Ageing is inevitable, but investing in our health throughout our lifespan can help combat some of the negative aspects of getting older. Much like a pension, if you start investing early you will reap the rewards later in life.
It's never too early to start investing and there are key points in life where you can top up your investment and capitalise on a longer, healthier lifespan.

Select a period in life to find out the risk factors of each age group and the areas in which you should consider investing.

0-15 Years Old

It’s important to look after your health from a young age. If you are a parent, there are several measures you can take to invest in your child’s future.

Essential fatty acids, especially the long-chain omega-3s (DHA, EPA) are important for brain and eye development. Deficiency has been linked with learning and behavioural problems. Interestingly, boys seem to have a higher essential acid requirement than girls and are more likely to develop conditions associated with deficiency, such as dyslexia, poor co-ordination and hyperactivity.

The Food Standards Agency recommend at least one portion, and up to four portions of oily fish a week for boys, but it’s best for girls to have no more than two portions a week to protect their future offspring from pollutants1.

Mental and physical development can also be affected by a lack of vitamins and minerals. For this reason, a healthy diet including at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, as well as sources of calcium are vital.

The FSA recommends that all children aged 6 months to five years are given a vitamin supplement containing vitamins A, C and D every day2.

Where to invest?

  • Omega-3 fish oils (distilled to remove pollutants) are a good alternative to fresh fish for fussy eaters.
  • A multivitamin and mineral designed for this age group, as recommended by the FSA.

1 http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/fish-shellfish
2 http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/vitamins-for-children


Did you know?

Overall, more boys are born than girls — there are, on average, 105 boys for every 100 girls — and baby girls are 20% more likely to survive infancy.

16-26 Years Old

Did you know?
An 18-year old man has an 80% chance of surviving to the age of 65, versus a woman who has an 88% chance.

Youth, the years when we feel immortal. During this period of life, we feel great but investment in our health is typically at an all-time low.

During this period in life people are more likely to take risks with their health, such as smoking. Smoking is a significant cause of death from cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung diseases — we therefore have a responsibility to persuade teenagers not to take up the habit.

UK teenagers also have one of the highest levels of drunkenness and alcohol-related problems in Europe. When going to university, the nutritional quality of the diet is likely to deteriorate. Acne, migraines, mood swings, anxiety and depression are all associated with adolescence.

As women emerge from adolescence, at the age of 24 they start to worry about wrinkles – the first visible signs of ageing. In fact, looking ahead, women age 25% faster between the ages of 40 and 50 than men, and women aged 45 have 40% more wrinkles than men of the same age.

Where to invest?

  • A multivitamin and mineral designed for this age group is advisable a many adolescents fail to achieve a balanced diet.
  • Antioxidants are advisable for those that smoke.
  • Milk thistle and globe artichoke help with liver support and are a good additional supplement for people who drink regularly.
  • Glucosamine, chondroitin and/or MSM supplements can aid the recovery of sports injuries.

26-35 Years Old

One in five men regularly binge drink, which is defined as consuming at least eight units of alcohol in one session (more than twice the recommended daily maximum for men). Men aged between 25 and 35 are most likely to drink solely to get drunk.

Prolonged drinking of this nature will inevitably lead to chronic liver disease. It can also lead to high blood pressure and sudden death due to abnormal heart rhythms.

At this stage in life many people start planning a family. For women, it’s important to take folic acid supplements as this nutrient is vital during early pregnancy – often before you are even aware you are pregnant.

For men, a healthy diet and lifestyle will help to improve fertility – taking antioxidant supplements has been shown to improve sperm quality.

It’s also important to try not to burn the candle at both ends – take time out for rest, relaxation and sleep.

Where to invest?

  • A multivitamin and mineral designed for this age group.
  • Antioxidants for those that smoke.
  • Milk thistle and globe artichoke for liver support if drinking regularly.
  • 5HTP for low mood (but seek advice from your doctor if you have depression).
  • Glucosamine, chondroitin and/or MSM for sports injuries as one in five males regularly playing sports will have experienced a recent sports injury.
  • Always wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least SPF15 when going outdoors.
  • Evening primrose oil supplements can decrease fine lines and wrinkles, improve hydration and reduce signs of ageing.

36-45 Years Old

Did you know?
The typical middle age man doesn’t take light to moderate exercise and as many as 60% of men are totally inactive.

Body work: Only 35% of men are within the healthy weight range for their height: 24% of men are obese, and another 41% are overweight.

Performance: Only 40% of men meet the recommended level of physical activity – at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity at least five times a week.

Fuel: Only 27% of men eat 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

Oil: An estimated 32% of men drink harmful levels of alcohol.

By middle age the signs of ageing are starting to show and the choices we made in our 20's are starting to affect our health and wellbeing.

Between the ages of 36-45 it is common for people to start putting on weight, due to the dreaded middle-age spread. This is partly because at this point our metabolism slows down and we burn less calories overall.

To help maintain a healthy weight:

  • Keep active: use a pedometer and aim to take at least 7,000 steps a day, ideally reaching the magic 10,000 steps a day.
  • Eat smaller portions.
  • Make healthier choices and swaps.
  • Cut back on sugars and carbohydrates and eat more protein (which is filling), fruit and vegetables.

During this stage in life, men are notorious for taking better care of their car than they do their own body. They tend not to go for routine check-ups, despite taking their motor for a regular service, and put off seeking help for persistent aches, pains or lumps — the equivalent of strange noises under the bonnet. In fact, males often only see their doctor if told to by a female partner or relative.

Diabetes becomes more common in middle age, especially the form known as type-2 diabetes in which the body continues to make some insulin hormone, but cells no longer respond to it properly.

People with diabetes in the family are two to six times more likely to have diabetes than people without diabetes in the family If you have a family history of diabetes, have your urine screened every year by your practice nurse3.

While you may inherit the tendency towards diabetes, a trigger such as poor diet or obesity is needed for the condition to develop. By keeping your weight down, you can help to reduce your risk.

From middle age onwards, your body makes less co-enzyme Q10 – a vitamin like substance needed for energy production in cells. Taking a statin drug also suppresses the natural production of co-enzyme Q10.

Where to invest?

  • A multivitamin and mineral designed for this age group.
  • Chromium for those who are worried about developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Co-enzyme Q10 to replenish falling levels.
  • Adopting a regular exercise regime and healthy lifestyle at this point in life can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in people who are at high-risk by as much as 58%.
  • Antioxidants to fight against free radicals.

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Documents/Position%20statements/DiabetesUK_Facts_Stats_Oct16.pdf

46-55 Years Old

By this point, middle-age spread is likely to worsen. If you haven’t tackled those excess pounds yet, do so now, before it becomes more difficult later in life.

The average age a woman will go through the menopause is 51. Because of changing hormone levels, one in three women over age 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will one in five men aged over 50.

By the time we reach our mid 40's we are most at risk of developing arthritis, and it is more important than ever to exercise regularly and avoid smoking.

By this stage in life many people are:

  • Snoring enough to disturb their own sleep.
  • No longer have all their own teeth.
  • Half of men have significant male pattern baldness.

Death rates from coronary heart disease are falling faster in this age group than in any other throughout the UK. However, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in which the number of prostate cells increase and the gland enlarges affects 14% of men in their 40s.

Another unfortunate effect of ageing is reduced acid secretion, which affects digestion and reduces the body’s ability to absorb nutrients - this occurs in 19% of 50 year olds – making it harder to get all the things our bodies need from our diet.

Where to invest?

  • Regular weight-bearing exercise, such as aerobics, can strengthen bones so they’re less likely to thin below the level at which fractures occur in later life.
  • Ensure a good intake of calcium (dairy products, eggs, green leafy vegetables, whole-grains, nuts and seeds) to support bone health.
  • Obtain vitamin D from sensible exposure to sunlight as well as your diet, including oily fish, liver, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals.
  • Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of fractures by as much as 30%.
  • Checkups are particularly important at this stage in live. You may not be a regular visitor to your GP and feel in fine health, but if you haven’t had your blood pressure or your urine checked for sugar in the last year or two, do so now.
  • Isoflavones provide a skin-moistening anti-ageing oestrogen boost after the menopause.
  • Magnesium flakes added to your bath can aid relaxation and sleep

Did you know?
Genetic factors account for 50% – 90% of bone density. People with a parent who has experienced an osteoporotic fracture are two to three times more likely to suffer a similar fracture4. 4https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/osteoporosis/osteoporosis_hoh.asp#5

56-65 Years Old

Did you know?
10% to 15% of over 60's have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

On average, people in the UK have one of the highest cholesterol levels in the world. The average age of heart attack for men is 66.5 years old and the average age of heart attack for women 73.9 years old. But in better news, the average life expectancy in the UK is 81.5 years old.

Osteoporosis – a degenerative bone disease associated with the wear, tear and repair of cartilage in mobile joints – is a common aliment, particularly for women post menopause. It affects one-tenth of women aged 60, one-fifth of women aged 70, two-fifths of women aged 80 and two-thirds of women aged 90.

One in two people over the age of 60 has X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis Although it is not an inevitable part of ageing, it’s important to look after your joints especially if:

  • Arthritis runs in your family.
  • You are over weight.
  • You take little exercise.
  • Work or exercise involves repetitive movements of a joint.
  • You feel the need to stretch your back or crack your joints every day.
  • You notice creakiness in one or more joints.
  • Your joints are becoming less flexible, are swelling, changing shape or aching (especially after exercise).

As you get older, it’s important to have regular medical check ups as the risk of many conditions increases with age, including high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

Attend screening invitations and have your blood pressure checked regularly. Your sleep pattern may be changing, so you spend less time in really deep sleep and need less sleep overall. You may experience falling energy levels, as your cell’s production of co-enzyme Q10 reduces.

Where to invest?

  • Eat foods rich in B vitamins, such as fish and eggs, or consider taking a supplement.
  • Heart friendly supplements include garlic, omega-3 fish oils and antioxidants.
  • Consider taking glucosamine and chondroitin to support your joints. Other joint-friendly supplements include collagen, krill oil, cod liver oil, rosehip, turmeric, Devil’s claw, bromelain, green-lipped mussel extracts, celadrin and MSM. Rub-in treatments such as glucosamine gel are also beneficial.
  • Co-enzyme Q10 supplements can help to improve cell function and boost energy levels.
  • Add a 5-HTP supplement to your routine can help aid sleep.

66+ Years Old

Most people aged 65 or over have some degree of cataracts and one in five people aged 75 and over are living with sight loss. Nearly two thirds of people living with sight loss are women! It’s important to maintain regular eye tests, every two years unless advised differently by your eye doctor.

Death rates from coronary heart disease are falling throughout the UK, but coronary heart disease is still the second biggest killer in this age group. The biggest killer remains cancer, however, including that of the bowel.

Undiagnosed high blood pressure is very common if this age group. If you have not had your blood pressure checked in the last year or two, see your doctor.

Age-related, benign senile forgetfulness is normal but some studies show that women have a higher risk for Alzheimer's disease than men, especially if they have lower levels of oestrogen. If your mother has poor memory you may have an increased risk of memory problems yourself, although this is not inevitable.

Absorption of vitamins and minerals is often reduced due to changes in production of intestinal secretions. Supplements aimed for those in this age group usually take this into account and supply two or three times the level of affected micronutrients as those designed for people under the age of 50.

What to invest in?

  • By this stage in life it’s important to continue to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle, including at least five servings of fruit, vegetables and salad stuff per day.
  • Regular brisk exercise is important, although only 1% of men aged 65 take regular vigorous exercise.
  • A multivitamin and mineral designed for this age group.
  • Good intakes of folic acid help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Look for foods fortified with folic acid (eg breakfast cereals) and consider taking a supplement.
  • Ginkgo biloba extracts improve blood flow to the brain and can improve memory and concentration.
  • Taking isoflavone supplements can improve memory recall, verbal memory and sustained attention in post-menopausal women.
  • Attend regular checkups with your GP and eye doctor.

Did you know?
More than 1 in 50 males aged 65 will have had a heart attack during the last 12 months.

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