For better or worse, whether we like it or not, all of us age. It’s a natural, unpleasant fact. Why we age is open to conjecture. While molecular biologists know that our cells age at different rates, they don’t know exactly why. They suspect that environmental factors, such as smoking, stress and exercise have something to do with it, and they also think genetics plays a role, too.  So should you take anti-aging supplements.

Do they work?

While some might help your body function more robustly, the research behind most anti-aging supplements is based on common sense, rather than science. Our bodies, for instance, need coenzyme Q10 to keep running. Because CoQ10 decreases significantly with age, it makes sense that maintaining proper levels of the substance would make us healthier


Possible Side Effects

Even when it comes to a supplement like coenzyme Q10, which already exists in our bodies, there are possible side effects. These include dizziness, fainting, allergic reactions, nausea,diarrhea and a few gastrointestinal conditions. Even aspirin can cause a slew of side effects. While heartburn, nausea and an upset stomach are rather common, aspirin can also cause severe allergic reactions, bloody stools, dizziness, vomiting — the list goes on.


The Studies

To get the most out of so-called anti-aging supplements, it’s best to take them during middle age, rather than waiting until after age 65, a new study on rats suggests.  Middle aged rats showed improvements in their physical abilities after receiving anti-aging supplements, while older rats did not, the researchers say.  “It is possible that there is a window during which these compounds will work, and if the intervention is given after that time it won’t work,” said study scientist Jinze Xu, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Florida’s Institute on Aging.


Photo credit: MMortAH / / CC BY-NC-SA