About four years ago I shared my supplements list with a mildly- to un-interested world. Seems like a good time to do it again, since there's been some Big News in the non-prescription nostrums I take every day to keep disability, disease, and death at bay.
I've gone from 22 supplements to 19.
Gone are two algae oil sources of DHA and EPA, as I've replaced these with Ultimate Omega fish oil. Even though I'm a vegetarian, I decided that consuming fish oil was OK, karma-wise, since there doesn't seem to be an equally good non-animal source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Garlicin and gingko biloba bit the supplement dust. Vegetarian glucosamine was replaced by Celadrin, a joint health compound (that also contains some animal stuff) which has some decent research behind it. Pygeum and saw palmetto were dumped in favor of two prescription prostate-symptom-reducing drugs, dutasteride and tamsulosin (brand names: Avodart and Flomax; I take generics).
I added Super Zeaxanthin for eye health, and -- most recently -- Astragalus for telomere lengthening and general health promotion. Having telomeres that are as long as possible seems to be pretty important, according to anti-aging research cited in Scientific American.
Peter Pan stayed forever young in Neverland. In real life, some scientists are looking at telomeres, or regions of repetitive DNA at the ends of our chromosomes, to try to arrive at something like a real version of this story.
Telomeres consist of up to 3,300 repeats of the DNA sequence TTAGGG. They protect chromosome ends from being mistaken for broken pieces of DNA that would otherwise be fixed by cellular repair machinery. But every time our cells divide, the telomeres shrink. When they get short enough, our cells no longer divide and our body stops making those cells. Over time, this leads to aging and death.
Astragalus appears to slow down this process.
New York-based T.A. Sciences claims to be the only company in the world manufacturing a supplement in a pill form that has been lab tested and shown to stop telomeres from shortening, in hopes of halting the aging process. The product, TA-65, comes from extracts of the Chinese herb astragalus, which has been used for medicinal purposes for more than 1,000 years, says Noel Patton, chief executive officer of the company.
I'd take TA-65, but it's freaking expensive: $219 for 30 capsules, but it looks like the cost could be $1,000 a month for a higher dosage. I'd like my telomeres lengthened, yet not that much. And there's good reason to be skeptical of what T.A. Sciences is up to. So I bought some Solaray Astragalus for $6.54 per 100 capsules through Life Extension.
Hey, if I feel like my telomeres are longer, maybe they actually are. (Please compliment me on my pleasingly lengthy telomeres if you see me in person; that'll help with my placebo effect.) Dr. Oz is big on astragalus, for what that's worth.
By middle age you’re not only feeling exhausted; your cells are also starting to wear out. The reason? Shorter telomeres. Every time a cell divides, a little chunk of telomere gets spent. When you run out of telomeres, the cell stops replicating. My secret cell supercharger is astragalus, an herb that’s been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. New studies suggest that a compound in astragalus can affect telomere length in cells. I recommend taking up to 1,200 milligrams of astragalus with a glass of iced coffee or green tea. The caffeine in these drinks naturally boosts metabolism, helping you burn calories.
Here's my updated supplement list. Like I said before, "Do your own research. Make up your own mind."
Acetyl-L-carnitine 620 mg
Alpha lipoic acid 100 mg
Astragalus 400 mg
Aspirin 81 mg
Bilberry fruit extract 120 mg
Celadrin 1050 mg
Cold-FX 200 mg
Co-Q-10 60 mg
DHEA 25 mg
Fish oil 1000 mg ("Ultimate Omega")
Green tea extract 725 mg
Lutein 12 mg
Melatonin 1 mg
Multi-vitamin ("Doctor's Choice for 50-Plus Men")
Pomegranate extract 500 mg
Resveratrol 250 mg
Vitamin D 400 IU