If you are between the ages of 40 and 45, you could be reading this to learn how vitamin supplements might offset the effects of aging. You might also want to know if vitamin supplements can prevent diseases that become more prevalent in midlife. Although certain supplements probably can offset aging and disease, most experts recommend fulfilling vitamin needs through diet when possible. However, there are exceptions.
Unless you take vitamin D supplements or drink lots of milk fortified with the “sunshine vitamin,” you probably get most of this vitamin from the sun. Because so many of us spend the bulk of our daylight hours indoors, however, supplementation is important to prevent deficiency. According to the website Ahead of the Curve at Midlife, more than half the population is vitamin D deficient. Having an adequate daily supply of vitamin D is particularly important for those in their middle years, because deficiencies correlate with illnesses that tend to erupt in the 40s or later in life such as cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease. If you’re in your 40s you should avoid excessive sun exposure as a source of vitamin D, to reduce the likelihood of both skin cancer and wrinkles. Ten to 15 minutes each day outside in sunlight without sunscreen is enough to allow your body to produce vitamin D.
The Life Tips website advises that half of all men have coronary heart disease by age 50. If you have reached the age of 40, now might be a good time to consider taking a vitamin supplement that contains folic acid, B-6 and B-12. According to the American Heart Association website, these particular B vitamins appear to break down homocysteine and reduce its level in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid that correlates with heart disease. The AHA reports that higher levels of B-6 and B-12 in the blood correspond to lower levels of homocysteine, whereas lower levels of folic acid seem to correlate with higher levels of harmful homocysteine in the blood.
Free radicals are atoms that become unstable in the body when oxygen combines with some molecules, and if left unattended they can damage DNA, causing cells to die or grow abnormally. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals and may slow down the aging process by reducing the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Some studies have also suggested antioxidants may prevent diseases that become more prevalent in midlife such as atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. A 2010 study published online at the Nutrition and Metabolism website suggests that antioxidant supplements can increase elasticity of both large and small arteries in people at risk for heart disease.