Aging Nutritional Needs

Multivitamins by Age

When we are younger, we tend to think of the activities that we “should” do to prolong our longevity as being “on the back-burner”, that is, only until we are much older, which is often too late.

In truth, all stages of our life effect the next, much like a domino hitting the domino beside it. Thinking about our nutrition from start to end, allows us to live healthier lives, which lends itself toward longevity, and also allows more room for a relaxed and balanced aging process.

Ask yourself which you would rather have:

1) You take no consideration for your health and nutrition for the first half to two-thirds of your life, then after mounting health issues, you are forced to convert to a hyper strict diet that does not allow salt, sugar or fat. Additionally, you are forced to take handfuls of high dosage supplements and medication to attempt to counteract the many years of nutritional neglect within your system, and living the last third of your life devoid of flavor and fun.

2) You begin a mindful and balanced approach to your nutrition and well being, incorporating high amounts of plant-based and unprocessed foods with regular moderate physical activity in conjunction with a whole food sourced daily supplement at a dosage amount that compliments your daily nutritional intake. Meanwhile, you are able to enjoy a vibrant quality of life, full of flavor, and even a glass of wine if and when you so choose. This everyday moderate consideration for your own health and wellbeing stretch from one phase of life to the next, all the way until you are being asked “what is your secret?” while you socialize at your 102nd birthday party.

When you think of it that way, the choice seems to be a pretty easy one to make! Feeling better and for longer, with even more long-term freedom as a result, goes to show that every stage of life is important, and can be vibrant and fun!

We can even imagine our bodies as if they were cars. Imagine driving your car around and refusing to change its oil even once – the engine will eventually become worn out and fail completely. Now you are in the predicament of having to replace your engine, or get a new car. Either way, you are going to have to shell out a lot of money and experience a good amount of hassle and stress to resolve the situation, as opposed to the minimal amount of money and effort it would have required to simply change your oil on a regular basis, resulting in more joy rides and road trip adventures for you!

Taking all of this into consideration, there isn’t going to be a huge amount of disparity between what is recommended nutritionally from one life stage to the next. But, there are some key minerals and vitamins that our bodies begin to produce in fewer amounts at different points in our life cycle. And compensating for those things is easily done with minimal effort by means of nutrition and moderate but highly targeted supplementation.

STAGE 1: Best Multivitamins for Young Adults, Age 20-40

The statistics show that this age group has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to maintaining the balanced and healthy lifestyle we discussed above. Less than 4% of the population in this age range currently consume the recommended amounts for the nutrients that make the biggest positive impact on health and wellness, which is primarily the vitamins and minerals derived from fruits and vegetables. In order to combat this apparent epidemic of “young adult nutritional deficiency”, we recommend adapting a mostly plant-based diet early on in life. This means utilizing the catch phrase coined by Michael Pollen in his book IN DEFENSE OF FOOD, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

What does this mean exactly? “Eat Food” translates to striving to eat food that would be recognized as a food item before hyper-consumerism and industrial practices affected our eating habits. In other words, try and eat things that are being made without the assistance of manufactured chemical preservatives, fillers, emulsifiers, flavorings, and colors. If it sounds like it was created in a lab, it is best to try and avoid it.

A sneaky thing that does occur quite often in manufactured and processed food is the artificial “re-injection” of essential daily nutrients into a food item that is initially devoid of any such nutrients. For example, be wary of a cereal or “health cookie” that is constructed from a process starch and then has a whole laundry list of synthetic vitamins and minerals added to it. Research has shown that synthetic vitamins and minerals are not utilized by our bodies in the same way vitamins and minerals that are consumed via their whole food source. The packaging may be trying to convince you it is healthy, but your body knows differently.

This is why a whole food derived multivitamin or supplement is the better option if finding and eating the “ideal” diet is not always possible on a everyday basis. Hopefully, as consumer habits and demands change, it will become easier and more affordable for people of all ages and economic backgrounds to access nutritionally dense unprocessed whole foods. In the meantime, take charge of your own daily nutrition and be sure to choose wisely, as all multivitamins are not created equal.

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“Not To Much” is a bit more straightforward as a guideline to uphold. Portion sizes and overall caloric intake play a surprising role in longevity and overall health. That means resist the urge to approach every meal as if it were a “Man vs Food” eating challenge. Instead, try and adapt a more “French” approach to eating! This means eat delicious, interesting, well-prepared foods and savour every phase of every bite. The chew, the swallow, how it pairs with a tiny sip of wine or craft beer. Every bite can be a delicious journey if you allow it to be. What happens when we approach eating in such a way is that we become “full” or satisfied with a smaller amount of food because our stomach has had enough time to process its contents and communicate with our brain that it has received enough calories. There is truth in the old adage, “Quality over Quantity”.

Now for what tends to be somewhat controversial in some circles – the advice to eat, “Mostly Plants”. Notice the word “mostly” is chosen and not the word “only”. Granted, eating only plants is still a wonderful and valid approach to nutrition. Just please keep in mind the first “rule” and try and avoid chemically created, or processed foods that have been manufactured in order to replace animal products.

Eating “Mostly Plants” is how the human species evolved. Animals were celebratory and supplemental parts of our overall diet. In a way, the best shift in mindset could be to reverse how you construct your plate. Allow your vegetables, fruits, and whole grains be the “Main Dish” or “Entree” and your meat or protein source to be your “Side Dish”. Other great approaches would be to only have a small portion of meat one meal a day, or only a few times a week. At the core of this approach is an increase in your intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes of all kinds and colors!

The key elements needed for young adults (which these “rules” will help address) are abundant fiber intake, and adequate amounts of a plethora of essential minerals and vitamins like Folate, Calcium, B vitamins and Omega3 fatty acids.

This is also a very smart time to begin making a conscience investment in you long-term health. That means to DO YOUR RESEARCH. Please understand, that simply walking into a Walmart or Walgreens and picking up the cheapest multivitamin or supplement that you see is, in essence, a waste of money as evidenced by the findings of a 2016 FRONTLINE expose on the lack of regulation within the supplement industry. This means that the burden is doubly on the consumer to go beyond their due diligence and really research the products they will be choosing to supplement their everyday nutrition. There are upstanding and intensely dedicated companies out there, such as Xtend-Life (they just happen to be in the minority currently). The more that consumers vote with their dollars and buy products that are going above and beyond in order to ensure quality and safety, the more the industry as a whole will bend toward that demand.

That being said, the young adult group, ages 20-40, needs to be mindful that there is no such thing as a “magic pill” or “powder”. Our sincere advice would be to avoid any product that promises outlandish claims dealing with “increasing performance” or “supercharging your metabolism” or “melting fat”. These sorts of “silver bullet” tactics should be a real warning sign. Approach your nutrition as a mindful marathon of moderation, not a rocket-powered race toward “results”.

STAGE 2: Best Multivitamins for Men/Women in 40’s

Forty is the new Thirty, as they say. And if that’s the case, it is becoming more common for people in their 40’s to still be raising small children while also being at the height of their professional careers. That means they practically need the energy levels of a Twenty-Something!

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Though many products prey on this need for increased energy, the best and most effective way to boost your metabolism and overall energy levels is by maintaining a moderate amount of regular physical activity. Staying physically active in your 40’s will do wonders at preventing the dreaded “mid-life spread”, and thereby foster longevity by staving off conditions associated with weight gain, such as heart disease, diabetes, and high-blood pressure.

Nutritionally, a person in their 40’s will want to stay the course in eating a moderate, balanced diet consisting of at least two-thirds fruits, vegetables and whole grains and mindful supplementation. Acquiring enough Iron is also very important in maintaining energy levels and also fostering a healthy immune system. Please try not to translate that as “get as much iron as you possibly can”. Iron is toxic at excessive levels and is also detrimental to health if consumed on a consistent basis on the upper levels of recommended intake. Taking a quality whole food multi vitamin daily is usually the best way to go in order to supplement your daily need for iron without overshooting the mark and consuming far too much iron.

We also recommend being mindful of the serving size of your mulit-vitamin. Many supplements illustrate their nutritional percentages by tabulating how many tablets of pills you would need to take in order to achieve 100% of the essential vitamins and minerals. That would be useful if your were not eating food with any nutritional value the rest of the day, i.e., you were on a water fast. But on most days, you should consume a wide rage of diverse nutrients. Therefore, a good supplemental baseline would be to only take a portion of that ‘recommended” multivitamin serving size. For example, a high quality whole food multivitamin may list its “serving size” as 6 tablets. If you are eating properly, you should consider taking just one or two tablets; If your are traveling and unable to eat the same diverse diet daily, consider 4-6 tablets. The most powerful tool is educating yourself and using your own good judgement when it comes to your nutrition, no matter the life stage that your find yourself.

STAGE 3: Best Multivitamins for Men/Women in 50’s

The ideal is most certainly to be “Fifty and Fabulous”. But “Fifty and Failing” is unfortunately the reality for many people in this age group. Not because that it has be this way, or that the human body is designed to just poop-out in our fifties. It is usually because the “grace period” we enjoyed while we were younger and eating poorly and not taking care of ourselves finally catches up. Mid-life, or 50s, is the age range that has a higher incident rate of “lifestyle related” diseases like heart-disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Even incidents of cancer begin to rise in this age group (peaking in the 60’s age range). This is not meant to make you bummed out about getting older. It is meant to highlight how important it is not to fall into the trap of ignoring your health until the moment it finally fails. Being proactive early on and maintaining a mindful awareness of your health at every stage of your life will do wonders when it comes to avoiding becoming another one of those “Fifties and Failing” statistics.

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You know the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it”? Well, it is true up to a certain point; But do NOT translate it into an excuse to ignore your health until the moment you are forced to take it seriously. It is all about maintenance and not “breaking” your body and its functions in the first place. Be kind to it, and it will repay you by being kind to you…even in your 50’s and beyond!

The best way to maintain your health and stave off the lifestyle related diseases we mentioned above is by eating a high amount of plant-based foods and avoiding processed foods. In particular, try and avoid foods that have sugars, sugar alcohols, and/or preservatives added to them, even if they are packaged in a way to make you think they are “good for you”. Be wary of the wolf in sheep’s clothing, aka, the synthetic “health” candy bar hiding in the “high fiber!” “low fat!” wrapper.

On days that you may not be able to eat “the ideal vegetable and fruit filled diet” (which for many of us, is quite often) be sure to incorporate a high quality whole food multivitamin like THIS and THIS. These will protect you from developing nutritional deficiencies, which otherwise, will accelerate the deteriorating effects of the aging process.

Four nutrients you will want to pay particular attention to in your 50’s are CALCIUM, VITAMIN D, VITAMIN B12, and OMEGA 3 Essential Fatty Acids. Calcium and Vitamin D work together to preserve bone density, and Vitamin B12 supports healthy brain and nervous system function. The kicker is that an aging digestive tract tends to not be as efficient at absorbing Vitamin B12 as a young digestive tract, which is why you will want to pay more attention to being sure to consume your daily recommended amount of Vitamin B12 as you enter you 50’s. Omega 3 Fatty Acids play an important role in normal metabolism, which is why its presence, or lack thereof, has such a sweeping effect on many aspects of a person’s health.

If you do seek to supplement your dietary intake of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, be very sure to confirm that it is stable and processed in such a way to avoid and prevent oxidization. The oxidization of lipids is what causes an oil to become rancid – and high levels in the diet has also been linked to cardiovascular disease. In other words, Your Omega 3 fish oil supplement should not smell of bad or rotting fish. It should only have a mild, discreet scent at the very most. This is certainly not the case for many over-the-counter fish oil supplements. Xtend-Life’s Omega 3 QH Ultra, on the other hand, is one of the highest quality fish oil and heart health supplements we’ve come across, as it is not only made of one of the purest fish oils available, it also contains the Ubiquinol bioactive form of CoQ10.

STAGE 4: Best Multivitamins for Men/Women in 60’s

As we enter our 60’s the importance of proper digestion and nutrient absorption comes more sharply in focus. Our bodies tend to be less efficient at absorbing certain vitamins and minerals, which is why it is important to support the health of our colon and digestive tract – where the bulk of these vital nutrients are broken down by enzymes and made into a form that is readily available to be absorbed and utilized in our blood stream.

And when we say “digestive health” we mean exactly what you think we mean: Healthy, regular poops. Chronic constipation can lead to a condition in which Diverticula are formed within the colon. In these little pouches in the muscular lining of the colon, fecal matter and bacteria can remain trapped and disrupt the proper absorption of nutrients, not to mention possibly becoming inflamed and causing an infection. This is why before putting emphasis on taking more vitamins in order to compensate for the loss of absorption rate as we become older, it is better to address the digestive tract’s ability to do its job well.

Think of this in the way you would approach your skincare. If your skin is dehydrated and dry, simply applying moisturizer on top of a layer of dry, dead skin cells is not going to improve the quality of your skin. The moisturizer is not being absorbed, as it is merely just sitting on the surface. To get the best results, you must exfoliate the skin in order to reveal the young, pliable cells beneath. Simultaneously, you MUST be hydrating your cells internally by drinking a consistent amount of water. Then and only then can a serum and moisturizer really do their job and be effective! In a sense, your colon is very similar! Fiber in your diet works as an internal “exfoliator” and brushes out the buildup within the colon, and frequent hydration through drinking water helps flush out the fiber and all that it has “collected”. This prevents the build up of “unhelpful” bacteria in the colon and promotes an environment for beneficial bacteria to flourish.

Many people do not fully understand how much of a role our intestinal bacteria plays in the absorption of nutrients into our body, in addition to the creating of compounds needed to support many vital functions that preserve our bodies health and immunity. if you are the King or Queen, think of your intestinal flora as your Kingdon. If you are kind and keep your kingdom properly nourished, then it flourishes! It will keep you, the King or Queen, prosperous and protected! However, if you allow your Kingdom to become malnourished and bogged down with waste and trash, your kingdom becomes weak, ill, and unproductive – and will likely revolt against you!

This is why in addition to the continuation of the healthy habits we have outlined for the early stages of life, we highly recommend the incorporation of a high quality pre-biotic and pro-biotic. This will aid in feeding and supporting your “Kingdom” so that it may flourish and protect you, and allow your body to absorb the nutrients it needs at optimal levels. Now, when you incorporate a whole food multivitamin designed for your 60+ year-old body, such as those offered in Garden of Life’s Vitamin Code Line, you will not be wasting your money! On the contrary, you will be making every one of those precious tabs or capsules count! Simply ensure that the multivitamin you choose (like the ones recommended on this page) contain adequate amounts of B12, which assists in brain function, and vitamin D, which assists in the absorption of many other essential nutrients.

No matter what Stage of life you find yourself in, it is NEVER Too Late to be kind to yourself and treat your daily nutrition as the important tool for longevity that it really is!