.
  7. Alpha Lipoic Acid.  200 mg, twice daily.
  8. Acetyl-L-Carnitine.  500 mg, twice daily.
  9. Cucumin.  500 mg, daily.
  10. Lycopene.  15 mg, daily.
  11. Magnesium.  400 mg, daily.
  12. Potassium.  40 mg, daily.
  13. Phosphatidyl serine (PS).  300 mg, daily.
  14. Nattokinase.  100 mg, daily.
  15. Lutein with Zeananthin.  20 mg/1mg, daily.
  16. DHEA. 25 mg, daily.

note:  If you have prostate cancer or have a high risk of prostate cancer you should not take DHEA unless it is prescribed by your doctor.

The legendary David Bunnell is a technology publishing pioneer and longevity author and speaker. He lives in Berkeley, California.


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