Your Guide to Supplements at Any Age
Everyone can benefit from a health boost, but depending on your stage of life, certain nutrients can be more powerful than others. Here are the top supplement picks no matter what your age:
School-aged children (ages 4-14)
This group benefits most from hard-to-get nutrients for a growing brain & immune system, to support overall health with those picky eaters.
Omega-3 fatty acids are made up of two subtypes- EPA & DHA. Though they are both beneficial at any age, DHA is especially useful with supporting brain health. Since the main food source of this nutrient is found in fatty fish like salmon, it can be very difficult to maintain a regular intake of this nutrient and a supplement is often needed. Whether you choose a balanced EPA + DHA formula, or one with additional DHA, it doesn’t take long to notice the benefit!
Let’s be honest: if given a choice, most kids would choose pizza and fries over a kale salad for dinner. And as important as it is to ensure they are eating their fruits & vegetables, sometimes the support of a quality multivitamin can give us the peace of mind we need. When selecting a multivitamin, always look for a formula without artificial colours/dyes, natural sources of sweetener and key nutrients such as vitamin D and iron.
In your 20s
This is a critical time to build up bone mass (since we start to lose it after 30), as well as iron stores in women. Considering that most diets may include more soda, alcohol, and caffeine at this stage, building a strong foundation is critical.
Choosing the right iron can make all the difference since many of the prescribed versions are constipating and upset the stomach. Look for easily absorbed versions that also contain complimentary nutrients that support iron usage in the body.
It’s not just about calcium! In fact, too much calcium without enough of the other necessary bone nutrients can be detrimental to our health. Look for formulas with magnesium, vitamin D, and ideally some vitamin K2 also!
In your 30s
This is a period of increased stress for many. Whether career, new family or other challenges, the body is often undergoing more day-to-day demands that need to be supported. Plus, natural decreases in collagen in the body can affect hair, skin & nails—even more reason to increase your antioxidant levels!
Also known as the stress & energy family of vitamins, they can really make the difference between feeling drained & overwhelmed, vs. positive & determined.
Be sure to look for the activated forms of these vitamins, such as B12 in the methylcobalamin form and B6 as pyroxidal-5-phosphate.
The cornerstones of this category can be as simple as vitamin C, A, & E, or as fancy as resveratrol (found in red grapes) and EGCG (from green tea). My personal (and simple) solution is a greens powder. They can be added to your daily smoothie or morning lemon water without any additional fuss! Either way, alternating formulas every couple of months is often your best bet.
In your 40s
After age 40, many parts of the body begin to lose their ‘elasticity’ of youth. In other words, our blood vessels and muscles stiffen up, and our digestive system begins to slow down production of some enzymes and stomach acid.
Whether from stress, muscle aches or blood pressure regulation, this ‘cure-all’ mineral can be a valuable addition to any supplement routine. If you’re looking for more muscle and blood vessel support, choose the glycinate form of magnesium. If you wish to relax in general and have sluggish bowels, the citrate form might be a better fit.
Especially with a meal containing more protein (lunch & dinner for most), avoiding heartburn, bloating and indigestion can be easily remedied with a full-spectrum enzyme (one that also contains betaine HCL). Take it with the first few bites of eating for maximum effect.
In your 50s
Joint aches & pains, along with preserving heart & brain function are key areas of focus during this decade. Luckily, two supplements can cover all of these areas with ease.
This yellow spice contains a potent anti-inflammatory component known as curcumin. If you are looking for maximum pain relief, opt for the curcumin portion. However, if your goal is to maintain pain-free activities, then regular consumption of the whole spice turmeric is the way to go.
A high-quality omega-3 fish oil supplement can effectively treat blood pressure, cholesterol, brain, and heart health. Aim for at least 1000mg of total omega-3s per day.
In your 60s & beyond
This is the perfect time to supplement your health routine with nutrients that you may be missing. With a focus on brain health (memory & mood), these two nutrients are safe whether you are on medication or not.
If you’re taking cholesterol medication, your body is being robbed of this vital antioxidant. It protects your heart and keeps any muscle pain caused by the medication at bay.
As we age, our body produces less stomach acid which can lessen our ability to absorb vitamin B12 from our food. Low B12 levels have been associated with low mood and cognitive impairment, so always use a sublingual version for maximum absorption.
There you have it! Be sure to stock up your natural medicine cabinet with these must-haves for the whole family.
Dr. Laura Belus is a Naturopathic Doctor that focuses on detoxification and hormone balance for weight loss, stress management, and greater energy. She believes in making simple, yet powerful, changes to diet & lifestyle habits that create lasting results. She practices in Mississauga and Toronto.