10 Best Anti-Aging Supplements of 2023: Guide and Evidence Review
This article compiles more than 100 references and supporting studies related to the anti-aging or slowing the aging process. This article will also reveal exciting new information about a variety of immune-enhancing natural products and nutrients that may help you maintain youthful immune system function into advancing age.
Aging can be defined as the time-related deterioration of the physiological functions necessary for survival and fertility. The characteristics of aging—as distinguished from diseases of aging (such as cancer and heart disease)—affect all the individuals of a species.
NAD, stem cells, nitric oxide, CoQ10, glutathione, glycine and taurine decline as we age. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are also common in older individuals.
In this Article:
- Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) and NAD Boosting Precursor
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Resveratrol and Pterostilbene (blueberries)
- Quercetin and Fisetin
- Vitamin D3 and K2
- Glycine, Taurine, NAC and Collagen
- EGCG (Green Tea)
- Curcumin (Turmeric)
- Molecular Hydrogen
Here are the best supplements with anti-aging properties. Not all the supplements below are required. You are advised to consult with your trusted healthcare provider before taking these supplements.
1. Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN)Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a precursor to NAD+.
NAD+ is a very important substance in the cells. It provides energy for cells and is also a cofactor for proteins that repair and maintain our epigenome and our DNA.
The epigenome is the intricate machinery that surrounds the DNA and that determines which genes are active. During aging, the epigenome becomes more and more dysregulated.
The older we get, the less NAD+ is present in our cells. Taking in NMN can increase NAD+ levels.
Various animal and lab studies show that NMN has beneficial effects on aging diseases and symptoms (R,R,R,R).
For example, long term administration of NMN mitigated age-associated decline in mice: NMN reduced the typical age-associated increase in body weight, improved energy metabolism, improved lipids in the blood and insulin sensitivity and ameliorated eye function (R).
NMN can also improve aging-related decline in fertility (R), improve bone health (R) and vascular health (R,R,R).
2. Omega-3 fatty acidsOmega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, enable the immune system to carry out its tasks, and help the brain and eyes to function properly.
The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Oct 2021), used data from a long-term study group, the Framingham Offspring Cohort, which has been monitoring residents of this Massachusetts town, in the United States, since 1971.
The research looked at 2,200 people who were monitored for 11 years for their blood fatty acid levels. The researchers found that omega-3 levels in red blood cells are very good mortality risk predictors. That means that higher levels of Omega-3 in the blood from regularly eating oily fish, increased life expectancy by almost five years.
This research comes a few months after a meta-analysis of 17 prospective cohort studies was published in Nature Communications. The analysis linked higher circulating omega-3 fatty acid levels to longevity. In a pooled analysis of the studies, participants in the highest fifth of combined blood DHA and EPA were 15 to 18 percent less likely to die from any cause over the follow-up period (median follow-up time is 16 years in these studies). Higher blood omega-3s were also associated with a reduced risk for death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Many governments recommend eating omega-3 containing fatty fish, two times per week. But that is often not enough. Ideally, people would need to eat fatty fish four times per week, while also supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids, at least 1,000 mg of pure omega-3 (DHA and EPA) per day.
Make sure you buy high-quality omega-3 fatty acid supplements, meaning that the omega-3 fatty acids are pure and have not oxidized much (having low “TOTOX” value).
3. Resveratrol and Pterostilbene
The slight difference in molecular structure between resveratrol and pterostilbene provides a sound rationale for the superiority of pterostilbene. Pterostilbene should be more stable and bioavailable in theory, and preclinical studies so far validate the assumption.
4. Quercetin and Fisetin
Fisetin is a flavonoid. Flavonoids are substances that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors (like yellow, orange and blue) and play a major role in conferring the health benefits that we get from eating more vegetables and fruits.
Fisetin is probably most known for its impact on senescent cells: studies showed that this substance can reduce the accumulation of senescent cells (R). Fisetin is a senolytic, a compound that can clear away senescent cells.
Senescent cells accumulate everywhere in the body during aging. Senescent cells were previously normal cells that became too damaged. Normally, when a cell is too damaged, it kills itself, but senescent cells don’t do that.
Instead of dying, they keep lingering around in the body.
Senescent cells secrete all kinds of substances that damage the healthy surrounding cells, like inflammatory substances (cytokines and chemokines), substances that break down the glue that holds the cells together (matrix metalloproteinases), and growth factors that accelerate aging (R). Not only do senescent cells damage healthy surrounding cells, but they also damage stem cells, which are the foundational cells that create new cells, which build up and repair our organs and tissues.
Reducing the senescent cell burden can lead to reduced inflammaging (low-grade inflammation that increases during aging) and enhanced function of stem cells.
Substances that can eliminate senescent cells are called “senolytics”. Fisetin is a well-studied senolytic substance.
Fisetin versus quercetin
For example, fisetin inhibits the mTOR pathway (R), which plays an important role in aging and is where many of the health benefits behind fasting are derived. Fisetin can also reduce oxidative stress (R).
Fisetin can reduce inflammaging (aging-related low-grade inflammation) by inhibiting pro-inflammatory enzymes and substances, like lipoxygenases and NF-kB (R, R).
Interestingly, fisetin can also have various beneficial effects on the skin. For example, fisetin can reduce the formation of skin wrinkles and appearance of skin aging.
Fisetin also has a positive impact on brain functioning and brain aging (R). For example, fisetin can improve memory formation in mice (R, R).
5. Vitamin D3 and K2
Many governments advise 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D per day, while many vitamin D researchers claim you need at least 2000 to 4000 units per day.
We would recommend to take at 2000 units per day. The risk of excess accumulation of vitamin D is negligible with this amount. Make sure it’s vitamin D3, and not vitamin D2 – the vitamin D3 variant works better.
Some studies have shown links between vitamin D supplements and lower blood pressure, decreased symptoms of depression, better cognitive function, and stronger muscles (Nair, 2012).
6. Glycine, Taurine, NAC and Collagen
Low glycine levels also have been associated with various aging-related diseases like cardiovascular disease and with type 2 diabetes.
Glycine extends lifespan in different species (R,R,R,R).
Glycine has many functions in the body. It improves the epigenome (the machinery that determines which genes are switched on or off, a process that goes increasingly awry when we get older). Glycine especially improves the epigenome of mitochondria, the power plants of our cells (R).
Glycine also functions as a chaperone. Chaperones are small molecules that gently stick to and protect the proteins. That is important, because one of the reasons why we age is due to proteins accumulating everywhere inside and outside our cells, eventually hampering the proper functioning of our cells.
Glycine also reduces inflammation (R) and has many other beneficial effects, especially for the cardiovascular system. People with higher glycine levels in the blood had less risk of a heart attack (R), and glycine can protect the blood vessels (R).
- Strength, coordination and endurance
- Bone mass and bone quality
- Glucose homeostasis and glucose tolerance
- Age-related inflammation
- Immune function
- Gut health
- Function of all organs
- Mitochondrial function and health
Treated mice also had less body fat (approximately 10% less at 1,000 milligrams of taurine per day) and higher energy levels. According to the authors, “Fat-pad weight divided by body weight percentage was dose-dependently reduced in taurine-treated mice.” Taurine supplementation also improved several markers of aging, including:
- Intercellular communication
- Telomere length
- Epigenetic changes
- Genomic stability
- Mitochondrial function
- Stem cell populations
- Nutrient sensing
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine also looked into supplementation with a combination of glycine and N-acetylcysteine (NAC), two glutathione precursors known as GlyNAC when taken together.
- Mitochondrial dysfunction
- Oxidative stress
- Endothelial dysfunction
- Insulin resistance
- Genomic damage
- Gait speed
- Exercise capacity
- Body fat levels
- Waist circumference
In addition to supporting brain function, supplemental glycine may be useful for the "prevention and control of atherosclerosis, heart failure, angiogenesis associated with cancer or retinal disorders and a range of inflammation-driven syndromes, including metabolic syndrome."(McCarty 2019)
By taking a glycine supplement, you can counteract this chain of events by making sure there's enough glycine present to fill up those glycine slots. As noted by Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., (a senior research scientist at MIT for over five decades), "If there's lots of glycine, you're going to be much less likely to pick up glyphosate."
"Your body only makes 3 grams of glycine per day, and if you only consume around 2 to 3 grams of glycine from foods then it means that almost all of us are in a 10-gram glycine deficit every day," he says.
"… I think most people would benefit for at least 5 to 10 grams of glycine a day, which is, uh kind of a moderate amount … if you are eating a lot of muscle meat … or you're just interested in getting more of the benefits of glycine then you can take even up to 20 grams a day."
Another study in 114 women found that treatment with 2.5 grams of collagen peptides for 8 weeks significantly reduced eye wrinkles and increased collagen levels in the skin (R).
Though these results are promising, keep in mind that many collagen studies are funded by companies that manufacture collagen products, which may influence study results.
Many types of collagen supplements are on the market, including powders and capsules.
7. EGCG (Green Tea Extract)
EGCG may slow aging by restoring mitochondrial function in cells and acting on pathways involved in aging, including the AMP-activated protein kinase signaling pathway (AMPK). It also induces autophagy, the process by which your body removes damaged cellular material (Source).
Green tea may protect against EMF exposure as well. A 2011 study published in Neurotoxicity Research reported that green tea can protect neurons in the brain against cell phone radiation. Cell phone exposure for 24 hours resulted in neuronal cell death in cultured rat cells. Green tea, however, prevented cell death.
EGCG can be consumed by drinking green tea or taking concentrated supplements.
Research suggests that levels of CoQ10 decline as you age. Supplementing with it has been shown to improve certain aspects of health in older individuals.
For instance, a 4-year study in 443 older adults demonstrated that supplementing with CoQ10 and selenium improved overall quality of life, reduced hospital visits, and slowed physical and mental deterioration (Johansson 2015).
CoQ10 supplements may work by reducing oxidative stress, a condition characterized by an accumulation of free radicals that accelerates the aging process and the onset of age-related disease (Source).
Additionally, CoQ10 supplements may benefit heart health by reducing stiffness in your arteries, lowering blood pressure, and preventing the buildup of oxidized cholesterol in your arteries (Source).
9. Molecular Hydrogen
It was also already discovered that hydrogen can prolong the life of stem cells by reducing oxidative stress (Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010).
10. Curcumin (Turmeric)
Cellular senescence occurs when cells stop dividing. As you age, senescent cells accumulate, which is believed to accelerate aging and disease progression (Source, Source).
Research demonstrates that curcumin activates certain proteins, including sirtuins and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which helps delay cellular senescence and promotes longevity (Source, Source).
Plus, curcumin has been shown to combat cellular damage and significantly increase the lifespan of fruit flies, roundworms, and mice. This compound has been shown to postpone age-related disease and alleviate age-related symptoms as well (Source, Source).
This may be why turmeric intake has been associated with a reduced risk of age-related mental decline in humans (Source). You can increase your curcumin intake by using turmeric in recipes or taking curcumin supplements.
As published in the European Journal of Pharmacology (Nov 2022), Abe and colleagues focused on testing the effects of the curcumin prodrug TBP1901. They found that TBP1901 metabolized to its active form most greatly in bone marrow, leading them to use the drug on a multiple myeloma mouse model — a model for age-related bone marrow cancer. The researchers found that TBP1901 had significant anti-tumor effects, effectively shrinking tumors in mice. However, TBP1901 did not have strong effects in preventing cancer cell growth in a dish (in vitro). Still, regular curcumin had anti-tumor effects in vitro.
After all, aging is a complex process caused by various different mechanisms, such as epigenetic dysregulation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and accumulation of proteins.
If you have an anti-aging supplement that only focuses on a single dimension such as “improving mitochondrial health”, you are not addressing other important aging mechanisms, like epigenetic dysregulation or accumulation of proteins.
Therefore, this supplement, even if it could improve mitochondrial health, will have little impact on extending lifespan given it only tackles one facet of the aging process.
As such, it’s very important for a good anti-aging supplement stack or combination to contain substances that act on different aging mechanisms in a synergistic way.
For example, alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) can maintain the epigenome and improve mitochondrial health. AKG can work together with other substances that improve mitochondrial health, like fisetin and malate, or that improve the epigenome, like NMN and glycine.
But addressing the aging epigenome and mitochondria is not enough. You also need to tackle many other aging mechanisms, like protein accumulation and DNA damage.
So the ideal anti-aging supplement contains not just one or two substances that focus on one aging mechanism (like mitochondrial health or the NAD+ metabolism), but contains many substances that act on many aging pathways, and in a synergistic way.
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