Ageing describes the natural physiological changes that occur throughout our lives and is an unavoidable aspect of our existence[i][ii]. Our cells and tissues in our bodies have a limited lifespan, and as time passes, their structures and functions can gradually deteriorate. This might seem a bit doom and gloom but read on to see our suggestions for optimising health and maintaining vitality through natural health and lifestyle recommendations[iii].
This raises the question: why does this process occur?
Over the years, scientists have dedicated countless studies to this field, resulting in the development of over 300 theories regarding the mechanisms of ageing. Now, with ongoing research, our understanding of ageing continues to expand[iv].
Ageing can be put into two types and due to two types of ageing which are described as intrinsic and extrinsic[v]:
Intrinsic ageing refers to the natural ageing process that occurs internally within our bodies. It is largely influenced by our genetic makeup and biological factors[vi].
Extrinsic ageing, on the other hand, is caused by external factors and environmental influences that accelerate the ageing process. These factors include unsafe exposure to sunlight (UV radiation), pollution, smoking, poor nutrition, and other detrimental lifestyle choices[vii].
Cellular ageing is connected to the natural ageing process of cells. Cells are the basic units of the body and have a natural ability to divide and perform functions. However, as cells divide, they gradually get older and lose their ability to function as well as they used to[viii].
With age, cells also experience more damage, which affects their health and disrupts biological processes. This damage builds up over time and contributes to the ageing process[ix].
As we age, our bodies undergo changes that affect nutrient absorption, metabolism, and use of nutrients by the body required for great health[x]. Therefore, nutritional therapy is an incredibly important tool for helping to slow and also support the ageing process. As a discipline it addresses changing nutrient needs, helps to foresee and aims to prevent diseases, as well as supporting overall well-being[xi].
Nutritional therapy ensures that older adults receive adequate amounts of essential nutrients to support their health. It plays a significant role in preventing age-related chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and cognitive decline. You can read more in our articles on these topics.
A nutritional therapy consultation can get you on your way to achieving a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. This will help in terms of optimising and maintaining good immune function and reducing inflammation[xii].
Additionally, nutritional therapy is essential for preserving muscle and bone health. Ageing is often associated with a loss of muscle mass and bone density, increasing the risk of frailty, falls, and fractures[xiii].
Firstly, aim for a balanced and diverse diet that includes nutrient-dense foods. This means consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Adequate protein intake is particularly important for maintaining muscle mass and overall health. Additionally, prioritise antioxidant-rich foods like berries, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and colourful vegetables. These foods help combat oxidative stress, which is a major factor in accelerating ageing[xiv].
Another essential consideration is incorporating sources of omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. These can be found in fatty fish (such as salmon and sardines), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Plant sources of omega 3 such as these also have a lot of fibre to support digestive health and therefore help in detoxification processes. Omega-3 fatty acids have numerous health benefits, including reducing inflammation and supporting brain and heart health[xv].
To promote healthy ageing, it is important to reduce the intake of added sugars and opt for whole, unprocessed foods as part of a balanced diet. This might look like reading food labels to identify hidden sugars, choosing whole foods over processed options, and cutting back on sugary drinks and sauces. Cooking at home allows better control over fresher ingredients. You can gradually reduce sugar in recipes and drinks and be mindful of cravings by finding healthier alternatives or thinking about moderation.
Go for natural sweeteners like fruits (and avoid chemical sweeteners like aspartame[xvi][xvii], which is said to have detrimental effects on health) or spices to add flavour to dishes instead of salt to support the circulatory system - When we consume high amounts of salt, it can lead to increased fluid retention and higher blood pressure.
Hydration is also key for healthy ageing, so make sure to drink sufficient water and fluids throughout the day to support the health of body systems[xviii].
Viridian Alpha Lipoic Acid with DMAE Complex: Alpha lipoic acid, a powerful antioxidant, has shown potential in reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and age-related skin damage, making it a promising compound for addressing aging concerns[xix].
The Beauty Chef Antioxidant Inner Beauty Boost: The Beauty Chef Antioxidant Inner Beauty Boost is a delicious organic, bio-fermented, enzyme-packed probiotic concentrate designed to give you a daily shot of nutritional support that helps to protect your skin and body from free-radical damage and cellular ageing[xx].
Collagen: Collagen, a key structural protein in the skin, gradually declines with age, leading to decreased skin elasticity, increased wrinkles, and sagging, making collagen supplementation or stimulation strategies a great power in combating signs of ageing[xxi]. Bare Biology Skinful Pure Marine Collagen Planet Paleo / Pure Collagen - Matcha Latte
Viridian Ultimate Beauty Skin Hydration: A combination of ceramides, proanthocyanidins and hydrophillic compounds, Ultimate Beauty Skin Hydration is a valuable addition to a youth-boosting beauty regimen, alongside a sensible diet and healthy lifestyle choices[xxii].
Phyto Nectars: 'I am radiant' - A bespoke blend of phytonutrients, mushrooms and vitamins to help you in your search for voluptuous skin perfection[xxiii]. With Vitamin C which contributes to normal collagen formation, Vitamin A and Biotin to help support normal healthy skin, plus Vitamin E to protect cells from oxidative stress[xxiv].
Pure Encapsulations Resveratrol Extra: Resveratrol, a naturally occurring compound found in certain foods like grapes and red wine, has been associated with potential anti-aging effects due to its ability to activate longevity genes, reduce inflammation, and provide antioxidant protection[xxv].
Viridian S.P.F. Skin Pro-Factors: A combination of powerful antioxidants to boost skin health as a result of exposure to the sun. This supplement is specially formulated to be taken during the summer months. It does not replace the need to use an appropriate sunscreen. In the Northern hemisphere, begin supplementation in April and continue until the end of the summer. Includes astaxanthin, grape seed extract and beta-carotene, amongst others[xxvi].
For our favourite anti-ageing beauty products and much more see our separate article on ageing skin
To promote healthy ageing, engage in regular physical activity, maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrients, and prioritise sufficient sleep and stress management[xxvii]. Aim for a combination of aerobic exercises (such as walking, cycling, or swimming), strength training exercises[xxviii] (using weights or resistance bands) and activities that improve balance and flexibility (like yoga or Tai Chi).
Stay socially connected, stimulate your mind with mental activities – it’s never a bad time to start a new hobby and meet new people. Okinawa, a region in Japan known for its high number of centenarians, has been extensively studied for its lifestyle factors. As well as exercise, walking and gardening, older Okinawans enjoy socialising with friends and even taking the stage at karaoke bars [xxix]
Additionally, nurture a positive mindset and prioritise self-care activities that bring joy and relaxation.
The Complete Thyroid Panel test - is appropriate for ageing as thyroid imbalances become more common with age. It assesses thyroid function and auto-immunity, which can affect metabolism, energy levels, cognitive function, and overall well-being. By analysing multiple thyroid markers, this comprehensive test helps identify and address imbalances, alleviating symptoms and improving quality of life[xxx].
The Metabolomix Plus Advanced test - is appropriate for ageing adults because it offers a comprehensive assessment of nutritional status, which becomes increasingly important as we age. The process of ageing may lead to changes in metabolism, nutrient absorption, and general nutritional needs overall. This test provides valuable insights into essential and metabolic fatty acids, as well as a nutrient and toxic elements clearance profile. By analysing these markers, the test can help identify any nutritional deficiencies, imbalances, or toxic element exposures that may be affecting the health and well-being in later life[xxxi].
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[xv] Denis I, Potier B, Vancassel S, Heberden C, Lavialle M. Omega-3 fatty acids and brain resistance to ageing and stress: body of evidence and possible mechanisms. Ageing Res Rev. 2013 Mar;12(2):579-94.
[xvi] Landrigan, P.J., Straif, K. Aspartame and cancer – new evidence for causation. Environ Health 20, 42 (2021).
[xvii] Steffen, B.T., Jacobs, D.R., Yi, SY. et al. Long-term aspartame and saccharin intakes are related to greater volumes of visceral, intermuscular, and subcutaneous adipose tissue: the CARDIA study. Int J Obes 47, 939–947 (2023).
[xviii] Link between hydration and aging. National Institutes of Health. January 24, 2023
[xix] de Bengy, A.-F.; Decorps, J.; Martin, L.S.; Pagnon, A.; Chevalier, F.P.; Sigaudo-Roussel, D.; Fromy, B. Alpha-Lipoic Acid Supplementation Restores Early Age-Related Sensory and Endothelial Dysfunction in the Skin. Biomedicines 2022, 10, 2887.
[xx] Fusco D, Colloca G, Lo Monaco MR, Cesari M. Effects of antioxidant supplementation on the aging process. Clin Interv Aging. 2007;2(3):377-87. PMID: 18044188; PMCID: PMC2685276.
[xxi] Al-Atif H. Collagen Supplements for Aging and Wrinkles: A Paradigm Shift in the Fields of Dermatology and Cosmetics. Dermatol Pract Concept. 2022 Jan 1;12(1):e2022018.
[xxii] Liu X, Xing Y, Yuen M, Yuen T, Yuen H, Peng Q. Anti-Aging Effect and Mechanism of Proanthocyanidins Extracted from Sea buckthorn on Hydrogen Peroxide-Induced Aging Human Skin Fibroblasts. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Sep 25;11(10):1900.
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[xxiv] Venturella G, Ferraro V, Cirlincione F, Gargano ML. Medicinal Mushrooms: Bioactive Compounds, Use, and Clinical Trials. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jan 10;22(2):634.
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[xxvi] Tan BL, Norhaizan ME. Carotenoids: How Effective Are They to Prevent Age-Related Diseases? Molecules. 2019 May 9;24(9):1801.
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[xxviii] National Institute on Aging ‘How can strength training build healthier bodies as we age?’ June 30, 2022
[xxix] Health in Japan: Social Epidemiology of Japan since the 1964 Tokyo Olympics edited by Eric Brunner, Noriko Cable, Hiroyasu Iso
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Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.