Can Supplements Help with the Pain of Aging?

Variety of nutritional supplements.

Getting older comes with many changes, especially to our bodies – and aches, pains, and stiffness in various areas are among the most common. Combining supplements with your doctor-advised pain medication and physical therapy can help you manage these changes.

Eating a well-balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your health overall, and the importance only increases as you age; a diet filled with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins provides the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to function and can help manage or reduce the symptoms of certain conditions. But even the most well-meaning diet can fall short, so dietary supplements can help fill in the gaps: women in menopause especially lose bone mass, so calcium and vitamin D supplements are an important way to maintain mineral content. Men also benefit from these supplements that keep bones strong. A multivitamin taken daily can also ensure you get other nutrients or minerals you may be missing or that your body has trouble holding on to the way they could in your 20′s.

Joint problems are one of the most common complaints of aging; stiffness, aching, swelling, and worn cartilage cause pain and discomfort to many people. Medical treatment should be overseen by a doctor, but there is some evidence that supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin can provide some pain relief. Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body and keeps cartilage thick and supple, but your body begins to produce less as you get older, contributing to the wear on joints. The substance doesn’t occur naturally in foods we eat, so you can’t get it through your diet, which is why a supplement – taken with meals to avoid an upset stomach – can be a good way to keep up the levels in your body. Chondroitin is often taken along with glucosamine and can also help slow joint damage and breakdown.

Antioxidants are popular because they fight free radicals, substances that occur in both the body and in nature – from UV rays, smoke, and pollution – that cause damage to skin and other parts of the body. Selenium and Vitamins E and C can help protect skin against sun damage, pollution, and may also help prevent against wrinkles.

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