Exercise has long been shown to help combat the effects of aging and reduce inflammation, but the catch is that inflammation’s impact on our joints and muscle recovery can make exercising uncomfortable or even downright painful, which is be a serious deterrent.
And the older we get, the worse it gets. In addition to loss of muscle, strength and stamina, aging is accompanied by increased free radical formation and circulatory changes that serve to exacerbate inflammatory processes.
Luckily, in addition to using exercise to fight inflammation, there are a number of nutritional supplements that have been shown to help, and also to improve recovery after exercise, making it easier and less painful for people to remain physically active as they age.
In a recent study published in the Nutrition Journal, researchers examined the effect of a specific multinutrient on physical performance, joint health, fatigue, mood and inflammation in active, middle-aged individuals.
There are a number of substances that have been shown to improve age-related recovery and inflammation in different ways, including:
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA): BCAAs, especially leucine, have pain-relieving properties and may inhibit the breakdown of muscle protein and enhance muscle protein synthesis.
Taurine: Another amino acid, this is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that may reduce interleukin-6 (IL-6) production. IL-6 is associated with inflammation, cognitive impairment, functional decline, loss of strength, sarcopenia (age-related loss of muscle mass, strength and function) and mortality.
Green Tea: This contains polyphenols, which have chelating (detoxifying), anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-mutagenic, anti-diabetic and hypocholesterolemic properties. Polyphenols have been shown to help with weight loss and management, and cancer, stroke and cardiovascular disease prevention.
Quercetin: This anti-inflammatory aid, which may inhibit mast cell activation, serves as a psychostimulant and improves physiological performance, health and disease resistance.
Cat’s Claw (uncaria tomentosa): This wood-like vine is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
B-Vitamins: These have limited anti-inflammatory properties, but may increase energy and improve mood and stress.
Each of the substances listed above functions independently, but they also have distinct effects that the others may lack, so researchers wanted to see what impact a supplement that contained each of these substances would have on active men and women aged 40-70 years.
Sixteen healthy, active men (average age 56) and 15 healthy, active women (average age 52) participated in this balanced, randomized, double-blind, crossover study. The subjects completed one 28-day cycle of placebo supplementation and one 28-day cycle of multinutrient supplementation, separated by a one-week washout period. The powdered multinutrient, which is called BioCharge and made by the company Advocare, was mixed with 4-8 ounces of water and taken daily.
The subjects were asked to continue their normal workout routines during the study period and maintain the same level of activity during both cycles.
The testing consisted of high-resolution ultrasonography, blood draws and physical tests, and researchers found some promising results. For starters, the multi-nutrient supplement improved inflammatory status in both men and women. Specifically, the subjects saw a significant decrease in the inflammation marker IL-6.
Energy improved in both men and women, but fatigue only significantly decreased in men. Men also showed an improvement in markers of pain, joint pain, strength and power, which may account for the reduced fatigue. Women did not show any significant improvements in those areas, but they did see lower anxiety levels and improved balance.
These positive results led researchers to conclude, “A multi-nutrient supplement may help middle-aged individuals to prolong physical function and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.”
So if you’re not currently taking a daily multivitamin, it is a good idea to start. If you are hoping to reduce inflammation and improve your exercise recovery, look for one that contains the ingredients studied here. And even if you’re not experiencing problems in those areas yet, it is important to take a multinutrient daily to help lower your risk of disease and death.
If you are looking for a high-quality multivitamin, you can simply click here.
And for optimal health, you should also consider taking an antioxidant supplement. For help determining which vitamins are most important, check out our free report, Top 7 Supplements for Lifetime Vitality.
 Dunn-Lewis, C, et al. A multi-nutrient supplement reduced markers of inflammation and improved physical performance in active individuals of middle to older age: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutrition Journal, 2011, 10:90.