Supplements and your middle-age health

At ThirtyFiveSixtyFour, we’re not registered nutritionists or health professionals, but we are deeply invested in taking charge of our health. Founder, Karen Stones, and podcast regular, Megan Steen, recently discussed the things they do to monitor and improve their overall health. As we age, many of us look for ways to turn back the hands of time. But often, even when we do all the right things – stay hydrated, eat lean meats (or no meat) and plenty of fruits and vegetables, get plenty of rest and exercise – it still isn’t enough to fend off the effects of aging. So, we turn to supplements to help our bodies stay strong and young.

But where do we start and how do we know if we’re doing the right things for our health?

Get a baseline evaluation of your health

Is your blood pressure or cholesterol creeping up as you hit your late 50s, early 60s?  Are you looking to improve your chances of getting pregnant, so you want to improve your reproductive health? Do you want to reduce your chances of getting a familial health condition? Where do you start?

To get the most out of your health routine, you should understand the current state of your body’s inner health. There are companies like Inside Tracker, which Megan uses, that will do a full blood workup, provide the results including any potential trouble spots, and then help you identify the best foods, supplements and other health strategies that will help you achieve and maintain optimal health. While this can be an expensive proposition, it can provide you with actionable steps towards a better you. 

Of course, you can always go to your primary care physician for a complete physical including a full blood workup to understand the starting point of your supplement journey. Then, discuss with your doctor the steps you need to take to improve your overall health. Or get a referral to a dietitian or nutritionist for in-depth plans on improving your health.

Start with a gut check

Feeling bloated? Gassy? Maybe your gut health needs some TLC. Health starts from the inside. So, if your gut health is good, most of the rest of you will feel good. Consider starting your supplement plan with improving gut health.

But wait! What exactly does “gut” refer to? Your gut is more than just your stomach. It refers to your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and includes all the parts of your body that process food – from your mouth to your rectum. Your gut breaks down food, absorbs nutrients and excretes waste.  “Gut health” refers to the levels and types of bacteria in your GI tract. The right levels result in good gut health. If the types and levels of bacteria in your gut are out of whack – too high or too low – you’ll feel gassy, bloated, backed up.

Ways to naturally improve gut health include:

  • eating a high-fiber diet that includes a wide range of foods
  • limiting ultra-processed foods
  • drinking lots of water
  • eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha, etc.
  • including foods rich in polyphenols
  • eating more slowly, i.e., thoroughly chewing your food so it’s more easily digested
  • getting regular exercise and enough rest and sleep

If these natural steps aren’t enough, there are a variety of supplements you can try for improving gut health. Karen likes a regular shot of Kombucha. Megan swears by Gingerberry by Synergy.  Other options include prebiotics (carbs the body can’t digest ), probiotics (beneficial bacteria that help the gut function properly), L-glutamine, curcumin, collagen, and more.

Improve hair, skin, nails, joints

As we age, one of our body’s biological building blocks that begins to diminish is collagen. Collagen is produced when your body combines vitamin C, zinc and copper. It helps feed your skin, hair, nails, cartilage and bones. So, as the naturally produced collagen in our bodies diminishes, our skin loses elasticity, our hair thins, our nails become more brittle and our joints creak. Research suggests that collagen supplements can help restore some of the balance and slow the effects of aging.

But as with any supplement, it’s important to know possible side effects or risks.  Most collagen supplements are derived from animal sources, which can be harder for the human body to absorb. Thus, while you may see improvements in your skin, hair, nails and joints, you may benefit more from a plant-sourced collagen product. Another caveat is that the kidneys are responsible for disposing of a major collagen amino acid, hydroxyproline. If you’re prone to kidney stones, you should discuss you’re your doctor or nutritionist whether or not a collagen supplement is a good idea for you.

Balance energy, mood, sleep

Proper nutrition and adequate rest are essential to maintaining strong energy and stable moods. Vitamin B complex is a great all-around supplement. It can help boost energy levels, improve mood, lower stress levels and reduce mental fatigue. It even can improve heart health by reducing a damaging amino acid called homocysteine.  For those of you who don’t like the side effects of iron supplements, B-complex can help anemia by boosting folate and Vitamin B12.

Restful sleep is harder to get these days with so much going on around us. But good sleep is essential to maintaining your health. Magnesium is a natural supplement that not only helps with gut and joint health, but it can also function as a sleep aid. Magnesium may help you sleep by relaxing muscles, reducing anxiety and depression, and calming your central nervous system. Melatonin is also a natural sleep aid, but it works differently than magnesium. It helps regulate your circadian rhythm so it’s more beneficial to those whose circadian rhythm is disrupted by irregular working hours – night shift, swing shift, new moms and dads.  

Do what works for you

Your health is important.  You want to be around for the graduations, weddings, birthday parties, summer vacations, winter ski trips, even just being at home with your loved ones for as long as you can. So, it’s worth investing time, energy and money into figuring out what works to help you live your best life. Find supplements that taste good and work well for you. Work out a regimen that you can stick to over time. It’s not a competition to see who can take the most or the fewest supplements. It’s a personal journey to your own wellness.

Be well friends.

  • Mary Cook

    Mary Cook, also known as “MC” and “Mother Mary,” is heralded as one of the world’s few content whisperers. She is the creative force and Marcom Director at ThirtyFiveSixtyFour. Armed with a degree in English from UCLA, Mary is not just your average wordsmith—she’s a grammar nerd with a penchant for storytelling that captivates and resonates.

    Born into a big, close-knit family with seven siblings, Mary is committed to keeping family connections and gatherings alive with boisterous fun and games. Mary brings a lot of energy to everything she does. She’s as dedicated to her role as Marcom Director as she is to her role as favorite auntie to her 22 crazy, loving nieces and nephews.

    A life-long athlete, Mary’s passion for sports has transformed into a love for the adrenaline rush. When she’s not weaving words for our podcasts, you’ll find her carving waves on a jet ski or navigating desert trails in her RZR. Mary’s adventurous spirit is as diverse as her ability to craft compelling narratives for our audience.

    In a world that often craves attention, Mary thrives behind the scenes. Her meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence are the driving forces that elevate our Marcom strategy. As the wordsmith-in-chief, Mary ensures that every piece of communication reflects the essence of ThirtyFiveSixtyFour.

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About the Author

Mary Cook, also known as “MC” and “Mother Mary,” is heralded as one of the world’s few content whisperers. She is the creative force and Marcom Director at ThirtyFiveSixtyFour. Armed with a degree in English from UCLA, Mary is not just your average wordsmith—she’s a grammar nerd with a penchant for storytelling that captivates and resonates.

Born into a big, close-knit family with seven siblings, Mary is committed to keeping family connections and gatherings alive with boisterous fun and games. Mary brings a lot of energy to everything she does. She’s as dedicated to her role as Marcom Director as she is to her role as favorite auntie to her 22 crazy, loving nieces and nephews.

A life-long athlete, Mary’s passion for sports has transformed into a love for the adrenaline rush. When she’s not weaving words for our podcasts, you’ll find her carving waves on a jet ski or navigating desert trails in her RZR. Mary’s adventurous spirit is as diverse as her ability to craft compelling narratives for our audience.

In a world that often craves attention, Mary thrives behind the scenes. Her meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence are the driving forces that elevate our Marcom strategy. As the wordsmith-in-chief, Mary ensures that every piece of communication reflects the essence of ThirtyFiveSixtyFour.