SUPPLEMENTS: Can they stop the clock?
Trials consistently show that at the right potency, "natural" remedies may
rival conventional medicines. Doctors & Dieticians often prescribe nutritional
and herbal supplements as effective but gentler alternatives to conventional
drugs for problems ranging from depression to
Here are 10 key anti-ageing supplements:
1. COENZYME Q 10
Q10 (ubiquinone) drives the fuel we need for life. Naturally present in every
cell, it converts energy from food into form that the body can store and use for
both physical and mental activity. It's not present itself in food-the liver has
to manufacture it from related coenzyme in
proteins and green
vegetables. It is believed to strengthen heart muscle and American and Japanese
studies indicate it lowers blood
pressure and can reduce the need for painkillers for those with angina. As
an energizer, Texan and Belgian studies suggest CoQ10 can boost metabolism and
help weight loss. It may also boost the
immune system. It also declines with age.
Swedish research compares CoQ10's antioxidant powers to 'anti-ageing'
which protects cells against sclerosis that causes membrane damage and
DOSE: 30 mg daily.
2. DHEA (DEHYDROEPIANDROSTERONE)
largely by the adrenal glands, DHEA is a hormone-like substance also produced in
smaller quantities by the ovaries. The "mother of all hormones", it is converted
into steroid hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone and
cortisone. With age, DHEA levels decline - by the age of 60 it's barely
detectable in the female body. Some 2,000 studies ( mostly animal ), indicate
that high levels of supplementation boost energy, memory and libido and may
protect against heart
cancer, depression and aggression. DHEA may even
aid weight loss and increase longevity. Side-effects of large doses are enlarged
liver and facial hair in women. Wild Yam is a natural source of DHEA.
DOSE DEPENDENT: Food supplements contribute to health maintenance, but
are no substitute for a balanced
DOSE: There have been few side effects reported at
doses between 25 and 50 mg daily.
3. DONG QUAI
we know as angelica is the premier Chinese remedy for PMS and is also called the
"female ginseng". A natural adaptogen, it balances the menstrual cycle,
preventing cramps, bloating, acne and irritability. It helps regulate the cycle
after coming off the Pill, and reduces
hot flashes, vaginal
dryness and palpitations during the
menopause. It also rich in
iron and vitamin E.
According to some studies, dong quai can lower blood pressure, regulate blood
sugar and help prevent anaemia.
DOSE : Two to three capsules daily.
4. GINKGO BILOBA
China, they call ginkgo biloba the plant of youth and its heart-shaped leaves
and plum-like seeds are used to treat respiratory ailments, such as
tuberculosis, asthma and
bronchitis, and circulatory problems. In the west, studies indicate that ginkgo
biloba yields ginkgolides and bilobalides - flavonoids that dilate blood vessels
and have antibacterial and antifungal activity. Powerful anti-free radicals and
anti-coagulants, these flavonoids may also help
to prevent strokes, and speed brain tissue repair. Over 40 studies have also
shown it to combat memory loss and poor concentration and to boost mental
DOSE : 120 to 160 mg daily. It may take four to six weeks to kick in. The
few reported side effects include headaches,
mild stomach upsets and
Chinese have used this most famous root for 5,000 years as a rejuvenating
cure-all. It is said to improve memory and mental performance. Ginseng has
antioxidant properties: Japanese studies have found that it contains compounds
called saponins that inhibit the growth of cancer cells and lower cholesterol.
Russian studies have demonstrated ginseng's ability to fight stress by
normalizing body functions such as blood sugar and pressure levels - hence its "
adaptogenic " reputation. As a menopause aid, compounds similar to oestrogen
help counter hot flushes, lethargy and irritability.
Take Two or three capsules daily or 5 to 10 g powder mixed
with liquid; and one cup of tea, preferably in the morning and an hour before
is the body's most abundant amino acid, especially in the brain, bones and
blood. However, illness, continual
dieting depletes it, and
cooking destroys it in food. Research reveals that glutamine is the primary fuel
that prevents bone and muscle wastage and fatigue. Studies have shown glutamine
to help raise the IQ of children with learning difficulties and generally boost
mental performance, especially when blood glucose is low. An immune - booster,
is also aids digestion and helps prevent upsets and food allergies. It can also
reduce alcohol, nicotine and drug cravings.
DOSE : During times of stress or recovery from illness, 1 or 2
teaspoons ( 4 to 8 g ) daily mixed with water is usual. Subtract 1 g of protein
from your diet for every gram of glutamine you take so as not to overstress the
liver or kidneys.
is a powerful antioxidant which is synthesized in the body from three other
amino acids: L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid and glycine, all found in
fruit and vegetables such as citrus fruits, melon
and raw carrots. Studies have show that it may help protect against cancer,
radiation and debilitation due to smoking and
alcohol abuse. It has major detoxifying properties
and may help keep the immune system healthy. Other studies indicate that
glutathione may act as an anti - inflammatory agent and may reduce symptoms of
allergies and arthritis.
DOSE : 50 mg once or twice daily.
hormone is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain during sleep. It is crucial
to rhythms, especially the circadian rhythm which regulates sleep - wake cycles.
Widely used to ease the symptoms jet lag, it can also help cure insomnia.
Production of melatonin drops dramatically with age. Animal studies have shown
that melatonin supplementation can prolong life by 20 per cent.
DOSE : An effective dose for jet lag and insomnia is one to three 3
mg tablets taken 90 minutes before bed.
selenium works with glutathione to quash free radical damage and
studies have shown it to have an antiviral action when combined with vitamin E.
Selenium also detoxifies mental such as arsenic and mercury in the body. Its
most famous property is as a cancer fighter. Selenium may help prevent
heart disease by
protecting blood clots.
100 to 200 mcg daily. Selenium is toxic in high doses, so don't
exceed 300 mcg.
10. WILD YAM
increasingly popular "anti-ageing" vegetable extract is a traditional African
folk remedy for rheumatoid arthritis and colic. Herbalists also prescribe it to
ease PMS and menopausal
symptoms such as flushes, fatigue and vagi -
HRT. DHEA ( see above) is also
present in wild yam.
DOSE : Two or three capsules daily.