8 Anti-Aging Vitamins and Nutrients That Actually Work, Ranked

Anti-Aging Rejuvenation Concept

While nothing works as dramatically as what is shown in this artist’s concept, there are vitamins and nutrients that help slow the aging process.

Vitamins are sometimes overlooked in the fight against aging compared to the vast variety of creams and serums, but research shows that vitamins are a key part of slowing the aging process.

While topical serums and creams may slow the appearance of aging in areas where they are applied, they cannot fight the aging happening within your body, and some anti-aging ingredients cannot be absorbed through the skin, making topical application pointless. Vitamins, meanwhile, work from the inside out, resulting in both inner and outer health. This does not mean you need to forgo topical solutions — the most powerful anti-aging regimes use both vitamins and topical creams to form a powerful, multi-pronged defense.

Vitamins and supplements help us ensure we are getting the nutrients we need, particularly if we are deficient — and according to experts, many adults do not get enough vitamin D[1] or B12,[2] leading to otherwise preventable age-related disorders and poor health.

However, not all vitamins are equal when it comes to anti-aging. Some vitamins are far more powerful at combatting the effects of age than others. This is why this article ranks the most effective vitamins when it comes to giving yourself a youthful glow, wrinkle-free skin, and a renewed sense of well-being.

Collagen

If you were to take just one anti-aging supplement, collagen is the top choice.

1. Collagen

Collagen is the king of anti-aging, which is why so many youth rejuvenation treatments focus on renewing or revitalizing collagen production in the body — but you can kick start this process without needles, simply by supplementing collagen into your diet.

Collagen is a protein that helps in the maintenance of skin, and as we age we produce less of it, leading to wrinkles and sagging. It’s believed that collagen production begins slowing as early as our early twenties. However, when our bodies start to slow the production of collagen, we can make sure our levels remain high by supplementing it. Collagen supplements have been shown to improve skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles.[3]

A 12-week study of 72 women showed that regularly taking a supplement that contained 2.5 grams of collagen (along with several other ingredients) significantly improved the appearance of skin elasticity and softness.[4]

If you choose one anti-aging supplement, choose collagen. But why would you choose just one when many others do almost as good a job?

Vitamin A Food Sources

Besides for taking vitamin supplements, you can get Vitamin A in your diet by eating beef liver, eggs, tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, and carrots.

2. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is the strongest argument for why you should keep going after supplementing with collagen. This powerhouse vitamin prevents and slows the effects of aging on both your insides and outsides.

Vitamin A is also known as retinol, which forms the key ingredient in many anti-aging supplements and serums. Vitamin A is not naturally produced by our bodies, which means it needs to be consumed either by eating foods rich in it or by taking it as a supplement. And there’s plenty of reason to do that, because vitamin A is the gold standard when it comes to anti-aging.

Tretinoin, which is derived from vitamin A, has been proven to boost collagen production and reduce wrinkles. It does this by interfering with the enzymes that break down collagen in the skin’s dermal layer, promoting the creation of new collagen instead.[5]

Vitamin A does not just help your skin; it also helps your insides. It promotes better vision and a stronger immune system, and helps your heart and lungs work properly.[6] Your insides age, too — but you can slow the process with the help of vitamin A.

Food Containing Vitamin D

Getting vitamin D from sun exposure on your skin is one option. Foods with vitamin D include fortified milk, salmon, tuna, and soybeans.

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, as one of the ways we synthesize it is from exposure to sunshine. But vitamin D is also a powerful anti-aging vitamin, extended with longevity and a possible reduction in diseases and illnesses related to aging.[7]

Research has also shown that vitamin D is effective in preventing premature aging by protecting the skin from ultraviolet light, one of the most common causes of wrinkles and lines.[8]

And while vitamin D’s effects on aging have long gone unrecognized, new research is showing that the sunshine vitamin is much more powerful than previously thought, with a 2016 study discovering that vitamin D has the power to extend the median lifespan by 33%.[9]

Vitamin E Food Sources

Vitamin E is essential for health, and is found in almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, asparagus, avocado, and mango.

4. Vitamin E

As we age, our body needs more vitamin E to remain healthy[10] — unsurprising, as vitamin E plays an essential role in regulating our immune system.

As one of the skin’s first layers of defense, vitamin E occurs naturally in our body but is quickly depleted by sun rays. This is not good, as vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, unstable atoms that damage cells and have been linked to aging.

Vitamin E not only protects the skin from wrinkles and fine lines, but it can also boost collagen production, speeding up cell regeneration and creating new skin growth. Studies have shown that ingesting vitamin E orally as a supplement dramatically increases protection against the breakdown of collagen.[11]

Vitamin E is good for your body as well as your skin. It’s been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease[12] and potentially protect against cognitive decline.[13]

Resveratrol

You can get Resveratrol from supplements, or from red wine, peanuts, grapes, blueberries, cranberries, and dark chocolate.

5. Resveratrol

You may have heard of collagen, vitamin A and vitamin D before, but resveratrol is probably new to you. But it’s time to get to know this powerful little antioxidant because it’s one of your most powerful weapons against aging.

Resveratrol is responsible for giving grapes and raspberries their distinctive red color, and it also combats wrinkles and fine lines. While you can certainly get plenty of resveratrol by making berries a staple of your diet, you can much more easily add it to your diet as a supplement.

Exposure to UV light, such as sunlight, is one of the main culprits when it comes to skin aging. But there’s no need to stop enjoying the sunshine. Resveratrol has been found to protect skin from premature aging brought on by UV light.[14] Resveratrol has also been found to increase lifespan.[15] Not bad for such an obscure vitamin.

Zinc Rich Food Sources

Dietary sources of zinc include oysters, whole grains, red meat, poultry, beans nuts, crab, and lobster.

6. Zinc

Zinc is an essential trace mineral found in the red blood cells and is involved in many important roles in the human body but our body does not naturally produce zinc. Because of this, we need to obtain zinc through either our diet or supplements.

We need zinc for many things, including synthesizing proteins, regulating our immune system, and healing wounds. But zinc is also a powerful ally in the fight against aging. Zinc deficiencies have been found to speed up the aging process,[16] while significantly reducing the risk of age-related illnesses and infections.[17]

Zinc also plays a key role in protecting against hair loss, a major part of aging for both men and women. As zinc plays an important role in the growth and repair of hair tissue, it’s no surprise that studies have shown that taking zinc supplements can defend against hair loss.[18]

With so many benefits, zinc is well worth adding to your supplement routine.

Turmeric

Turmeric is the plant with the largest amount of curcumin and is a commonly available nutritional supplement.

7. Curcumin

Curcumin’s positive effects on aging have flown under the radar for a long time but new research is bringing this polyphenol into the spotlight. Found in the root of the turmeric plant, curcumin has been found to lead to improvements in both cognition and memory, and is now being investigated as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.[19]

Curcumin has also been found to extend the life of a wide variety of organisms, from fruit flies to worms to yeast,[20] leading researchers to question if it can be used for the same purposes in humans.

There are many different causes of aging, from oxidative stress to breakdown of cells to loss of telomere length, and curcumin has been found to positively impact a wide variety of them.[21] However, the jury is still out on how much curcumin finds its way back into the bloodstream when ingested. So despite its multitude of benefits to anti-aging, it finds itself low on the list. Perhaps, with more research, curcumin will climb the ranks.

Selenium Food Sources Se

Sources for selenium include nuts (especially Brazil nuts), seafood, organ meats, and eggs.

8. Selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral that prevents vitamin E deficiencies. It can be obtained through diet or supplements. New research suggests that selenium can play an important role in fighting aging, particular when it comes to age-related disorders and illnesses such as tumors and cardiovascular diseases.[22]

Selenium has also been associated with longer telomeres — caps located on the ends of our chromosomes that decide how quickly our cells age.[23] And older adults with low levels of selenium have been found to have significantly higher rates of death than those with high levels of selenium.[24]

However, research on selenium’s anti-aging benefits is still lacking, and many of the most promising studies are still new. In time, selenium may prove to be an anti-aging superhero, but for now, it remains a background player with promise.

Strong and Effective Weapons

Vitamins are some of our strongest weapons when it comes to fighting anti-aging, but unfortunately sometimes we can’t get the amount we need through diet alone. However, with a good supplement routine, we can fight the symptoms of aging, whether it’s wrinkles and fine lines, skin sagging, cognitive decline, or poor physical health.

Not all vitamins are useful when it comes to combating aging, and some vitamins might not confer the particular anti-aging benefits we are specifically looking for. This is why it’s important to stay educated on the newest research on which vitamins fight what. However, when we come armed with knowledge, vitamins can be a powerful anti-aging tool indeed.

References:

  1. Goodwill, Alicia M. et al: “A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of The Effect of Low Vitamin D on Cognition”, October 2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28758188/
  2. Hoffman, Richard: “Micronutrient deficiencies in the elderly – could ready meals be part of the solution?”, January 12 2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5465850/
  3. Lupu, Mihaela-Adi et al: “Beneficial effects of food supplements based on hydrolyzed collagen for skin care (Review)”, July 2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7271718/
  4. Bolke, Liana et al: “A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study”, October 17 2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835901/
  5. Zasada, Malwina et al: “Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments”, August 30 2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6791161/
  6. “Vitamin A and Carotenoids”, May 11 2022, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-Consumer
  7. Meehan, Meghan et al: “The Role of Vitamin D in the Aging Adult”, December 2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399494/
  8. Reichrath, Jörg: “Unraveling of hidden secrets: The role of vitamin D in skin aging”, July 1 2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583884/
  9. Mark, Karla A. et al: “Vitamin D Promotes Protein Homeostasis and Longevity via the Stress Response Pathway Genes skn-1, ire-1, and xbp-1”, October 25 2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27783938/
  10. Meydani, Nikbin Simin et al: “Perspective: Should Vitamin E Recommendations for Older Adults Be Increased?”, August 11 2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6140432/
  11. Schagen, Silke K. et al: “Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging”, July 1 2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583891/
  12. Emami, Mohammed Reza et al: “Effect of vitamin E supplementation on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis”, July 2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30846828/
  13. Browne, Declan et al: “Vitamin E and Alzheimer’s disease: what do we know so far?”, 2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6645610/
  14. Petruk, Ganna et al: “Antioxidants from Plants Protect against Skin Photoaging”, August 2 2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6098906/
  15. Li Juan et al: “A comparative study of anti-aging properties and mechanism: resveratrol and caloric restriction”, September 12 2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5630366/
  16. Song Yang et al: “Zinc Deficiency Affects DNA Damage, Oxidative Stress, Antioxidant Defenses, and DNA Repair in Rats”, September 2009, academic.oup.com/jn/article/139/9/1626/4670522
  17. Prasad, Ananda S.: “Discovery of Human Zinc Deficiency: Its Impact on Human Health and Disease”, March 6 2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649098/
  18. Park, Hoon et al: “The Therapeutic Effect and the Changed Serum Zinc Level after Zinc Supplementation in Alopecia Areata Patients Who Had a Low Serum Zinc Level”, May 2009, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2861201/
  19. Mishra, Shrikant et al: “The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer’s disease: An overview”, January 2008, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781139/
  20. Shen, Li Rong et al: “Curcumin-supplemented diets increase superoxide dismutase activity and mean lifespan in Drosophila”, August 2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22653297/
  21. Morse, Robert: “Curcumin’s Anti-Aging Properties”, October 2021, lifeextension.com/magazine/2021/ss/curcumin-anti-aging
  22. Cai, Zhonglin et al: “Selenium, aging and aging-related diseases”, August 2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30511318/
  23. Shu, Yangling et al: “Association of dietary selenium intake with telomere length in middle-aged and older adults”, January 31 2020, clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(20)30037-6/fulltext
  24. Cai, Zhonglin et al: “Selenium, aging and aging-related diseases”, August 2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30511318/

19 Comments on "8 Anti-Aging Vitamins and Nutrients That Actually Work, Ranked"

  1. What can be trusted in such careless writing ? – double citation: #22 and #24!

  2. Articles like this should come with a statement of who or what organization sponsored/endorsed it.

  3. Passing by scientist | June 20, 2022 at 8:41 pm | Reply

    An article that lists collagen as #1 anti-aging nutrient should be ignored! Collagen can only provide a very temporary fix to an aged skin, meaning it works on removing some CONSEQUENCES of aging. Mixing anti-aging and cosmetics concepts is a travesty and ignorance.

    Moreover, the author doesn’t even understand the meaning of collagen itself and basic biological processes in our body! Collagen is produced by our body using a certain set of amino acids, and taking collagen as supplement will NOT supply our body and skin with collagen, as any protein, collagen included, consumed as food will be first broken down to amino acids and only then re-assembled to produce an actual collagen for our skin and other tissues. A much faster path towards helping our body generate collagen is a well-balanced daily nutrition, which will ensure we have enough highly bio-available amino acid blocks.

  4. A lot of negativity in the comments. I don’t think that was really earned. I do think some good supplements were missed. Cocoa flavanols have proven effective…perhaps the most effective. And hyaluronic acid has a lot of science behind it.
    And, from experience, if I want to look good for one important day, I take Gotu Kola the night before. It does not work 2 days in a row, and you look worse the day after that. Whatever it uses, it depletes, I suspect.

  5. Thomas Johnson | June 21, 2022 at 3:57 am | Reply

    Forgot THE most important ones – Vitamin C and B3

  6. Adele Sonora | June 21, 2022 at 3:48 pm | Reply

    Resveratrol was incorrectly called a “vitamin” in this article. Its not a vitamin. Its a substance found in grapeskins and knotweed. Its a supplement. Does anyone edit these articles??

  7. @Passing by scientist: THANK YOU for your post! OMG, I was getting more and more irritated by so much ignorance in this article!!!

    (Kudos to @Adele Sonora as well!)

  8. Careful, Adele. Vitamin D isn’t a vitamin, either, and contractions should have apostrophes.

  9. Resveratrol does not work! Sitting an old study in nice that has never been replicated in nice or humans. David Sinclair has shown himself to not be ethical unfortunately by still pushing resveratrol and selling a company for millions based on an old faulty non-repeatable trial.

    Now it does look like there is something in grape seed extract that has positive age related effects, but it’s not resveratrol alone.

    Rapamycin perhaps should be in this list instead, but more tests are needed of course.

    Anyone interested in this information I would implore to follow Dr. Brad Stanfield who has a passion for this topic and appears to be highly ethical.

  10. Resveratrol does not work! Siting an old study in mice that has never been replicated in mice or humans.
    David Sinclair has shown himself to not be ethical unfortunately by still pushing resveratrol and selling a company for millions based on an old, faulty, non-repeatable trial.

    It does look like there is something in grape seed extract that has positive age related effects, but it’s not resveratrol alone.

    Rapamycin perhaps should be in this list instead, but more studies are needed.

    Anyone interested in this information I would implore to follow Dr. Brad Stanfield who has a passion for this topic and appears to be highly ethical.

  11. RIFAAT JAFARI | June 23, 2022 at 2:41 pm | Reply

    Basil seeds are very rich in minerals esply zinc. I take just 1 teaspn in a full glass of water. Soak for abt 5 – 10 mins. But a herbalist recommends 2 tblspns with a teaspn of honey at night. And 2 tblspns without honey in the mirn. I found that too much. My dosage also reduced my hairfall

  12. I only raise the point that D3 and A should probably be taken 12 hours apart — A apparently interferes with D’s efficacy. They saw that in a 10 year study on D3’s efficacy in reducing the risk of breast cancer: the researches expected to see a 70% lower incidence of breast cancer among Norwegian women, after 10 years. That is the nearly universal result of such longer term studies. However, there was reduction in breast cancer amongst Norwegian women administered 2000 IU of D3 a day for ten years. After much head one of them realized DOH! Norwegians’ diet is heavy with cod fish. And what is high in cod? Vitamin A of course. Well, it was not as bad as all the pork dollars wasted by the US government on ridiculous “research”.

  13. Bran again. sorry but part of the screen did not scroll and I was typing blind. There was NO REDUCTION in breast cancer rates among the Norwegian subjects because the A in their diet interfed with D3.

  14. I agree with this absolutely and I have an excellent supplement support system. Do research the supplements you take for purity, strength, consistency and sources. Absorptive strength also is important and can be improved by the right timing and combinations, like peperine and curcumin. Don’t listen to the quacks who insist on writing articles discouraging supplementation. Make up your own mind.

  15. And no this is not complete as a list, nor necessarily for priority. These are all good suggestions however.

  16. I use cannabis for all my medical needs and this article did not mention this at all….

  17. It seems like this is somehow a response to the new USPSTF guideline suggesting there is no evidence (or not enough evidence) to recommend supplements for prevention of age-related diseases (CVD or cancer).

    https://uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/vitamin-supplementation-to-prevent-cvd-and-cancer-preventive-medication

  18. How many of these nutrition articles will I see that claim you can get vitamin A from things such as carrots? They, and most vegetable sources contain beta-carotene, a precursor to retinol that most of the human race are very poor at converting to retinol. There’s a few examples of these in mainstream nutrition where they claim stuff like this, and it’s simply untrue.

  19. Black pepper “apparentlty” is like an activator for circumin from turmeric, you need lots & im afraid your sweat goes florescent yellow, even if its like a placebo effect, it workes for me. I drink/wear a mega-complex smoothie every morning including nettles & other herbs from the garden & im firing on all cylinders all day,bounce all over work kids & other activities.i need my smoothie .
    Smoothie gets downed & wipe the blender residue on face & rub/wash off when dry)
    List of ingredients…
    Organic spinache( any green leaf)
    Mushroom(any better than none i got turkys tail atm)
    Pomigranate(read mitochondria toccotrenials)
    Organic carrot
    Organic sweet potato
    Avocado(organic skin,flesh & stone,slice up!or your blender will die?)
    Blueberrys.(any berrys)
    Pinapple/mango(any fruit.)
    Beet/radish(i grow most veg)
    Nettle tops & roots(2nd fav herb, read up! Specially men/root/prostate!)
    Lemon slice,incude skin, no pips!
    Ginger
    Honey
    Coconut/almond/soya milk/juice/water.any.

    Thats the fresh stuff, now add the dried stuff.
    All organic & gluten free.
    Oats or millet(small amount.)
    Chia/pumpkin/flax seed.
    Almond
    Turmeric
    Black pepper
    Cacao
    Maca root
    hemp
    Wheat grass
    Spirulina
    Get up an hour early, blend & down the green slime, you will feel invincable.

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