Top 16 Anti Aging Supplements that Work (Scientifically Proven) 2022

If you are looking for anti aging supplements backed by evidence, you've come to the right place. Instead of taking untested supplements, you might need to consider supplements that actually work.

Aging can be defined as the time-related deterioration of the physiological functions necessary for survival and fertility (Source). The characteristics of aging—as distinguished from diseases of aging (such as cancer and heart disease)—affect all the individuals of a species.

Recent studies have indicated that there are genetic components to aging, and that the genetically determined life span characteristic of a species can be modulated by altering genes or diet.

anti aging supplements

This article compiles research related to the anti-aging or slowing the aging process. This article will also reveal exciting new information about a variety of immune-enhancing natural products and nutrients that may help you maintain youthful immune system function into advancing age.

Methodology: The selection or short-listing of the list below is based on the available scientific evidence retrieved from scientific database such as PubMed and scientific search engine such as Google Scholar. The article will also be updated as and when there is a newly discovered major research publication related to anti-aging.

1. Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN)

Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is needed to make NAD+.

NAD+ is a very important substance in the cells. It provides energy for cells and is also a cofactor for proteins that repair and maintain our epigenome and our DNA.

The epigenome is the intricate machinery that surrounds the DNA and that determines which genes are active. During aging, the epigenome becomes more and more dysregulated.

NMN also improves the functioning of our mitochondria, the power plants of our cells.

NMN improves metabolism and reduces inflammation.

The older we get, the less NAD+ is present in our cells. Taking in NMN can increase NAD+ levels.

Various studies show that NMN has beneficial effects on aging diseases and symptoms (R,R,R,R).

For example, long term administration of NMN mitigated age-associated decline in mice: NMN reduced the typical age-associated increase in body weight, improved energy metabolism, improved lipids in the blood and insulin sensitivity and ameliorated eye function (R).

NMN can also improve aging-related decline in fertility (R), improve bone health (R) and vascular health (R,R,R).


2. Vitamin D and K2

“We [in the medical community] are beginning to realize the anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin D,” says Amanda Frick, a licensed naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Santa Monica, California. It builds bone, boosts immunity, guards against chronic ailments, and is responsible for increasing absorption of calcium and magnesium. If you’re still not sold on vitamin D as one of the anti-aging supplements to add to your regimen, Frick says it can also assist with weight loss when combined with lifestyle intervention.

Theoretically, we should get enough vitamin D through our diet and from the sun, but for many of us, that’s not the case. In the United States, 35% of adults and 61% of people over the age of 65 are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis, weakness, and bone fractures in the elderly, among other things. Recent studies also show a link between vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer (Sizar, 2020).

Some studies have shown links between vitamin D supplements and lower blood pressure, decreased symptoms of depression, better cognitive function, and stronger muscles (Nair, 2012).

Vitamin D ensures that your blood levels of calcium are high enough to meet your body’s demands. However, vitamin D does not fully control where the calcium in your body ends up. That’s where vitamin K steps in. Vitamin K2 supplements have been proven to be more effective than vitamin K1. That's why most of the top vitamin D supplement brands do combine their vitamin D3 with K2.

3. Calcium Alpha-KetoGlutarate (AKG) 

Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) is a small molecule naturally present in our body. During aging, levels of AKG decline.

Alpha-ketoglutarate is used by the mitochondria, which convert this substance into energy, but alpha-ketoglutarate has various other functions in the body.

Numerous studies show that alpha-ketoglutarate can extend lifespan in various organisms. AKG extended lifespan in C elegans worms (R) and fruit flies (R,R,R) and mice.

C elegans fed AKG (red) live longer than the control group (black). Source: Chin et al, Nature.
A study in mice, conducted at the Buck Institute, one of the world-leading aging research institutes, found that alpha-ketoglutarate extended lifespan in old mice by 12 percent (R).

Very interestingly, alpha-ketoglutarate extended health span by an impressive 41 percent: the mice didn’t only live longer, they stayed healthier and disease-free for considerably longer.

Alpha-ketoglutarate also siginificantly reduced hair graying in elderly animals (R).

How alpha-ketoglutarate extends lifespan? Alpha-ketoglutarate impacts the aging process in various ways.

First, alpha-ketoglutarate has epigenetic effects. The epigenome is the intricate molecular machinery surrounding the DNA that decides which genes are switched on or off. The older we get, the more the epigenome becomes dysregulated: some genes that should be silent are switched on, and some genes that should be active (like cancer protection genes) are switched off. This epigenetic dysregulation is one of the reasons why we age.

An important enzyme that regulates the epigenome is TET (ten eleven translocation). This enzyme can reprogram the epigenome to a more youthful state. TET needs alpha-ketoglutarate to function properly. TET also needs vitamin C to carry out its work properly.

Alpha-ketoglutarate is also at the nexus of carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism. The older we get, the less flexible cells become at switching between carbohydrates and amino acids to produce energy. Alpha-ketoglutarate, however, can help cells to maintain this metabolic flexibility for longer.

Alpha-ketoglutarate also improves mitochondrial health, which makes sense, given this substance also an energy source for the mitochondria. Alpha-ketoglutarate activates AMPK, an important metabolic and longevity switch (R). 

Besides that, we see that alpha-ketoglutarate can help the body to detoxify: alpha-ketoglutarate helps the body to get rid of ammonia. Ammonia is a waste product from the protein metabolism that tends to accumulate in the body (the more protein you eat, the more ammonium you produce). When we get older, the body has more difficulty getting rid of the ammonia. Too much ammonia is toxic, and alpha-ketoglutarate helps to detoxify the body from ammonium.

Also, given alpha-ketoglutarate serves as a fuel for the mitochondria, it could provide more energy and endurance. That is why athletes and bodybuilders have been taking alpha-ketoglutarate for decades. However, some studies show that alpha-ketoglutarate does not provide substantially extra energy (R). In these studies, however, the arginine-alpha-ketoglutarate form is taken, while ideally, the AKG form without arginine, but with calcium is taken, at least for longevity purposes.

Alpha-ketoglutarate also plays a role in maintaining stem cell health (R), and in bone and gut metabolism (R).

Calcium alpha-ketoglutarate is also involved in collagen production, can reduce fibrosis, and can thus play a role in maintaining healthy, youthful skin (R,R).

Regular alpha-ketoglutarate vs calcium alpha-ketoglutarate

Most alpha-ketoglutarate supplements contain plain alpha-ketoglutarate.

However, scientists believe that the calcium form of alpha-ketoglutarate, namely calcium alpha-ketoglutarate (calcium AKG or CAKG), is significantly better than regular alpha-ketoglutarate, in which the alpha ketoglutarate molecule is not linked to a calcium atom.

Calcium alpha-ketoglutarate can have additional beneficial effects compared to alpha-ketoglutarate. One reason for this is that calcium alpha-ketoglutarate is more slowly absorbed in the gut and released into the bloodstream, so it can work for longer in the body. This makes sense, given alpha-ketoglutarate is an important metabolite and ideally it is present in our body at sufficiently high levels for as long as possible.

Most supplements contain only alpha-ketoglutarate, not calcium alpha-ketoglutarate. Also, their dose of alpha-ketoglutarate is often too low.

Alpha-ketoglutarate ticks all the boxes of an ideal longevity molecule: there is substantial scientific evidence showing it extends lifespan in various model organisms (C elegans, fruit flies and mice).

Alpha-ketoglutarate works beneficially on various aging mechanisms (such as epigenetic and mitochondrial dysfunction).

It is a natural substance that occurs in our body, but of which the levels decrease as we get older.

It has been taken by humans for many decades with the only significant side effects seeming to be increased lifespan and healthspan.

4. EGCG (Green Tea)

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a well-known polyphenol compound concentrated in green tea. It offers impressive health benefits, with research supporting its use to reduce the risk of certain cancers, as well as other health conditions like heart disease (Trusted SourceTrusted SourceTrusted Source).

Among EGCG’s diverse array of potential health-promoting properties is its ability to promote longevity and protect against age-related disease development.

EGCG may slow aging by restoring mitochondrial function in cells and acting on pathways involved in aging, including the AMP-activated protein kinase signaling pathway (AMPK).

It also induces autophagy, the process by which your body removes damaged cellular material (Trusted Source).

Green tea intake has been associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality, diabetes, stroke, and heart-disease-related death. Plus, animal studies have shown that it can protect against skin aging and wrinkles caused by ultraviolet (UV) light (Trusted SourceTrusted SourceTrusted Source).

EGCG can be consumed by drinking green tea or taking concentrated supplements.

5. Pu-erh Tea Extract

Pu-erh tea, made from select leaves of Camellia sinensis, has a long history of use in ancient Chinese medicine for anti-aging and preventing infections (Lv 2014; Zhang 2012; Chu 2011). Pu-erh tea is rich in polyphenols and other bioactive molecules, including theabrownins, a unique group of compounds developed during the post-fermentation process (Lee 2013). Laboratory, animal, and clinical studies have demonstrated the ability of Pu-erh tea extract to help improve multiple features of immune senescence.

In senescence-accelerated mice (a model for aging), supplementation with Pu-erh tea extract markedly increased fractions of naïve T cells, cytotoxic T cells, and NK cells. In addition, elevated levels of the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 fell by 43%. Based on these results, the authors concluded that long-term consumption of Pu-erh tea may increase resistance to infection and cancer in aging individuals (Zhang 2012).

In a randomized controlled trial in 90 individuals with increased susceptibility to chronic low-level inflammation due to metabolic syndrome, Pu-erh tea extract supplementation plus diet and lifestyle advice was compared with diet and lifestyle advice alone. In the pu-erh tea extract group, levels of the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and IL-6 significantly decreased, while levels of IL-10, an anti-inflammatory molecule, increased; there were no significant changes in levels of these markers in the group receiving only diet and lifestyle advice (Chu 2011; Moore 2001).

In a laboratory study, Pu-erh tea inhibited proliferation and induced programmed cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells. In an animal component of this study, mice treated with Pu-erh tea had reduced tumor volumes and fewer lymph node metastases than untreated mice. In addition, levels of IL-6, IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha were lower in Pu-erh-treated mice than in control mice. In this study, higher doses of pu-erh tea produced greater anti-cancer effects (Zhao 2014).

6. CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that your body produces. It plays essential roles in energy production and protects against cellular damage (Source).

Research suggests that levels of CoQ10 decline as you age, and supplementing with it has been shown to improve certain aspects of health in older individuals.

For example, a study in 443 older adults demonstrated that supplementing with CoQ10 and selenium over 4 years improved their overall quality of life, reduced hospital visits, and slowed the deterioration of physical and mental performance (Trusted Source).

CoQ10 supplements help reduce oxidative stress, a condition characterized by an accumulation of free radicals and other reactive molecules that accelerates the aging process and onset of age-related disease (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Though CoQ10 shows promise as an anti-aging supplement, more evidence is needed before it can be recommended as a natural way to delay aging.

Be sure to consult a trusted healthcare professional before giving it a try.

7. Zinc

Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is critical to healthy immune function. Zinc deficiency is common in older individuals, and causes changes in immune function that resemble those seen in immune senescence (Cabrera 2015; Maywald 2015). Immunological alterations associated with zinc deficiency include diminished thymus function, decreased antibody response to vaccines, and impaired function of phagocytic and NK cells (Haase 2009; Cabrera 2015).

In a study in healthy older volunteers, daily intake of 45 mg zinc for one year resulted in a 67% reduction versus placebo in incidence of infections. Levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, an inflammatory cytokine, were also greatly reduced in those taking zinc (Prasad 2007). In a study of older individuals in nursing homes, residents with normal zinc levels had a significantly lower incidence of pneumonia compared with zinc-deficient individuals. Zinc-replete individuals also had shorter pneumonia duration and 50% lower usage of antibiotics, as well as lower all-cause mortality (Meydani 2007). A controlled clinical trial in aged individuals showed supplementation with 45 mg zinc per day for six months decreased plasma markers of inflammation, including IL-6 and C-reactive protein (Bao 2010).

Combining zinc with other important vitamins and minerals may also aid immune function. In a randomized controlled trial that enrolled 42 subjects between 55 and 75 years of age, those who took a multivitamin/mineral supplement containing 10 mg zinc and 1,000 mg vitamin C, along with other vitamins and minerals, for 12 weeks experienced fewer self-reported sick days and less severe symptoms than those who took placebo. The number of sick days decreased by nearly 65% with supplement use (Fantacone 2020).

8. Crocin (Saffron)

Crocin is a yellow carotenoid pigment in saffron, a popular, pricey spice that’s commonly used in Indian and Spanish cuisine.

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world — with 1 pound (450 grams) costing between 500 and 5,000 U.S. dollars. Saffron contains an impressive variety of plant compounds that act as antioxidants — molecules that protect your cells against free radicals and oxidative stress.

Human and animal studies have shown that crocin offers many health benefits, including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and antidiabetic effects (Trusted Source).

Aside from the properties listed above, crocin has been researched for its potential to act as an anti-aging compound and protect against age-related mental decline (Trusted Source).

Test-tube and rodent studies have demonstrated that crocin helps prevent age-related nerve damage by inhibiting the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are compounds that contribute to the aging process (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Crocin has also been shown to help prevent aging in human skin cells by reducing inflammation and protecting against UV-light-induced cellular damage (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Given that saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, a more cost-effective way to boost your crocin intake is by taking a concentrated saffron supplement.

9. Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a polyphenol in grapes, berries, peanuts, and red wine that may promote longevity by activating certain genes called sirtuins. It has been shown to increase the lifespan of fruit flies, yeasts, and nematodes (Trusted Source).

10. Molecular Hydrogen

According to a review paper published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity (Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2022):

Through its antioxidative effect, hydrogen maintains genomic stability, mitigates cellular senescence, and takes part in histone modification, telomere maintenance, and proteostasis. In addition, hydrogen may prevent inflammation and regulate the nutrient-sensing mTOR system, autophagy, apoptosis, and mitochondria, which are all factors related to ageing. Hydrogen can also be used for prevention and treatment of various ageing-related diseases, such as neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, and cancer.

The ability of molecular hydrogen (H2) to protect the DNA and the mitochondria from oxidative damage may have beneficial effects on chronic diseases and cancer. But perhaps it could help slow down or reverse the aging process itself. A couple of cellular studies give us some interesting clues [Ref, R].

It was already discovered that hydrogen can prolong the life of stem cells by reducing oxidative stress [Ref].

A hydrogen-rich environment reduced both oxidative stress and aging in cells. Some scientists think
that drinking hydrogen water could increase longevity in humans (Circ J. 2016).

11. Garlic

Garlic, well known for its ability to improve cardiovascular risk factors, also has immune-modulating and immunostimulatory properties, as well as anti-tumor effects (Ebrahimi 2013; Purev 2012; Kyo 2001).

A detailed review of data from published clinical trials found garlic supplements significantly reduce the number, duration, and severity of upper respiratory tract infections. This review also found garlic supplements stimulate immune function by increasing macrophage activity, numbers of NK cells, and production of T and B cells (Ried 2016). In a clinical trial, 120 healthy participants, 21–50 years old, were assigned to use 2.56 g aged garlic extract or placebo daily for 90 days during cold and flu season. Garlic supplementation was associated with reduced cold and flu severity, as well as increased cytotoxic T-cell and NK-cell proliferation and activity (Percival 2016). In animal research, garlic has been shown to increase antibody production and enhance the cell-killing activity of macrophages, cytotoxic T cells, and NK cells (Ghazanfari 2000). Other animal research suggests aged garlic extract may prevent immune suppression associated with psychological stress (Kyo 1999).

Interestingly, garlic has also been demonstrated to suppress the overactive immune response associated with allergic reactions. Data from experimental studies indicate aged garlic extract may reduce histamine release and modify the function of immune cells involved in allergic reactions (Kyo 2001).

Test-tube and rodent studies have also shown that supplementing with garlic may prevent UV-light-induced skin aging and wrinkles (Trusted Source).

12. L-Citrulline

L-citrulline is a naturally occurring amino acid found in some foods like watermelons and is also produced naturally by the body. Citrulline can promote heart health by widening your blood vessels. It can also improve your exercise performance and may play a role in muscle building (Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2017). After citrulline is consumed, some is converted to another amino acid called arginine. Arginine is converted into a molecule called nitric oxide, which causes vasodilation of blood vessels by relaxing the smooth muscle cells that constrict them (Nitric Oxide. 2015). Though research has found both arginine and citrulline to boost levels of nitric oxide (NO) in the body, most recent research—like this The Journal of Nutrition study—shows that citrulline actually delivers the most benefit. The body use arginine for a variety of functions, so it doesn’t use all of the arginine it absorbs to produce NO. Plus, unlike citrulline, higher doses of arginine have been linked to gastrointestinal problems. Because it tends to be poorly absorbed, arginine can even lead to diarrhea when consumed in large amounts.

13. Whey Protein

Whey is the liquid separated from the curds during the cheese making process. Products derived from whey have demonstrated immune-modulating properties (Krissansen 2007; Rusu 2009). Whey protein is especially rich in precursor amino acids involved in the synthesis of glutathione, a powerful free radical scavenger with anti-inflammatory properties. Glutathione is essential for both innate and adaptive immunity (Krissansen 2007; Kloek 2011; Kent 2003; Micke 2001). (N-acetylcysteine, described earlier, is also a glutathione precursor.)

A pilot study compared the effects of whey protein and soy protein on vaccine responsiveness in 17 healthy senior citizens (Freeman 2010). The participants were randomly assigned to consume either whey protein or soy protein for four weeks. They then received the pneumococcal vaccine and continued protein supplementation for four weeks after vaccination. Compared with those who received soy protein, people who received whey protein exhibited a more robust antibody response to 12 of 14 types of pneumococcal bacteria, including the four most harmful bacterial types. The investigators concluded, “ Whey protein supplementation is a promising supplement to stimulate the immune response to vaccine in senior citizens and possibly to counteract [immune senescence] while larger studies are warranted.”

In another clinical trial in 12 healthy volunteers, a single dose of a whey extract was a more effective immune activator than placebo, rapidly increasing phagocytic (microbe-engulfing) activity of certain immune cells and mobilizing new NK cells into circulation (Jensen 2012). In a study in cultured neutrophils, whey protein extract had no immediate effect but instead had a priming effect, heightening neutrophil activity 24 hours later (Rusu 2009).

14. Collagen 

Collagen is promoted as a fountain of youth for its potential to reduce the appearance of skin aging.

It’s an integral component of your skin that helps maintain skin structure. As you age, collagen production slows, leading to collagen loss in the skin that accelerates signs of aging like wrinkles.

Some research suggests that supplementing with collagen may reduce signs of aging, including wrinkles and dry skin.

For example, a 2019 study in 72 women demonstrated that taking a supplement that contained 2.5 grams of collagen — along with several other ingredients, including biotin — per day for 12 weeks significantly improved skin hydration, roughness, and elasticity (Trusted Source).

Another study in 114 women found that treatment with 2.5 grams of collagen peptides for 8 weeks significantly reduced eye wrinkles and increased collagen levels in the skin (Trusted Source).

Though these results are promising, keep in mind that many collagen studies are funded by companies that manufacture collagen products, which may influence study results.

Many types of collagen supplements are on the market, including powders and capsules.

15. NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine)

Cysteine is a semi-essential amino acid. It’s considered semi-essential because your body can produce it from other amino acids, namely methionine and serine. It becomes essential only when the dietary intake of methionine and serine is low.

Cysteine is found in most high-protein foods, such as chicken, turkey, yogurt, cheese, eggs, sunflower seeds and legumes.

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a supplement form of cysteine.

Consuming adequate cysteine and NAC is important for a variety of health reasons — including replenishing the most powerful antioxidant in your body, glutathione. These amino acids also help with chronic respiratory conditions, fertility and brain health.

NAC is valued primarily for its role in antioxidant production. Along with two other amino acids — glutamine and glycine — NAC is needed to make and replenish glutathione.

Glutathione is one of the body’s most important antioxidants, which helps neutralize free radicals that can damage cells and tissues in your body.

It’s essential for immune health and fighting cellular damage. Some researchers believe it may even contribute to longevity (Trusted Source).

Its antioxidant properties are also important for combatting numerous other ailments caused by oxidative stress, such as heart disease, infertility and some psychiatric conditions (Trusted Source).

In a controlled clinical trial in 262 individuals at high risk of influenza (flu) and flu-like illness, NAC supplementation at a dosage of 600 mg twice daily for six months resulted in a significant decrease in frequency and severity of flu and flu symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, headache, and muscle and joint pain. NAC’s ability to protect against flu symptoms was especially evident during the winter season. Of those who tested positive for influenza virus infection during the study, only 25% in the NAC group developed symptomatic illness compared with 79% in the placebo group (De Flora 1997). 

This same NAC dosage in dialysis patients, over eight weeks, resulted in marked reductions in levels of inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and IL-6 (Purwanto 2012).

NAC is likely safe for adults when provided as a prescription medication. However, high amounts may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation (Trusted Source).

When inhaled, it can cause swelling in the mouth, runny nose, drowsiness and chest tightness.

People with bleeding disorders or taking blood thinning medications should not take NAC, as it may slow blood clotting (Trusted Source).

NAC has an unpleasant smell that makes it hard to consume. If you choose to take it, consult with your doctor first.

16. Curcumin (Turmeric) 

Curcumin — the main active compound in turmeric — has been shown to possess powerful anti-aging properties, which are attributed to its potent antioxidant potential.

Cellular senescence occurs when cells stop dividing. As you age, senescent cells accumulate, which is believed to accelerate aging and disease progression (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Research demonstrates that curcumin activates certain proteins, including sirtuins and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which helps delay cellular senescence and promotes longevity (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Plus, curcumin has been shown to combat cellular damage and significantly increase the lifespan of fruit flies, roundworms, and mice. This compound has been shown to postpone age-related disease and alleviate age-related symptoms as well (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

This may be why turmeric intake has been associated with a reduced risk of age-related mental decline in humans (Trusted Source).

You can increase your curcumin intake by using turmeric in recipes or taking curcumin supplements.
 

Bottom Line

The best way to promote longevity and overall health is to engage in healthy practices like consuming a nutritious diet, engaging in regular exercise and reducing stress.

While some studies suggest that taking certain supplements, hormone replacement or even stem cells may help slow aging, you can't do away with healthy practices as mentioned above. Strategies that are implemented as a combination are better than a single strategy alone.

In real medicine, results are not guaranteed and there are no cure-alls. Real research is published in peer-reviewed journals, and you can search the journals via PubMed or Google Scholar.

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Online Shopping Guide

Before adding a new supplement to your routine, discuss its use with your healthcare provider, especially if you have an underlying health condition or are taking medication.

While many of the anti-aging supplements may be available in your local stores, it may be more convenient or affordable to shop for them online on Amazon (US):
 

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