We know what can happen as we age: joints get achier, we don’t sleep as well and our memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be. But there are helpful nutrients that can help ease these symptoms of aging! We checked in with two of Pharmaca’s naturopathic doctors, Dr. Patrick Fox and Dr. Lucy Culverhouse, for their recommendations on helping seniors feel their best. (Just be sure to check with your health care practitioner before starting any new supplements if you are already taking prescription drugs.)
As we age, our sleep patterns change: we find it harder to fall asleep, we wake up in the middle of the night or sleep doesn’t feel as restful as when we were younger. All these common changes are part of our changing “sleep architecture,” which experts at the National Sleep Foundation say is often the result of physical changes or even medication use.
Lifestyle modifications can help, like limiting caffeine or eliminating naps during the day. Supplements can be beneficial, too, Dr. Fox says, especially magnesium. In addition to helping us ease into sleep, magnesium lets us sleep more restfully and even helps reduce muscle aches and pains that keep us awake. He says most people are deficient in magnesium, and recommends Thorne Magnesium Bisglycinate, a unique formulation that is particularly well absorbed in our gut, and doesn’t produce the annoying laxative effects that other forms of magnesium can produce.
Achy joints and stiffness
When we first wake up our joints can feel especially achy and sore. Slow stretching can help ease us into the day, as can supplements that keep our joints moving better, like fish oil that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that fish oil can help with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and even reduce our risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
Try New Chapter WholeMega Whole Fish Oil tablets, which are made from 100% wild salmon from sustainable fisheries in Alaska. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are another good choice for joint health—Natural Factors OsteoMove Extra Strength Joint Care combines these two proven ingredients with MSM, an organic sulfur compound that reduces inflammation and pain, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
Weak, brittle bones
Calcium is the gold standard for keeping our bones strong, and it’s better absorbed when combined with magnesium and vitamin D3. New Chapter Bone Strength Take Care is a good choice, says Dr. Culverhouse, because this plant-based calcium comes from red marine algae that’s rich in minerals and has been shown in laboratory tests to strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Eye and vision deterioration
As we age, vision disturbances from conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma and dry eye occur more often. Omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin have all been found to help keep our eyes healthy, and Nordic Naturals Omega Vision combines all of these nutrients to protect eyes and keep them feeling comfortable.
A reduction in collagen production, genetics and years of sun exposure can all contribute to thinning skin. Thinner skin bruises more easily and can even tear when we bump into something sharp. Vitanica Skin Assist blends skin-renewing botanicals and healing nutrients like vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to help boost collagen production, and vitamin E and horsetail extract to help heal skin.
Mild forgetfulness is very common among seniors. Fortunately there are supplements that can keep our brain healthy! Dr. Culverhouse tells us that lion’s mane mushrooms contain two special compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells, hericenones and erinacines, which can help with memory issues and boost mental functioning. Try Host Defense Lion’s Mane Extract.
Lack of energy
Seniors are often deficient in B vitamins, Dr. Fox tells us, due to our inability to break down food well enough to absorb these critical vitamins. This can lead to tiredness and even difficulty with balance. New Chapter Coenzyme B Food Complex is made with whole-food ingredients and probiotics that are formulated in a way that allows us to easily digest the nutrients, and provides us with active forms of eight different B vitamins.