We’re all looking for ways to optimize our health, keeping us happy and moving. What we don’t want, however, is a fatty liver. Keeping our livers healthy and functioning properly is paramount, as this powerhouse organ, our body’s second-largest organ, is one that works 24 hours a day. Our livers are responsible for over 500 biological functions such as detoxification, energy storage and creation, and processing nutrients, processes all we put into our body, helps fight infections, cleanses our blood, and converts carbohydrates, proteins and fats into the energy we need on a daily basis. Speaking of fats, there are
It’s not surprising that our health focus changes as we age. Cellular aging (ongoing cell division) combined with environmental exposures, genetics and diet and lifestyle choices, all play a role in health outcomes, how we feel and even our appearance.
You might notice physical changes after having children or just with time. Your body might look and work great at 30 but at 35+ it’s not uncommon to notice that smile and laugh lines are more prominent. Skin texture can change, hair can become thinner. Our joints might start making more creaking and cracking sounds as we move. And our recovery from exercise, illness and even partying isn’t what it was in our teens and 20s.
This is also a time in our life where we can get ahead of chronic disease development and take care of things like hormone regulation, blood pressure and blood sugar/insulin regulation. Along with diet and lifestyle changes, supplements are often used in adulthood to address:
- Skin, hair and nail health
- Cardiovascular health
- Blood sugar and insulin regulation
- Muscle and joint aches and/or stiffness
- Weight management
It’s important to note that many of these systems influence other areas of health. For example, health of the arteries can impact brain health (blood flow to the brain), fertility (blood flow to the uterus and creation of new blood vessels for the placenta), and heart health (arteries also feed fresh oxygenated blood to the heart muscle). Therefore, some supplements can address multiple health concerns at the same time.
Common Supplements for Your 30s
Collagen is a great little helper in our 30s and 40s for the health of our hair, skin and connective tissue. Collagen itself is a protein that maintains the strength and elasticity in these tissues. As well, many studies have found improvements in joint pain in adults that are physically active when supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen.
There are different types of collagen fibers depending on your area of focus. Marine collagen is composed of type I collagen and is often used for skin health and may improve skin texture, elasticity and skin moisture. Bovine collagen, composed of type I and III collagens, can be used for skin but also for muscle recovery.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish or Algae)
Omega-3 fatty acids, which include EPA and DHA are well known for their anti-inflammatory actions and play major roles in the health and function of the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
These helpful lipids are used to maintain and increase healthy cholesterol levels, which are used in all of our cell membranes, and are the backbones for making steroid hormones like cortisol, estrogen and testosterone.
Omega-3 fatty acids also have a major role in the function of the brain. DHA is the key omega-3 in pregnancy and postpartum that supports fetal brain development and function, as well as maternal cognitive function and mood (since baby will steal mom’s DHA). Therefore, marine or algae sources of omega-3s can provide support pre-conception, during pregnancy and postpartum, and for general inflammation.
Most North Americans, notably Canadians, have deficient or sub-optimal vitamin D levels. Our decreased exposure to sunlight plays a factor, but so do our genetics. Certain genetic variations in vitamin D enzymes prevent the conversion of the vitamin D from sunlight into its active form in the body. This makes vitamin D a critical nutrient to supplement with if blood levels are low.
Vitamin D is more than just a nutrient to help prevent the “winter blues”. Its receptors are found all over the body! Contributing multiple hormonal and immune system effects, in addition to its role in calcium absorption in bone, it helps protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even certain cancers as it has anti-tumor properties.
Probiotics are bacteria strains that provide a health benefit when ingested. Because there are so many different strains, there are many effects that can be linked to their use. Most well-known are the effects on digestion. Those with constipation, diarrhea, gas and/or bloating often notice that symptoms improve when the gut is occupied by beneficial bacteria. Our gut bacteria also process and provide nutrients from the foods we ingest.
Probiotics, when taken orally, can even affect other microbiomes in our body such as the oral microbiome, our skin microbiome, the vaginal microbiome and even the microbiomes of semen and the uterus. Not only are these important for reproduction, but they influence the recurrence of urinary tract infections and vaginal infections. Meanwhile, the bacteria on our skin affects the occurrence of acne, and eczema and rashes.
The gut-brain axis – the connection of the gut to the nervous system – is also affected as gut bacteria interact with multiple pathways affecting immune regulation, neurotransmitter production and can even stress responses. Probiotics have been used for anxiety, stress and in major depressive disorder.
Calcium and Magnesium
These two minerals belong together as there are many applications where they have complementary effects. In addition to being key minerals in bone health and the prevention of fractures and osteoporosis, they are used in muscle tissue and in the cardiovascular system. Magnesium is required for hundreds of different cellular processes and notably protects blood vessels and arteries.
Common uses for magnesium and calcium include menstrual cramps, migraines, muscle aches and cramping, high blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia. Magnesium is also a co-factor in multiple detoxification pathways in the liver.
Due to declining mineral content in our growing soils and therefore food sources, it can be difficult to obtain adequate amounts of magnesium from food alone and some supplementation can be beneficial. One study has even suggested that supplementation in adults aged 18 to 30 years may lower the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. And in pregnancy, requirements also increase to accommodate fetal bone growth while preventing leg muscle cramping in pregnant mothers.
Taking control of your health in your 30s will set you up for better health outcomes in the decades to come. It’s important to take this time to address your diet and lifestyle choices, but this is also a good time to make sure your nutrient and supplement intake addresses your needs.