Anti-aging supplements can help keep you young — depending on when you take them

WATERLOO, Ontario — When’s the best time of day to take an anti-aging supplement? Researchers from the University of Waterloo say the answer depends on your age.

Most people don’t consider growing old a disease, but a simple fact of life. Surprisingly, however, many scientists do believe aging is a disease that can be treated. In 2015, a team of international scientists wrote that it is “time to classify biological aging as a disease.” Since then, even the World Health Organization has taken steps to expand its understanding of the aging process.

The authors of this latest study agree that aging is a disease and say growing old can be slowed by taking certain supplements. Specifically, the two supplements researchers focused on are icotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) and Resveratrol. Both have been studied heavily in recent years due to reports of their metabolic benefits and ability to foster long lifespans among “various organisms.”

The best time for anti-aging supplements differs between young and old

Using a complex mathematical model, researchers conclude young people should take NMN supplements six hours after waking up to get the most benefits. For Resveratrol, the team recommends young people take those supplements at night. Conversely, the study finds older adults should take Resveratrol in the afternoon.

“It’s really important to try and change this wrong paradigm that aging is not treatable,” says researcher Mehrshad Sadria in a university release. “We shouldn’t think like 30 years ago when we thought that once a person gets into their 70s or 80s, they must be lethargic and ailing.”

“We can take these drugs that can extend our lifespan and improve our health. This study is the first step in understanding when is the best time for young people and older folks to take these supplements,” the PhD student adds.

The mathematical model used by study authors was designed to simulate the circadian clock and metabolism of a mouse liver. The model was adjustable and thus capable of simulating a mouse’s liver function at any age.

“The time you eat, what you eat, the time you sleep and the time you exercise are all factors that can affect your body, how you age and how you live,” concludes study co-author Anita Layton, a professor of Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Pharmacy and Biology at Waterloo. “People should be mindful of when they eat and ensure that it coincides with other things in their environment that impact their sleep/wake cycle or body clock, such as exposure to light because if not, it could cause conflict within the body.”

The study appears in the journal iScience.

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