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Top Supplements to Support Mitochondria, Cellular Health and Slow Aging

Weight Loss Supplements

Top Supplements to Support Mitochondria, Cellular Health, and Slow Aging

There are hundreds of supplements available both naturally and on the market, all claiming to provide a multitude of health benefits. Such health benefits may include things such as weight loss, promotion of cell health, anti-aging, and more. It can be difficult to decipher which of these claims are true and which of these claims false. To elucidate this issue, this article will review the current evidence supporting supplements for these conditions.

Supplements that promote weight loss

Obesity is an incredibly common yet chronic disease. In the United States alone, almost three in four adults are considered overweight or obese. Additionally, up to 20 percent of children are obese. An unhealthy weight can induce severe health problems in individuals of all age, causing a slew of health issues and increasing one’s risk for death. For example, obesity increases your chance for developing heart disease, which is a leading cause of death in the U.S. Additionally, it is associated with several other health conditions, such as cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Several factors can contribute to an unhealthy weight, including eating a low-nutrient and high calorie diet and engaging in minimal exercise. Lifestyle changes, such as a nutritious and well-balanced diet and increased physical activity, can help you to lose weight. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several medications aimed at promoting weight loss. Other treatment options include implementing supplements to help in your weight loss journey1.

Roughly 15 percent of adults in the U.S. have tried a dietary supplement for the purpose of losing weight. These supplements come in a multitude of forms such as tablets, capsules, powders, and liquids. These supplements aim to reduce weight through several mechanisms such as decreasing appetite, increasing metabolism, or limiting absorption of macronutrients. Additionally, they contain a multitude of ingredients, including things such as caffeine, fiber, or botanicals. Other ingredients include but are not limited to:

These ingredients have varying evidence supporting their role in weight loss. Caffeine, for example, has demonstrated efficacy in reducing weight. One study included 167 overweight or obese individuals taking caffeine and ephedrine or placebo. Those treated with caffein lost significantly more weight than those taking placebo after six months. Other ingredients that may reduce weight include 7-keto-DHEA.

Other ingredients, however, have demonstrated less success in decreasing weight. For example, calcium has been hypothesized to help with weight loss. However, one study assessing 340 overweight or obese individuals showed that calcium supplementation for two years did not significantly affect participants’ weight. Other ingredients that have little evidence supporting their effects include chitosan, chromium picolinate, glucomannan, green tea extract, bitter orange, ephedra, and hoodia.

It is important to note that the United States government states that there is little evidence supporting the efficacy of weight loss supplements. They also mention that these supplements can potentially cause harm, as supplements may contain ingredients that interact with other important medications. For example, guar gum and glucomannan are two common ingredients found in weight loss supplements. Both of these drugs can limit absorption of other medications that are taken by mouth. Additionally, glucomannan can lower blood sugar levels, potentially affecting the efficacy of diabetes medications2,3.

Other common weight loss ingredients can also have substantial effects on your medications. Therefore, you should always understand the ingredients contained within a dietary supplement before using it and how those ingredients may affect your health.

Supplements that support mitochondria and cellular health

The mitochondria is a keystone to our body’s energy production, particularly in producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In fact, mitochondria alone account for greater than 90 percent of your cell’s energy requirements. If a mitochondria stops performing, a cell will begin dying within minutes.

Because of its profound effects on energy, mitochondria are implicated in several bodily processes and diseases. In fact, mitochondria function is linked to several conditions including cancer, Alzheimer’s, mood disorders, heart disease, and diabetes. Likewise, experts hypothesize that restoring mitochondrial function can minimize the severity of these diseases. This can be done through providing your body with certain nutrients and supplements.

Magnesium

Magnesium is essential for several physiological processes, including cellular and mitochondrial support. Increasing magnesium levels can promote mitochondrial function. However, as much as 50 percent of individuals in the U.S. are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Coenzyme Q10 (coQ10)

CoQ10 is a naturally produced antioxidant found within the body that is essential for cell development and maintenance. However, as we get older, our CoQ10 levels get lower. CoQ10 deficiency can lead to oxidative damage, which is detrimental to the body. Likewise, supplementing with CoQ10 can be advantageous.

B vitamins

B vitamins are cofactors, meaning that the body requires them to initiate important chemical reactions, particularly having to do with those involved in energy production. Likewise, B vitamins are important to supporting mitochondrial and cellular health.

Alpha-lipoic acid

Alpha-lipoic acid can minimize oxidative stress and elevate the production of ATP in the body. Likewise, a study demonstrates positive benefits of alpha-lipoic acid on heart disease. Other studies are also evaluating its effects on cognitive disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s4.

Supplements that slow aging

Aging is a natural and normal part of life that everyone experiences. Regardless, many people want to slow the process and signs of aging to maintain their youthfulness. Two processes are implicated in the aging process. First is the development of free radicals that are damaging molecules. Secondly is telomere shortening. Telomeres are structures at the tips of chromosomes that are implicated in cell division, and they shorten as we age.

Healthy habits can support anti-aging processes. These habits include dietary and lifestyle changes that can prevent your risk for developing age-related conditions. Additionally, there are several supplements that can help support youthfulness within the body.

NR and NMN

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a compound found in the body with two precursors: nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). NAD+ is implicated in several cell functions, including gene expression, energy production, and DNA repair. With lowered levels with age, diseases such as Alzheimer’s can occur.

Several studies suggest that NR and NMN supplementation can increase levels of NAD+ and thus prevent age-related cell changes. Mice models, for example, demonstrated that NMN supplements increased the length of telomeres. Another study in humans showed that NR elevated NAD+ levels and decreased the number of inflammatory proteins.

Collagen

Collagen is a protein essential to maintaining the strength, hydration, and elasticity of your skin. With age, collagen production slows down, manifesting as dry skin and wrinkles. Supplementing with collagen may be able to alleviate skin-related aging symptoms.

One study, for example, demonstrated that collagen induced improvements in the elasticity, hydration, and roughness of skin. It has also shown effects in increasing nail growth and minimizing wrinkles. To supplement with collagen, you can take it in the form of capsules or a powder.

Curcumin

Curcumin is the active component of turmeric that induces several therapeutic and anti-aging effects. In particular, it can protect cells and promote anti-aging via its antioxidant properties.

Cellular senescence is when cells stop dividing. With increased age, more and more senescent cells appear, causing aging and aging-related disease. Curcumin plays a role in stimulating proteins that prevent cellular senescence, thus delaying aging. In fact, studies show that curcumin delays age-related conditions and symptoms.

Vitamin C

This article has previously discussed the role of oxidative damage in the aging and disease process. Vitamin C is another antioxidant ingredient that can help protect against oxidative damage, leading to neuroprotective effects. For example, vitamin C is associated with increased focus, recognition, memory, and attention. Vitamin C also plays a role in supporting the skin. It can increase collagen production and hydration, thus preventing wrinkles and sun-related damage.

EGCG

Epigallocatechin gallate, also known as EGCG, is an ingredient found in green tea. It has been shown to lower your chance for certain diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Additionally, it promotes mitochondrial health by causing the removal of damaged cell material. Other benefits include potential improvement in hyperpigmentation and brain-related aging. You can supplement EGCG by drinking green tea or supplements.

Conclusion

There are hundreds of supplements out there, all claiming to improve certain aspects of your health and wellness. Many individuals, for example, may want to supplement their diet to prevent aging, induce weight loss, and promote cellular and mitochondrial health. However, the evidence supporting these claims for these conditions is mixed. Additionally, it is important to understand how certain ingredients and supplements may interact with your medications. Likewise, though supplementing your diet can be helpful, it is always best to consult a profession before implementing a supplement5.

References.

  1. Overweight and obesity - what are overweight and obesity? | nhlbi, nih. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2022, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/overweight-and-obesity
  2. Office of dietary supplements—Dietary supplements for weight loss. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2022, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WeightLoss-HealthProfessional/
  3. Contributors, W. E. (n.d.). Supplements and herbs for weight loss. WebMD. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/herbal-remedies
  4. Moore, S. (2021, January 6). 4 supplements to support mitochondria and cellular health. Live Naturally Magazine. https://livenaturallymagazine.com/supplements/supplements-support-mitochondria-cellular-health/
  5. The 14 best anti-aging supplements. (2022, January 25). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/anti-aging-supplements

 

 

Author
David Bauder David J. Bauder, PA-C David Bauder, PA-C, is a certified physician assistant and the assistant medical director at Weight Loss and Vitality in Manassas and Alexandria, Virginia, Washington, DC; and Gaithersburg, MD. He enjoys helping patients optimize their physical and mental health to improve their overall well-being. He earned his physician assistant degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Afterward, he gained admission into the reputable graduate program for physician assistant studies at the University of Nebraska Health Science Center in Omaha. David has over 26 years of experience working as a physician assistant. He’s practiced in podiatry, family medicine, emergency medicine, general surgery, urgent care, and functional medicine.

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