Vitamins are sometimes overlooked in the fight against aging compared to the vast variety of creams and serums, but research shows that vitamins are a key part of slowing the aging process.
While topical serums and creams may slow the appearance of aging in areas where they are applied, they cannot fight the aging happening within your body, and some anti-aging ingredients cannot be absorbed through the skin, making topical application pointless. Vitamins, meanwhile, work from the inside out, resulting in both inner and outer health. This does not mean you need to forgo topical solutions — the most powerful anti-aging regimes use both vitamins and topical creams to form a powerful, multi-pronged defense.
Vitamins and supplements help us ensure we are getting the nutrients we need, particularly if we are deficient — and according to experts, many adults do not get enough vitamin D or B12, leading to otherwise preventable age-related disorders and poor health.
However, not all vitamins are equal when it comes to anti-aging. Some vitamins are far more powerful at combatting the effects of age than others. This is why this article ranks the most effective vitamins when it comes to giving yourself a youthful glow, wrinkle-free skin, and a renewed sense of well-being.
Collagen is the king of anti-aging, which is why so many youth rejuvenation treatments focus on renewing or revitalizing collagen production in the body — but you can kick start this process without needles, simply by supplementing collagen into your diet.
Collagen is a protein that helps in the maintenance of skin, and as we age we produce less of it, leading to wrinkles and sagging. It’s believed that collagen production begins slowing as early as our early twenties. However, when our bodies start to slow the production of collagen, we can make sure our levels remain high by supplementing it. Collagen supplements have been shown to improve skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles.
A 12-week study of 72 women showed that regularly taking a supplement that contained 2.5 grams of collagen (along with several other ingredients) significantly improved the appearance of skin elasticity and softness.
If you choose one anti-aging supplement, choose collagen. But why would you choose just one when many others do almost as good a job?
2. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is the strongest argument for why you should keep going after supplementing with collagen. This powerhouse vitamin prevents and slows the effects of aging on both your insides and outsides.
Vitamin A is also known as retinol, which forms the key ingredient in many anti-aging supplements and serums. Vitamin A is not naturally produced by our bodies, which means it needs to be consumed either by eating foods rich in it or by taking it as a supplement. And there’s plenty of reason to do that, because vitamin A is the gold standard when it comes to anti-aging.
Tretinoin, which is derived from vitamin A, has been proven to boost collagen production and reduce wrinkles. It does this by interfering with the enzymes that break down collagen in the skin’s dermal layer, promoting the creation of new collagen instead.
Vitamin A does not just help your skin; it also helps your insides. It promotes better vision and a stronger immune system, and helps your heart and lungs work properly. Your insides age, too — but you can slow the process with the help of vitamin A.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, as one of the ways we synthesize it is from exposure to sunshine. But vitamin D is also a powerful anti-aging vitamin, extended with longevity and a possible reduction in diseases and illnesses related to aging.
Research has also shown that vitamin D is effective in preventing premature aging by protecting the skin from ultraviolet light, one of the most common causes of wrinkles and lines.
And while vitamin D’s effects on aging have long gone unrecognized, new research is showing that the sunshine vitamin is much more powerful than previously thought, with a 2016 study discovering that vitamin D has the power to extend the median lifespan by 33%.
4. Vitamin E
As we age, our body needs more vitamin E to remain healthy — unsurprising, as vitamin E plays an essential role in regulating our immune system.
As one of the skin’s first layers of defense, vitamin E occurs naturally in our body but is quickly depleted by sun rays. This is not good, as vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, unstable atoms that damage cells and have been linked to aging.
Vitamin E not only protects the skin from wrinkles and fine lines, but it can also boost collagen production, speeding up cell regeneration and creating new skin growth. Studies have shown that ingesting vitamin E orally as a supplement dramatically increases protection against the breakdown of collagen.
Vitamin E is good for your body as well as your skin. It’s been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and potentially protect against cognitive decline.
You may have heard of collagen, vitamin A and vitamin D before, but resveratrol is probably new to you. But it’s time to get to know this powerful little antioxidant because it’s one of your most powerful weapons against aging.
Resveratrol is responsible for giving grapes and raspberries their distinctive red color, and it also combats wrinkles and fine lines. While you can certainly get plenty of resveratrol by making berries a staple of your diet, you can much more easily add it to your diet as a supplement.
Exposure to UV light, such as sunlight, is one of the main culprits when it comes to skin aging. But there’s no need to stop enjoying the sunshine. Resveratrol has been found to protect skin from premature aging brought on by UV light. Resveratrol has also been found to increase lifespan. Not bad for such an obscure vitamin.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral found in the red blood cells and is involved in many important roles in the human body but our body does not naturally produce zinc. Because of this, we need to obtain zinc through either our diet or supplements.
We need zinc for many things, including synthesizing proteins, regulating our immune system, and healing wounds. But zinc is also a powerful ally in the fight against aging. Zinc deficiencies have been found to speed up the aging process, while significantly reducing the risk of age-related illnesses and infections.
Zinc also plays a key role in protecting against hair loss, a major part of aging for both men and women. As zinc plays an important role in the growth and repair of hair tissue, it’s no surprise that studies have shown that taking zinc supplements can defend against hair loss.
With so many benefits, zinc is well worth adding to your supplement routine.
Curcumin’s positive effects on aging have flown under the radar for a long time but new research is bringing this polyphenol into the spotlight. Found in the root of the turmeric plant, curcumin has been found to lead to improvements in both cognition and memory, and is now being investigated as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcumin has also been found to extend the life of a wide variety of organisms, from fruit flies to worms to yeast, leading researchers to question if it can be used for the same purposes in humans.
There are many different causes of aging, from oxidative stress to breakdown of cells to loss of telomere length, and curcumin has been found to positively impact a wide variety of them. However, the jury is still out on how much curcumin finds its way back into the bloodstream when ingested. So despite its multitude of benefits to anti-aging, it finds itself low on the list. Perhaps, with more research, curcumin will climb the ranks.
Selenium is a trace mineral that prevents vitamin E deficiencies. It can be obtained through diet or supplements. New research suggests that selenium can play an important role in fighting aging, particular when it comes to age-related disorders and illnesses such as tumors and cardiovascular diseases.
Selenium has also been associated with longer telomeres — caps located on the ends of our chromosomes that decide how quickly our cells age. And older adults with low levels of selenium have been found to have significantly higher rates of death than those with high levels of selenium.
However, research on selenium’s anti-aging benefits is still lacking, and many of the most promising studies are still new. In time, selenium may prove to be an anti-aging superhero, but for now, it remains a background player with promise.
Strong and Effective Weapons
Vitamins are some of our strongest weapons when it comes to fighting anti-aging, but unfortunately sometimes we can’t get the amount we need through diet alone. However, with a good supplement routine, we can fight the symptoms of aging, whether it’s wrinkles and fine lines, skin sagging, cognitive decline, or poor physical health.
Not all vitamins are useful when it comes to combating aging, and some vitamins might not confer the particular anti-aging benefits we are specifically looking for. This is why it’s important to stay educated on the newest research on which vitamins fight what. However, when we come armed with knowledge, vitamins can be a powerful anti-aging tool indeed.
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8 Anti-Aging Vitamins and Nutrients That Actually Work, Ranked
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