June 6, 2024

longevity supplements medication

Knowing which supplements to take for better health and longevity can be incredibly confusing with so much product availability and differentiation, and conflicting information abounds. It can be difficult to know where to start, even for medical professionals like Dr Tim Pearce who takes several supplements that he believes are beneficial.

In this blog, Dr Tim Pearce sat down on a podcast with cellular ageing scientist and Founder of Nuchido, Dr Nichola Conlon to evaluate and rate his ‘supplement stack’. They discussed the benefits and potential drawbacks of popular choices like creatine, Omega-3 oils, Vitamin D with K2, probiotics, NAC, TMG, turmeric, NMN, collagen, and multivitamins. Dr Nichola emphasises the importance of addressing the root causes of ageing, why and how body systems slow down the production of some core components and offers insights into optimising supplement strategies for better health outcomes.

Learn how to introduce longevity to your aesthetics clinic with a new eLearning course from Dr Tim Pearce, with insight from leading longevity experts: Dr Simisola Elizabeth Oke, Dr Nichola Conlon, and Nurse Chelsey Brown.

Rate my stack (of longevity supplements)

Dr Tim takes a range of supplements to help reverse his biological age, hoping they will help him live a longer and healthier life, but is he getting it right? He reveals his ‘supplement stack’ so that Dr Nicola can be the judge, rate them, and tell him what he is doing right and what he is doing wrong.

Creatine

Creatine has been a popular supplement for many years, especially for those who train in the gym, perform bodybuilding, and seek muscle growth. Dr Nichola also takes this supplement. She explained there is now more evidence to support it as a beneficial supplement for longevity, making it a good supplement.

Score: 9/10

Omega-3 Oils

Dr Nichola is a big fan and takes this supplement. She explained that the Omegas (Omega-3 and Omega-6) are very good for combating inflammation (a hallmark of ageing). They can help to decrease triglyceride levels associated with cardiovascular disease; the incidence of which increases with age, and can also boost HDL (High-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels, the good fat in your body.

Try to avoid an imbalance between your levels of Omega-6 compared to Omega-3, i.e. Omega-6 should not be higher than Omega-3. If you eat a diet rich in oils, you should not be deficient in Omega-3, but many people are lacking. Citing her blood test results, she discovered that her levels of Omega-3 were lower than they should be. Therefore, it is certainly something worth boosting with a supplement in addition to your diet.

A top tip is to look at the back of the supplement bottle to ensure it mentions the EPA and the DHA content to indicate the important fatty acids within the Omega-3 supplement product. For example, taking a cod liver oil supplement would not score so highly, because it will be less beneficial and will not carry the same high EPA and DHA present in an Omega-3 supplement.

Score: 10/10

Vitamin D3 & K2

Vitamin D is a high-scoring supplement, according to Dr Nichola, because many people are deficient in it, especially those living in the UK where we do not get significant year-round sunlight exposure. She explained to Dr Tim that if he was taking it as a single supplement, she would reduce the score to eight out of ten. Combining Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2 makes this a much more beneficial supplement.

These supplements should always be paired together because Vitamin D mobilises calcium stores and the calcium in your blood. If you take high doses of Vitamin D, you do not want to be mobilising calcium which can be deposited erroneously in your arteries, for example, rather than in your bones. Vitamin K acts as a signaller telling Vitamin D where to put the calcium, making it vital the two are paired together in a supplement. Dr Tim pointed out that this is a relatively new understanding but with very few formulations available that combine the two vitamins, leading many people to either take them individually or be unaware of the need to do so, which could be dangerous if they are taking high doses for immune health, as was common during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Nichola also highlighted the importance of taking Vitamin D in line with the natural daylight or sunshine hours, when Vitamin D is naturally produced. Therefore, take the supplement in the morning, not at night, when it may interfere with your circadian rhythm, melatonin release, and sleep cycles. Vitamin D levels and a deficiency can easily be checked with a blood test and supplement dosing adjusted accordingly.

Score: 10/10

Saccharomyces boulardii (friendly bacteria)

Saccharomyces or S. Boulardii is a probiotic supplement. Dr Nichola noted that incorporating new strains of bacteria into your gut microbiome by taking pre- and probiotics is a good thing because gut microbiome diversity is associated with better longevity and less inflammation. However, to get the best from these types of supplements, they should contain more than one strain of bacteria, she concluded. Similarly, diet is very important, she agreed that you can take supplements to try and promote good gut health by introducing different species of bacteria to your gut microbiome, but the bacteria need to be able to live and survive in the environment created by your diet which means eating more fibre etc.

Score: 7/10

Learn more about the role of bacteria in our diet and our gut microbiome and why you don’t need 3 meals a day to slow down ageing.

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and Glycine, GlyNAC

Dr Tim explained that he normally takes an N-acetyl cysteine or NAC supplement alongside glycine as a GlyNAC supplement. Dr Nichola is also keen on this supplement, however, she noted that she would not give it top marks yet because, despite human studies that show that this combination helps with longevity, more evidence is still required.

N-acetyl cysteine is the precursor to glutathione, which is the master antioxidant in the body.

Glutathione switches on many pathways that enable our body to manage excess stress in the form of free radicals. Glycine is also used in part of the cycle that produces glutathione. Dr Tim raised his understanding that this supplement is more beneficial to the over 45s when glutathione levels begin to drop. Dr Nichola concurred and noted that another reason to take a GlyNAC supplement as a precursor (providing the body with the building blocks for restoring glutathione) rather than a glutathione supplement itself is because the latter is poorly absorbed by the body, having no bioavailability when taken orally.

Score: 9/10

Trimethylglycine (TMG)

Trimethylglycine (TMG) is a glycine molecule with three methyl groups attached. Dr Nichola explained that TMG may be a supplement that is not needed for many people; if you do not have any issues with methylation, there is no reason to be taking TMG.

The main reasons people take TMG are either they have done genetic tests which have shown that their body is predisposed to having fewer methyl groups – methyl groups are important for epigenetics – or they are taking another supplement, e.g., NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) precursors and have heard that they should take TMG as well to counter some of the negative consequences. Dr Nichola pointed out that this immediately raises alarm bells for her.

If you take a NAD precursor, studies have shown that it can lead to methyl donor depletion and that is why many people pair TMG with other NAD-precursor supplements like NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) or NR (nicotinamide riboside). When taking the supplement, you are loading the cell with the NAD precursor and making more NAD; if the NAD is being used and broken down, it gets broken down into a precursor called nicotinamide. In young cells, this nicotinamide would usually be recycled straight back into NAD again, but, in older cells, we know that this recycling pathway becomes dysfunctional, thus, the nicotinamide builds up in the cell, and it tries to expel it. Cells remove nicotinamide by sticking a methyl group on it and excreting it. Hence, the rationale for taking TMG alongside a NAD precursor supplement is to avoid depleting your methyl groups by unnecessarily having to deal with a large build-up of nicotinamide. There is a chance you are doing more harm than good. Dr Nichola concluded that by taking a NAD precursor in the first place, you are ignoring the reason why NAD has gone down, which is a more important consideration.

Score: 5/10

Tumeric (Curcumin)

Although turmeric is a good option, Dr Nichola rated this supplement quite low because it is not very bioavailable. Turmeric contains powerful compounds, but you would have to take a lot of turmeric to get the right amount of the main active ingredient – curcumin – at a level of absorption that achieves a benefit, despite the addition of black pepper which is claimed to help with curcumin absorption.

Curcumin has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Dr Nichola suggested that a pure curcumin supplement with black pepper would be a better option. Similarly, newer products are becoming available that have extracted the most potent parts of the curcuminoids and employ different formulations to increase bioavailability and absorption. If you still wish to take turmeric for its additional beneficial molecules, she recommends adding it to your food.

Score: 2/10

NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide)

Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a precursor used to boost levels of NAD. According to Dr Nichola, the latest science shows that although NMN does boost NAD levels, it is not the most efficient way to boost NAD because it completely ignores why NAD declines.

In the analogy of an NAD-producing factory, the decline in NAD production is due to broken machinery or damaged cellular processes. Simply adding more raw material (NMN) to produce NAD is ineffective because the root cause is not addressed – the decline in NAD is primarily due to issues with recycling it, not a shortage of raw materials.

There are also debates amongst scientists about whether NMN even effectively enters cells to be converted into NAD. Assuming it does, without functional recycling pathways, used NAD accumulates as nicotinamide, which the body tries to excrete by using methyl groups. This process depletes methyl donors, essential for DNA repair and epigenetic regulation, leading to additional problems. Clinical studies have shown that merely increasing NMN precursors raises NAD levels only temporarily. Eventually, NAD levels plateau regardless of the increased precursor dosage, while methyl nicotinamide levels continue to rise, indicating the body’s struggle to excrete the excess precursor. We must address the underlying issues of NAD recycling rather than just supplementing NAD precursors. Science has evolved and we now know why NAD declines and there are ways to fix it, Dr Nichola concluded.

Score: 2/10

Collagen (100% pure bovine collagen peptides)

Collagen supplementation is dose-dependent, noted Dr Nichola, requiring a high daily dose. She admitted being very sceptical of collagen in the past because although the gut will likely break it down and absorb some of the amino acids and peptides, how do you know it is doing to get to where we need it? However, she cited a study that used radio-labelled amino acids and collagen peptides; it demonstrated that you could track and trace where they were going, resulting in beneficial integration within body tissue. This changed her opinion a little bit. However, she still errs on the side of the blind faith aspect that comes with this supplementation, suggesting that a better strategy may be to improve your cellular health so your cells can be stimulated to optimally produce new collagen.

Score: 5/10

Athletic Greens (multivitamins and prebiotics) 

Dr Nichola believes this product is expensive and does not take it, Dr Tim also admitted that cost was a dissuading factor for him, but he no longer takes this supplement due to the bowel upsetting side effects caused, he believes, by the prebiotics. She noted that if you have a good diet, with plenty of leafy greens, you can get many different beneficial ingredients and botanicals from your diet. For someone with a poor diet and no plan or time to improve it, looking for a convenient option, this may be a good solution or quick win to try and get some of the beneficial vitamins and minerals into their bodies. But, she recommended trying to get the molecules from their natural forms which is better for absorption and bioavailability.

Score: 5/10

Nuchido Time+

As CEO of the company behind this supplement, Dr Nichola pointed out that it would be unfair to rate it, due to her obvious bias, but Dr Tim was keen to discuss the evolution of the product and how it works.

For many, the goal of taking NAD-boosting supplements is to increase NAD levels for health benefits. Initially, people tried taking pure NAD capsules, but this proved ineffective due to NAD’s instability and lack of oral bioavailability. The next approach was to use precursors like NMN or NR, which the body converts into NAD. However, research revealed that NAD decline is due to increased NAD consumption due to inflammation and repair needs, and a reduced capacity to produce and recycle NAD as we age. Our cells use the salvage pathway to make and recycle NAD, but this pathway weakens over time. Simply taking a precursor supplement does not address the impaired recycling or the increased demand for NAD. As mentioned, this can lead to other issues, such as methylation problems, because the body tries to excrete excess precursors by using up methyl groups, which are vital for other cellular functions. Therefore, boosting NAD effectively requires addressing these underlying ‘broken machinery’ issues, not just supplementing with more precursors or raw materials.

When Dr Nichola came into this field and looked at the science surrounding NAD, she realised quickly that many strategies and supplements people were taking to boost NAD did not make scientific sense. It makes much more sense to fix the root causes of NAD decline, and her second-generation NAD booster supplement, Time+ is designed to do just that. It goes beyond using a NAD precursor by including multiple different ingredients that act to repair parts of the broken ‘NAD factory’. Our bodies were very good at making NAD when we were young and have only become dysfunctional due to ageing, so rather than ignore the problems, her goal is to restore function to that earlier time.

The Nuchido Time+ supplement does contain a NAD precursor but uses nicotinamide and not NMN or NR because nicotinamide is the body’s preferred precursor to naturally make NAD through the salvage pathway. Nicotinamide is also freely diffusable across cell membranes meaning that it can enter every single cell, whereas NR and NMN are restricted to entering cells that have the correct channel to let them in and therefore cannot get into every cell in the body. Time+ also contains ingredients that focus on ‘fixing’ the mechanisms by switching back on the salvage pathway, for example by activating an enzyme called NAMPT (nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase) which is the enzyme that drives NAD recycling.

Similarly, Dr Nichola explained that it is vital to consider the reasons behind NAD draining. Inflammation causes a huge drain on NAD supplies because of a protein called CD38 that gets expressed as we get older; it uses huge amounts of NAD to drive inflammation. Chronic inflammation is terrible when it comes to ageing and if you are trying to boost NAD with a precursor or using intravenous (IV) NAD you are giving CD38 its fuel to drive further inflammation. Hence, we must inhibit this inflammatory protein and Nuchido Time+ contains ingredients which do so, ensuring that any boosted NAD is not being wasted, driving inflammation, but is going towards beneficial repair processes.

Having already discussed methylation issues with NAD supplementation, Dr Nichola reaffirmed that if the recycling process is happening all the precursors will be recycled so there will not be a build-up in the cell and they will not need to be methylated and excreted. Her supplement includes an ingredient that inhibits a particular methylation enzyme to promote recycling rather than excretion from the cell.

The Nuchido Time+ supplement therefore provides a whole system approach.

What to consider when shopping for nutritional supplements

When choosing supplements, Dr Nichola advised that it is crucial to check if they have undergone clinical trials. Many products make bold claims without any scientific evidence to back them up. Look for products that have been tested specifically in their marketed formulation. Often, supplements sell a compelling story but lack the effective compounds demonstrated in studies. Additionally, many plant-derived molecules are more effective when consumed in their natural plant form, allowing the body to absorb them better. There is a significant difference between laboratory results (e.g., studies on cells in Petri dishes) and human trials, where the compound must navigate the digestive system, liver metabolism, and bloodstream to reach the cells. Companies that manufacture supplements are not legally required to conduct studies, so be vigilant about this when selecting products, she warned.

Catch up with more discussions on longevity and ageing as a disease, and reversing biological age and mitochondrial dysfunction: disease, cellular ageing, longevity & aesthetics.

Do not get left behind, become an anti-ageing specialist and learn how to introduce longevity to your aesthetics clinic with Dr Tim’s new eLearning course.

If you have any questions or want to see additional insight, you can find Dr Tim Pearce on Instagram and follow Dr Nichola Conlon on Instagram. If you want to buy the Nuchido Time+ supplement, you can get a discount using the code DRTIM20 at https://nuchido.com.

Aesthetics Mastery Show

The BEST & WORST supplements that SLOW aging. Why some supplements are pointless

Dr Tim says:

“Knowing which supplements to take can be confusing with so much conflicting information out there. That’s why I sat down with longevity expert Dr. Nicola Conlon to cut through the noise. In this episode, Dr. Conlon evaluates and rates my supplement stack, discussing the benefits and potential drawbacks of popular choices like creatine, Omega-3 oils, Vitamin D with K2, probiotics, NAC, TMG, turmeric, NMN, collagen, nitric oxide lozenges, and multivitamins. She emphasises the importance of addressing the root causes of aging and offers insights into optimising supplement strategies for better health outcomes.”

Watch the full Aesthetics Mastery Show here.

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Dr Tim Pearce eLearning

Dr Tim Pearce MBChB BSc (Hons) MRCGP founded his eLearning concept in 2016 in order to provide readily accessible BOTOX® and dermal filler online courses for fellow Medical Aesthetics practitioners. His objective was to raise standards within the industry – a principle which remains just as relevant today.

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