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Ep 19: Supplements for Healthy Aging

Hosted by: MegaFood | Podcast



Ep 19: Supplements for Healthy Aging

runtime: 29:31


Ep 19: Supplements for Healthy Aging

Our nutritional needs change as we progress through life, as do the health concerns we tend to have. So, let’s get proactive! Dr. Erin Stokes shares how you can get ahead of the ball when it comes to aging gracefully, by focusing on a few key areas in the here and now.


Products mentioned:

Women Over 55 One Daily

Men Over 55 One Daily

Multi for Women 55+

Multi for Men 55+

Bone Health

MegaFlora® for Over 50

Related blog posts:

Supplements for Healthy Aging

strong> [00:00] [background music]

Announcer: [00:00] The statements in this podcast have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Welcome to episode 19 of That Supplement Show.

[00:11] Today we're talking about a plan for healthy aging because, like it or not, we're all getting older. Our nutritional needs change as we progress through life as do the health concerns that we tend to focus on. Abby and Killeen are here to discuss why a multivitamin is important as we age and the differences between a general formulation versus one designed for men and women over 55.

[00:29] Dr. Erin Stokes also joins the show to hone in on our digestive system and our bones. Both are key areas to consider now, but especially in our 50s and up. The clock's ticking, so let's go.

Killeen: [00:41] Hey, Abby. How was your weekend?

Abby: [00:43] It was good. Thanks for asking. Nice and relaxing. How about you?

Killeen: [00:47] Sounds nice. Mine was great. What did we do? My parents came for dinner and, as always, had a great time with them. Actually, I have a little apropos anecdote for you. As my girls are getting older, I find it really humorous to draw comparisons between what their world is like now and mine was like as a child at their age.

[01:10] My nine year old, my oldest, she always jokes when my parents are over that Grandpa won't stop talking about his diet, his nutrition, and his health. She's really right. He is what you would dare say obsessed. [laughs] For me, at this age, I like to engage with him in these conversations. He always teaches me something.

[01:33] When I was nine, I remember being bored to tears as well when my dad sat there talking with my grandma. They would go on and on about health and nutrition. They absolutely never got tired of the subject. When you think about it, as a healthy kid, boundless energy, these topics don't really seem to matter.

[01:56] It's as we age that we begin to experience things like less energy, we get more tired, and we feel more of the effects of every day living. That is when we start to...Some of us obsess and some of us just get a little bit intrigued about what we can do to fuel that tank, right?

Abby: [02:14] Absolutely spot on. It reminds me of when one of my friends was over with one of her daughters. We were having a little sleep over. We set up a tent in the living room. At night, they wanted to sleep on the floor in the tent. I was kind of shocked. I laid there for 30 seconds and thought my back was going to break.

[02:29] [laughter]

Abby: [02:29] Kids are elastic. They're, hopefully, of course, super, super healthy. We take that for granted as we start to get older.

Killeen: [02:36] Yes. Hey, that's our topic at hand today, healthy aging. Whether we like it or not, we're all getting older moment by moment. Now, as I've done this show with you for a while, I feel like I've gained tons of insight and info from you and from Dr. Erin Stokes, our naturopath, who we're going to call later, by the way.

[03:00] At this point, it does seem old hat to get into nutrient gaps to kick off a conversation on healthy aging. At the same time, what's a show on supplemental health without quickly addressing the deficiencies that we're dealing with as a population? I thought maybe we could start there. Maybe you want to rattle off some of those staggering statistics that we like to reference.

Abby: [03:22] Absolutely, the first one I want to mention because it's the one that blows my mind the most is that 15 million people have low vitamin C levels. The reason that that one surprises me so much is, compared to some of the other numbers we'll talk about in a second, it seems relatively low.

[03:36] Although 15 million is still a ton of people, but it's really easy to get vitamin C in the diet, yet we're still seeing that kind of rate of deficiency.

[03:44] Another one is 18 million of us are deficient in vitamin B12. That's one that we're going to hit on today. It becomes more and more important as we age. We also see 30 million people deficient in B6, which is really important for nervous system health. Really vital nutrient. That equates to about 1 in 10 people in the United States.

[04:02] Then D3, you know this is probably going to be a pretty big number, [laughs] especially where we live up here in northern New England. 66 million people have insufficiency of D3. If we look at the people with deficiency, that number jumps up to 90 million in total having suboptimal levels of D3.

[04:24] These nutrient deficiencies are very much real. We're encountering them every day and, in some cases like B12, as I mentioned, it gets more challenging as we get older.

Killeen: [04:32] Yeah, you're right, Abby. There's a lot of deficiencies out there and that is why anybody, not just the aging population, but them included, might consider just taking a basic multivitamin. It's that first and foremost foundational thing that we can do to support our health, both in the here and now and for the future.

[04:52] Actually, we just recorded short, what we're calling a minisode, less than 10 minute discussion, which is really quick for you and me.

Abby: [04:59] Got to say, that was hard for us, but we did it.

[05:00] [laughter]

Killeen: [05:01] We did. It was a quick discussion on how to select a multivitamin to suit your needs based on age, gender, and then that overall likelihood of actually taking the multi versus letting that jar sit there and collect dust. I'll make sure that there's a link in today's show notes to that episode.

Abby: [05:21] Perfect, we've talked a lot about our doctor formulated multis in the past. If we remember, those a two a day formulas, not everybody wants to take two tablets a day. That's where one a days come in. Those can be great options for people.

[05:33] Our line of one daily multivitamins here at MegaFood, it's been around forever, but it was missing some options. We've offered over 55 formulators in our doctor formulated multi line for a few years now, but we didn't have that age specific offering for the one daily fans until now.

[05:50] We now have Women Over 55 One Daily and its men's counterpart, Men Over 55 One Daily. They've been added to the range of multis that we're looking at. If someone wanted higher potencies, we have Multi for Women 55+ and its male counterpart, both in that doctor formulated multi line.

[06:06] They're going to deliver excellent nutrition, including those active methylated forms of B12 and folate, as well as the nutrient choline. All of that in two tablets a day. May be less convenient, but, is it super complete? You betcha.

Killeen: [06:19] There's the essential reminder that healthy aging can start with a multi. Now, I know something that's notable about our multis is the absence of calcium, which is this classic mineral.

[06:32] We've talked about this before. Just for my own sake of remembering, we eliminate that because it's a big mineral and it's really hard to fit into the tablets? All that nutrition just doesn't really fit. Is that why?

Abby: [06:46] That's part of the reason. It's especially true when you're delivering FoodState Nutrients like we are at MegaFood when these nutrients are being delivered with food. They're physically pretty big to fit into a tiny one a day or two a day multi.

[06:58] In reality, it's recommended that you take your calcium, and actually your magnesium, at least two hours apart from your multivitamin. That's especially important when we're talking about the aging population because we're really focused on bone support with those minerals, calcium and magnesium.

Killeen: [07:15] The two hours apart, is that for better absorption? Is that why we do that?

Abby: [07:20] Yes, it absolutely is. There are some other factors at play, too. I was thinking, as you mentioned earlier on when we were chatting, this might be a good time to call Dr. Erin Stokes to discuss. Really a great area for her to cover. What do you think?

Killeen: [07:31] I think that's perfect. Actually, after that, she can weigh in on digestive health, too, since that seems to fit into our topic today.

Abby: [07:37] All right, let's do it, but first, a word from our sponsor.

[07:40] [commercial break]

Dr. Erin Stokes: [07:46] Hello, this is Dr. Erin Stokes.

Abby: [08:28] Hi, Erin. This is Abigail and Killeen calling. How are you?

Erin: [08:32] Hi, Abbey. Hi, Killeen. I'm doing really well, thanks. How are you two doing?

Abby: [08:36] We're doing great and we're really excited to connect with you today because we're discussing some nutritional needs specific to the aging population. We were just chatting about bone health, supplementing with calcium and magnesium separate from your multi. We thought you might really have a lot of offer that conversation.

Erin: [08:55] Yes, I'd love to weigh in. Healthy aging is one of my favorite topics. I'm one of those people that truly believes that you can get better with age. Although there are certain key nutrients we really want to watch out for and make sure that we're getting into our diet through including nutrient dense foods like avocados, blueberries, broccoli, kale, those are some of my favorites.

[09:19] Salmon if you eat seafood. I really love this topic because I think that a lot of people, they're learning more as they age and they're focusing on their health more, so it's something I enjoy talking about. You wanted to start with the question around calcium? Was that it?

Abby: [09:38] Yeah. I think that if we could start chatting about bone health, because at least when I start to think about healthy aging and over 55, that's one of the biggest things to come to mind for a lot of us.

Killeen: [09:47] What I was asking Abby right before we called you was wondering about the better absorption of calcium and magnesium coming from taking those minerals separately from your general multivitamin. A lot of people want to know, why is that?

Erin: [10:03] You got it. It's true, we really want to focus on bone health throughout life, and there certainly is a stronger focus as we move into our 50s, 60s, and beyond. Bone mass stops increasing around age 30. Up until about 30, our bone mass is increasing. From there on out, we want to focus on maintaining and supporting our bone health.

[10:31] Calcium and magnesium, the simplest way that I like to talk about it is that they're both really large minerals. Because they are so large, if you put them in a multivitamin, first of all, you usually can't get a meaningful potency in a multi because you're trying to put so many other vitamins and minerals in there. That's the first thing.

[10:53] Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, is because those calcium and magnesium, they're so large, they can impact the absorption of smaller minerals that are really key for our health and wellness. For example, zinc. They can negatively impact the absorption of zinc. Zinc is crucial for, as we know, immune system function, healthy wound healing, and many other components.

[11:19] To really maximize all of your absorption of your vitamins and minerals, it's best to take your bone health formula separately by at least about two to three hours. A lot of people like to take it in the evening just because they find that that's easier for them.

Killeen: [11:39] I've also heard that it's really important to get just the right amount of calcium. Isn't true that, if we get too much, we can build it up in places other than our bones where maybe we don't want it?

Erin: [11:52] It is true. The thing is, that bone is a living matrix. We really have to think about that when we're thinking about supporting bone health. For so many years, the focus was almost exclusively on calcium.

[12:07] Because of some of the absorption issues, the thought was just take as much calcium as you can, really high amounts. You may have seen recommendations like 1,200 milligrams a day, these really high amounts because the thought was you're not going to actually absorb that much of it, so just flood your system with it.

[12:30] We've learned so much more since then. That was really conventional thought a decade or so ago. As we look at other key minerals, like magnesium, we talked about magnesium is also really important for bone health as is vitamin D3. That's important for proper calcium absorption. Vitamin K2 is really important to help bring calcium into the bone.

[12:53] When you look at all of these different factors, you do want to get them in the right amounts. Particularly sometimes with minerals we see this with calcium, we see this with iron you really want to get just the right amount.

[13:09] The best way to do that is to start with food first and to focus on good food sources of calcium. Then, again, like we were saying, to really take your bone building formula separate from your multi. That's just based on the most recent research.

[13:27] When we look at nutrient deficiencies in people as they're moving into their 50s and beyond, magnesium comes up repeatedly. Calcium, of course, is really important for bone health. Magnesium is very important for musculoskeletal health. They both are. It's nice to optimize the absorption of these minerals.

Abby: [13:48] Erin, a big takeaway for me for this is that I think a lot of us think of calcium as the be all, end all for bone health, but you mentioned a lot of other players. We want to keep an eye out for a well rounded formulation it sounds like.

Erin: [14:02] Absolutely. You do. Supplements are just that. Supplements are really important in modern times because we do have gaps in our diet.

[14:13] At the same time, you want to get excellent food sources. If you're thinking about calcium, think about seeds like chia seeds. If you do eat dairy, cheese can be a good source and yogurt. If you don't, that's OK. You can try something like seeds, nuts. Sardines works if that works in your diet. Beans and lentils.

[14:37] I think it's all about education, as always, as empowerment and doing that combination of eating your best diet, living your best life. We can't talk about bone health without talking about the importance of weight bearing exercise throughout your entire life. If you haven't started yet, you can start today. It's important.

[14:57] Weight bearing exercise is how we use our bones and we keep them strong. That's an important component of bone health as we age as well.

Killeen: [15:06] That's great info, Erin. When you're young, what did you say, 30 was about when the bone mass stops being built and we need to maintain? When that point hits, I think a lot of us aren't there yet in thinking about our bone health.

[15:22] My takeaway here is maybe that's a good time to get your levels checked and just see what nutrients might I need at that age in order to make sure that my bones stay strong and intact.

Erin: [15:37] Definitely. I feel like it's never too late to start. Today's always a new day. You can start today, so, yes.

Killeen: [15:42] Bone health, not something that everybody's thinking about super early on. Interestingly enough, I feel like the other big topic that we want to hit on today, digestive health. That is something where I was talking with Abby earlier about listening to my grandma go on and on about her health as a kid. Digestion was huge for grandma. She loved to talk about her digestion.

[16:11] [laughter]

Killeen: [16:12] The weird thing is or not so weird is that now I feel that younger populations are definitely getting a little bit more aware of the importance of good digestive health. It seems like topics about our gut and our microbiome are big now whereas they were not when I was a kid.

[16:33] This is our segue into talking about digestive health, really at any age, but then also as we age. Can we go there?

Erin: [16:42] Sure. Our digestive health is a cornerstone of everything if you think about it. When our digestion is strong and we're able to absorb our nutrients from our food, we're feeling like we're eliminating regularly. We're feeling good.

[16:58] Digestive issues can often arise in people when they're younger. I think it might be part of the reason why that focus happens earlier in life. There is a lot of interest in our microbiome. There's a lot of current research around our microbiome. First, we should probably define what that is.

Abby: [17:18] I was just going to ask.

Erin: [17:20] Just our own little community of bacteria. It's hard to believe, but there's a lot of bacteria in there. When I talk with people about it, I talk about it's like our own garden.

[17:32] It has a lot to do with what we eat. It had a lot to do with medication. We know that antibiotic use can negatively influence the health of our microbiome. We know that eating fermented foods like kimchi can positively influence the health of our microbiome.

[17:50] That's really interesting because we can often look to history as a guide for maybe some of the ways that we should be living today. If you look at historic cultures around the world, there's a long history of fermented foods, in part because it was a way of preserving food. It's also a way of having a healthy microbiome.

[18:12] There is an increased focus in it in terms what we eat and also supplementation. The probiotics are a really strong category in the supplement world because people are recognizing the importance of digestive health and also how digestive health connects directly to immune health. Somewhere between 65 to 70 percent of our immune cells are actually located in our digestive tract.

[18:37] I remember the first time, I think it was about five or six years ago, I saw a TV commercial that alluded to that fact. I thought, "Oh my gosh, it's actually hit the mainstream!"

Killeen: [18:52] You know what's funny is what you're saying about the fermented foods being a way to preserve foods. Thinking back to talking about food first, it makes me wonder if a lot of the digestion upset and difficulties that our younger populations are facing now is because of our food system.

[19:12] Just how accessible all kinds of crazy things are to eat, that maybe we're not always nourishing ourselves in the way that those before us did. Therefore, those gut health challenges are coming up younger versus as a result of aging.

Erin: [19:30] That's right. I think they are coming up in younger populations.

[19:34] Then, it also becomes more of an issue as you get older. One of the things that we can say is that nutrient depletions over time can compound. Many people will say, "I don't feel like I can kinda get away with what I could when I was younger." There is some truth to that.

[19:53] I was actually just reading a study about the impact of sleep deprivation. The impact of sleep deprivation becomes more significant as you get older. It turns out that, yes, it's true. 20 somethings can actually handle sleep deprivation a little bit better than 50 somethings.

[20:11] Similarly, with nutrient depletions, if you think about starting out with a nutrient bank account as it were. We hopefully are making more deposits than withdrawals. We may be making withdrawals throughout our lifetime. I can certainly think of ways that I was eating at different times of my life that were making withdrawals. You think about that compounding over time.

[20:33] I do think that, as we age, it is an opportunity to focus more on getting the right food, supporting our healthy digestion. We do know that certain vitamins, like vitamin B12, for example, that deficiency becomes much more prevalent after the age of 50.

[20:51] In fact, the Institute of Medicine recommends that people aged 50 and older supplement with vitamin B12. We know that B12 is so important for a healthy mood, our mental energy. It plays a key role with our brain health. B12's really important. That's just one example.

[21:14] If you're supporting that optimal nutrient absorption, that starts with the microbiome. It starts with gut health. It is an opportunity, as we age, to have an increased focus on that.

[21:28] One supplement that I really love in that regard is the MegaFlora Over 50 because it brings together our signature blend of probiotics. It also has specific strains that support gastrointestinal health, and it has turmeric. Turmeric is an herb that we know well for supporting healthy inflammation levels. In this regard, it's supporting healthy inflammation right in the gastrointestinal tract.

Killeen: [22:02] That's interesting because we do talk about turmeric a lot. I don't always associate it with gut inflammation. I think of inflammation caused from running, for example, or exerting yourself and that we use turmeric to support that healthy inflammation response in our joints. That's really interesting to think about using it within our gut.

[22:28] Question for you there. Our regular turmeric supplements, we use BioPerine, which is black pepper extract, in order to help us absorb the turmeric. What about in our gut? Do we still need that or is that a different story?

Erin: [22:44] It's going to be a different story with the MegaFlora for Over 50. We want that turmeric, that response to support a healthy inflammatory response in the colon. We want that to stay more locally focused. Because of that, we don't include the pepper extract, the BioPerine. I like that because it's a targeted support.

Killeen: [23:09] That's so neat that we can control where the turmeric goes. [laughs] It's fascinating.

Erin: [23:14] I think it is, too. The other thing that's interesting about this blend is that, as time's gone on, there's been a lot of research into different strains. This MegaFlora for Over 50 includes two different strains that have some evidence around them.

[23:35] It's Bifidobacterium lactis. It's a specific strain. I won't read all the numbers. It's a Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus plantarum. They promote regularity, healthy bowel function, and proper digestion.

[23:50] That's important as time goes on because we do hear people complaining about gastrointestinal discomfort. Sometimes it can just be years of diet, life, stressors, environmental exposure, and medication.

[24:09] If you think about it, our GI tract really takes a lot because, ultimately, it's exposed to the outside world. Through the opening of your mouth into your gastrointestinal tract, there's an opening to outside world there. We got to give our GI tracts a little love.

Abby: [24:26] I'm hearing a lot of different benefits of supplementing with probiotics. Of course, throughout life, but definitely over 55. It sounds like we have the actual mechanisms of helping us get nutrition. Then there's also going to be the physical relief, maybe, if we're suffering from discomfort, irregularity, or things of that nature.

Erin: [24:49] Absolutely. I think there can be short term benefits and, certainly, long term benefits.

Abby: [24:55] Thank you so much for that chat, Erin. It was enlightening as always. I think we got a few really actionable solid steps for our listeners here.

Erin: [25:02] I always enjoy talking with you both. Thanks for having me.

Killeen: [25:06] Thanks, Erin.

Abby: [25:07] Till next time, Erin.

[25:08] [beep]

Abby: [25:11] Killeen, that was a lot of really great information. I was wondering if maybe you could recap everything for me and our listeners.

Killeen: [25:18] I'll give it a whirl. Let me see if I have this straight now.

[25:22] A sound supplement plan for healthy aging might include food first. We want to look at our diet, make sure we're trying to eat nutritiously and get as many of the key nutrients as possible from our food. Then, of course, we've got gaps in the diet. Whether we're young or old, it's always hard to get everything we need from food alone.

[25:44] We're going to fill in the gaps with a multivitamin just to ensure that we are not missing out on something key. Then, we're going to take our calcium and our magnesium mineral supplements separately from our multivitamin. That will help ensure optimal bone support through good absorption of those minerals by taking them about two hours apart.

[26:07] Then we've got other nutrients that we want to include in there, too. I think Dr. Erin Stokes mentioned vitamin D and vitamin K that would help aid in absorption of the bigger minerals. Is that right?

Abby: [26:23] You got it.

Killeen: [26:24] Great. It's hard to keep straight. [laughs]

Abby: [26:27] It's a lot of info.

Killeen: [26:28] Actually, you know what? There's this video that we have used in some previous podcast episodes, maybe a blog or two for MegaFood. A really cute little animation that shows about how calcium and magnesium are absorbed and why things like D and K should be present. I think we should include that in the show notes today.

Abby: [26:51] I'm so happy you said that because that's my favorite video ever. It's so adorable. Yes, our listeners will be in for a treat with that video. They'll learn a lot.

Killeen: [27:02] Little cartoonized minerals. Super cute. [laughs]

[27:08] Then, after bone support, we talked about supporting a healthy digestive system, having that good gut bacteria. The good gut bacteria grow in our little personal garden that we call the microbiome. To really nurture that microbiome, a probiotic will help. Not only will it promote that good digestion, but also immune support. What's not to love about a probiotic?

[27:35] Then we talked about probiotics like MegaFlora for 50 and over, which contains turmeric to support healthy GI inflammation response, which is also fascinating that turmeric can do so many wonders for the body.

Abby: [27:50] Absolutely, and the last thing I'd add to that list is consider planning ahead. You might feel like you're far from needing a healthy aging plan. That's a few years out. You don't need to worry about it now. It's important to consider future investments in our health.

[28:05] Talk to your trusted healthcare practitioner, determine your dietary, your supplement needs. We all have unique needs for our unique bodies, so think ahead, plan ahead.

Killeen: [28:15] Right. We've given a lot of guidelines today, but you're going to want to go talk it out with the person that helps you with your health.

Abby: [28:22] Absolutely.

Killeen: [28:24] On that note, I always leave this show feeling very hungry. I think I'm going to go eat something delicious and nutritious, maybe some kimchi.

[28:33] [laughter]

Abby: [28:34] There you go, and I'll go eat some leafy greens with some seeds on it to get my calcium.

Killeen: [28:39] Nice. We should dine together soon because I think we'd have a very nice spread.

Abby: [28:43] That supplement show goes to the restaurant.

[28:46] [laughter]

Abby: [28:46] We can do it on location.

Killeen: [28:47] Awesome. I love it. All right, thanks so much, Abby. Good talk, as always.

Abby: [28:51] Always a pleasure, Killeen. Bye bye.

Killeen: [29:06] Bye.

[29:06] [background music]

[29:06] [commercial break]

Announcer: [29:16] If you have a moment, leave a review on iTunes and let us know what you think of the show. We'd love to hear from you.

[29:23] The statements in this podcast have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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