Anti-ageing & Skincare Supplements
Few things in life are guaranteed, but getting older is one of them. You could argue that you start ageing the minute you’re born. And if you’re lucky enough to live long enough, at some point you’ll spot those inevitable signs that you’re not as young as you used to be.
But it’s not just about developing a touch of grey or the dreaded appearance of a wrinkle or two. Ageing can have a serious impact on your wellbeing, triggering changes in the body that can lead to things like:
- Weaker muscles and bones
- Creakier joints
- Poorer eyesight and hearing
- Worsening memory and thinking skills
- Lower sex drive
Ageing makes you more susceptible to ill health in general. According to The King’s Fund, 58 per cent of people aged 60 and older have a long-term medical condition compared with just 14 per cent of the under-40s.
The list of age-related medical conditions is a long one too, and includes – to name just a few – arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, stroke, osteoporosis and cancer (here in the UK, statistics suggest more than half of cancer deaths in people of all ages are in those aged 75 and older).
Did you know? Some scientists believe once you reach your 105th birthday you actually stop ageing. Official statistics show the number of men aged 105 or older in the UK has more than doubled in the last 10 years, while the number of women is up by about half.
Theories of ageing
So, why do we grow old in the first place?
Good question, but unfortunately there’s no definitive answer. In fact one scientific paper claims there are no less than 300 or so theories on why we age. What we do know is that ageing is the changes during an organism’s lifespan that cause a progressive deterioration of bodily functions. Experts have even given a special word to this process: senescence.
Whatever you call it, there are two types of ageing:
Intrinsic ageing This is the biological ageing of your cells, which is genetically predetermined and happens naturally. All of your cells divide and multiply naturally throughout your life. But the more they divide, the older and less healthy they become. Put it this way: your cells aren’t designed to live forever. Indeed scientists believe human cells can only divide about 50 times before dying.
One well-known factor we know of that stops human cells dividing and multiplying is a process called telomere shortening. Telomeres are tiny protein structures found at the end of human chromosomes that help protect our DNA. But the more times a cell divides, the shorter its telomeres become. This means the protective effect starts to wear off, leading to DNA changes and ultimately cells that no longer work properly.
The rate at which this shortening process happens depends on genetic factors as well as lifestyle factors – more of that in a moment.
Other changes in the body that happen naturally as we get older include problems with our immune systems, which become weaker (immunosenescence) and less able to function normally. Changes in the hormones the body produces may play a part in ageing too, as well as the failure of various types of stem cells – special cells that generate different types of cells with specific functions.
Extrinsic ageing This is caused by external factors. You may, for instance, live or work in an area with lots of pollution or you may smoke, drink a lot of alcohol or be exposed to high levels of stress. Having a poor diet is also thought to be a factor, plus we tend to absorb fewer nutrients as we get older (read more in our article on nutrition healthcare for older adults).
All of these things can damage your cells and, over time, contribute to ageing. Smoking, has even been linked with having shorter telomeres for your age, as has having a sedentary lifestyle (scientists claim being highly active could help keep your telomeres longer and delay the ageing process for nine years).
We all experience intrinsic and extrinsic ageing. But these processes vary from one individual to the next, which is why most of us age in different ways and at different rates.
Did you know? Having a healthy lifestyle has been associated with a longer life expectancy of between five and 18 years. A scientific review of 148 studies also suggests those with good social relationships are more likely to live longer than people who are isolated and lonely. The scientists estimate having regular contact with friends and family boosts longevity as much as giving up smoking and by twice as much as exercising regularly.
Can ageing be reversed?
The truth is there’s no way to reverse the signs of ageing. But there are things you can do to stay as healthy and youthful as possible for longer. Obviously the healthier your lifestyle, the better, so try to eat a balanced diet, avoid smoking, drink in moderation and stay physically and mentally active.
Are anti-ageing beauty treatments worth a try? Many people think so: according to industry experts the global anti-ageing market was worth about $58.5 billion in 2020. However there’s little clinical evidence to suggest many of these treatments actually work.
One anti-ageing product experts are pretty confident about is sunscreen. A study of almost 300 women concludes exposure to UV light causes 80 per cent of visible facial ageing. So – while we aren’t experts in creams and balms… yet – if we had to recommend one for anti-ageing purposes, a good-quality SPF product would be our choice.
Anti-ageing nutritional and herbal supplements are big business too. Again these can’t actually reverse ageing. But the right supplement for the right person in the right situation can be helpful for many age-related challenges..
Here’s a quick rundown of a few popular nutrients taken as supplements for their anti-ageing properties:
- Vitamin C helps build collagen, a protein found in skin, bones, muscles and tendons that gives them their strength and structure. But collagen production declines with age, making your skin less firm and springy. Studies back the idea that vitamin C can improve the signs of skin ageing.
- Vitamin E, like vitamin C, is an antioxidant vitamin, so it may help reduce cell damage caused by free radicals (oxidative stress). One study suggests when both vitamins are taken together they may help protect the skin against UV damage.
- All the B vitamins are important and need to be topped up daily, particularly B2 and Biotin (B7); which are known to support the maintenance of normal skin. However, older adults often have low levels of vitamin B12 because it is tough to absorb, which can impact health in many ways. In which case, you might want to give a supplement such as our Vitamin B12 tablets a try.
- Vitamin K reduces inflammation in the body, with studies showing it reduces the risk of age-related conditions like cardiovascular disease, arthritis and osteoporosis. Good-quality supplements, such as our Vitamin K2 capsules should contain the most effective form of K2: MK-7.
- Iodine can cause problems if you don’t get enough of it, including cognitive decline. One paper even says iodine deficiency is the most prevalent and preventable cause of mental impairment in the world. Iodine also supports the maintenance of normal skin.
- Magnesium is important for healthy ageing too, since having inadequate levels has been linked with a variety of chronic age-related diseases. We’re more likely to become deficient in magnesium as we get older. We offer Magnesium Citrate, because it is far more absorbable than the Magnesium oxide form often found in high-street stores.
- Zinc is very significant – it keeps your immune system working normally, plus you need it for good vision, skin, bones, hair and nails. It also protects cells against oxidative stress and helps with normal cognitive function. Our Zinc gluconate tablets provide an optimum daily dose in a highly absorbable form.
- Copper is needed for the proper functioning of almost all of the tissues in the human body. Studies show medical products embedded with microscopic copper oxide particles benefit the wellbeing of the skin, improving elasticity and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Oils, acids and enzymes
- Starflower oil – or borage oil – contains high levels of gamma linoleic acid (GLA), which may help reduce inflammation in the body – though research is still ongoing. It could also help with skin anti-ageing as it has antioxidant properties, thanks to its vitamin E content.
- Hemp seed – which contains Omega 3,6 & 9 fatty acids, beta-carotene, amino acids and many other beneficial phyto-chemicals – can be a highly effective anti-ageing oil. Often applied topically, this small study also indicates that ingesting Hemp Seed Oil on a daily basis, can improve skin quality in a relatively short period of time.
- Omega 3 fish oil supplements are often recommended for younger-looking skin, and one study suggests they help protect against UV damage. Dermatologists such as Dr Nicholas Perricone recommend trying to get more omega 3's into your diet as they reduce the production of inflammatory compounds in the body involved with ageing.
- Collagen – a protein found in large quantities in the body – can be taken as a supplement too, with small-scale studies confirming its skin-firming benefits. Found in products such as our Marine Collagen Complex (which also contains many of the other nutrients mentioned here) - this is a popular supplement for helping to reduce visible signs of skin ageing.
- Hyaluronic acid is produced naturally in the body and helps keep your joints lubricated and your skin hydrated. But the older you get, the less you produce. Hyaluronic acid is also found in our Marine Collagen Complex.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is produced by the body too, but again you make much less of it as you get older. It’s needed for energy and protects against cellular damage.
Herbs and spices
- Turmeric contains the active compound curcumin, which studies show has therapeutic potential in the prevention and treatment of a wide range of age-related medical conditions. Our high-strength Organic Turmeric Curcumin capsules are some of the best on the market.
- Garlic is one of the oldest medicinal plants, with reports suggesting it helps boost immunity, protects against inflammation and lowers the risk of age-related conditions like heart disease and dementia. It also acts as an antioxidant and is easily absorbed by the body.
- Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine. One recent study suggests this herb improves sleep quality, mental alertness and general quality of life in older people. Try our Organic KSM-66 Ashwagandha capsules (KSM-66 is a potent and proven ashwagandha extract, which is why it’s the only one we use).
Should we stop saying anti-ageing?
The nutrients listed above are just some of the substances offering potential anti-ageing effects, and a really good anti-ageing & skincare supplement can provides you with many of these important nutrients at the same time.
Our coveted Marine Collagen Complex, for example, combines a potent dose of top-quality type 1 collagen with Hyaluronic acid, Iodine, Zinc, Copper, Biotin and Vitamins C, E & B2. If your levels of any one of these nutrients are below optimum, you should see some sort of positive effect at the very least.
However, the term 'anti-ageing', when taken literally, could surely be considered a bit misleading? After all, there’s no way to actually stop or reverse ageing - slowing down the process and looking as good for our age as possible is the best we can hope for. Some even argue the term is offensive or at least negative. Indeed, leading US women’s glossy magazine Allure has banned the use of the phrase in its editorial.
A healthy lifestyle and the right supplements can, however, help you feel better and treat symptoms that are associated with getting older. Perhaps instead of referring to their anti-ageing capabilities, we should say they are pro-ageing, or that they have healthier or happier-ageing properties. You never know, it could encourage more of us to look after ourselves as best as we can and stay healthy and happy for as long as possible.