6 supplements a scientist who studies aging swears by

Dr. David Clancy is in his 50s. He’s a biogerontologist — in other words, he studies the science of aging.

That means he knows more than most of us about the vitamins and minerals we should be taking to have a good shot at a long, healthy life.

Naturally, he uses this knowledge to help increase his own odds of doing just that.

Most experts advise it’s best to get the nutrients we need from food sources and leave supplements for deficiencies.

But Dr. Clancey and others like him who work in the anti-aging space may be more willing to supplement — knowing firsthand what may be gained, especially when there is little, if any, risk.

As shared in an interview with Business Insider, Dr. Clancy takes six such supplements daily — some for the benefits he’s familiar with in the realm of scientific research, and others because he knows he has a deficiency — all in the hopes of healthy longevity.

We’ve dug a little deeper to share what we know about them and the research behind their ties to healthy aging…

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Ginkgo biloba

Dr. Clancy has been taking ginkgo biloba supplements for four years since he saw a small study showing that it could help overweight men lose weight, and another study on its potential to support cognitive performance in people with dementia.

“It’s been taken by lots of people throughout history, so I’m willing to throw the dice and give it a shot because it’s not expensive. It can’t really hurt,” says Dr. Clancy.

Considering the longevity and hardiness of this amazing plant species (it’s been around for over 270 million years!) it’s not surprising that it has some hard-to-find health benefits, including stress reduction and protection from neurological diseases.

Its ties to neurological protection include reducing and possibly reversing stroke damage.

Ginkgo is thought to be safe in moderate amounts, if you take blood thinners, NSAIDs (Ibuprofen) or SSRIs (antidepressants like Zoloft and Prozac) check with your doctor first.

Fish oil

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have been linked with several health benefits, but appear especially strong for the brain, blood pressure and the heart.

Some experts feel to get the best results, it’s necessary to consume fatty fish and experience the synergy of all the nutrients they offer.

But when scientists at Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital analyzed three large-scale trials involving more than 120,000 people, they concluded that taking fish oil supplements reduced the risk of heart attacks, death from coronary heart disease and death from cardiovascular disease.

If you get fish burps from fish oil, you might try krill oil.


At 67, I take a 500mg magnesium supplement every day. I know that the older I get, the more likely I am to be magnesium deficient.

Not only do medications interfere with magnesium absorption, but our gut absorbs magnesium less efficiently as we age, while our kidneys excrete more of it.

This leaves us open to diseases that often show up as we age, including diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

You should also be aware that stress, alcohol and refined sugar can keep your body from absorbing magnesium.

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Vitamin B12

Without enough B12, the body cannot make red blood cells, and red blood cells carry oxygen to every part of your body, including your brain.

This is partially why a B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, depression and memory problems. These usually occur when a deficiency has gone undetected for quite a while.

When you’re in your 60s you should officially start getting blood tests to test for vitamin B12 deficiency. Around this age, you should be getting around 2.4 micrograms of B12 a day.

B12 often comes in the form of a sublingual tablet, which is absorbed under the tongue and enters the bloodstream directly without having to go through the gastrointestinal tract.


You’re probably used to seeing young women urged to increase their folate intake to ensure healthy pregnancies and babies.

But folate is needed to keep your nervous system functioning, no matter your age — and, as we age, changes in the body can decrease how well nutrients are absorbed.

There’s growing evidence that folate is involved in mood and cognition in the aging brain. Here are an additional 4 reasons folate helps us age better.

Vitamin D

Most people get vitamin D when their skin is exposed to the sun, because very few foods contain it naturally. But if you don’t get enough sun, have darker skin or are older, you may not get enough from the sun alone, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

A deficiency in D can cause spinal degeneration (especially if you’re a post-menopausal woman), fatigue, mood changes, muscle weakness and cramping and may increase risk for dementia.

Some foods, like cereals, are fortified with vitamin D, but not the form of the vitamin most like what we get from the sun. A study published in the Frontiers of Immunology confirmed significant differences between the two types — vitamin D2 and D3 — with vitamin D2 having a questionable impact on human health.

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I’m a scientist who researches aging. These are the 6 supplements I take daily in the hope I’ll live a long, healthy life. — Business Insider India

Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.