Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax




Aging is the temporal decline in the efficiency of bodily functions: it is not a state of illness. The natural process of growing old involves complex interactions of genetic, metabolic, hormonal, immunologic and structural influences at the organ, tissue and cellular levels.

While an individual's age is a chronological fact, the aging process often manifests itself with physical complications. Even if an individual remains in "perfect" health, it is believed he or she will not survive past a theoretically predetermined age known as the life span.


Aging is a natural process which everyone experiences. Predisposing conditions which may determine the course of one's aging process are:

Built-in genetic program limiting the replicative life span of various normal somatic cells;

Postreplicative senescence: occurrence of alterations in cells no longer capable of mitotic replication and therefore are no longer able to compensate for deficiencies in cell numbers, structure or function;

Declining autoimmune system.

Signs & Symptoms

Accidental falls
General loss of balance
Deteriorating sense of taste
Deteriorating sense of smell
Decreased temperature sensitivity
Amyloid deposits
Trigeminal neuralgia
Peptic ulcers
Parkinson's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Skin disorders such as senile purpura, itching and loss of elasticity
Deteriorating vision such as presbyopia cataracts and glaucoma
Deteriorating hearing, such as otosclerosis

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function:
        Nutrients for Brain Support &

General Supplements

Bioflavonoid2,000 - 6,000 mg n/a
Methionine 500 - 1,000 mg n/a
Selenium 100 - 300 mcg n/a
Vitamin E 200 - 400 IU n/a

* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.

Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.


Amino Acids

Protein Inadequate consumption of protein and amino acids affects immune status. Protein deficiency is associated with impaired cellular immune quantity and function and with decreased antibody response. Deficiencies of the amino acids arginine and glutamine result in immune changes similar to those seen in the elderly.

Arginine has been shown to affect T-cell function, wound healing, tumor growth in rats, and the secretion of immunostimulatory hormones such as prolactin, insulin, growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor.

Glutamine, a semi-essential amino acid that serves as a fuel source for stimulated lymphocytes and macrophages, enhances T-cell, neutrophil, and macrophage function.


Much attention has been focused on the impact of lipid consumption on chronic disease, and immune function is affected by lipid status.

Linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, suppresses immune function and is associated with atrophy of lymphoid tissue at both high and low levels of nutriture. Linoleic acid deficiency depresses antibody responses, while excess intake results in diminished T-cell function. Intakes of <=4% of total calories is associated with tumorigenesis, while immunosuppression has been shown to occur at levels >=15% of total calories.

Consumption of a low-fat diet high in omega-3 fatty acids may have detrimental effects on immune function.

Vitamins that play a substantial role in immunity in the elderly include vitamins A, C, D, E, B6, and B12. Minerals that affect immune function include zinc and iron. (Copper and selenium have documented effects on immunity, but deficiencies of these nutrients are rare in humans.)

Vitamin A plays an important role in nonspecific immunity by maintaining the integrity of mucus-producing cells. Vitamin A also enhances T-cell function and antibody production and inhibits tumor growth. A major precursor of vitamin A, beta-carotene, also affects immune function by enhancing monocyte quantity, and may contribute to the cytotoxicity of T cells, B cells, monocytes, and macrophages.

Vitamin C affects immunity by stimulating the function of PMNs, although functional impairment is evident only at extremely low levels.

Vitamin D is a potent inhibitor of Th-1 lymphocyte responses, generally suppressing monocyte-derived IL-12 production and lymphocyte-derived IL-2 and IFN-gamma. Th-2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10) appear to be relatively unaffected by vitamin D. Analogues of vitamin D have even been used for immune suppression in patients with autoimmune disease and those undergoing transplantation. Vitamin D deficiency is common in the elderly, particularly those with minimal sunlight exposure (eg, institutionalized elderly) and poor dietary intake of fortified dairy products.

Plasma vitamin E concentration is directly related to DTH. Low levels are associated with an increase in the number of infections. There is also some evidence for a negative relationship between vitamin E and IL-2 production, which tends to decline with age.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is a coenzyme that plays an important role in protein and nucleic acid production. Vitamin B6 deficiency results in atrophy of lymphoid tissue and decreased antibody formation and cellular immunity. Lymphocyte function is also impaired in pyridoxine deficiency due to impaired nucleic acid synthesis.

Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) deficiency is more common among the elderly because of decreased parietal cell production of intrinsic factor, which is necessary for vitamin B12 absorption. As many as 7% to 15% of elderly persons may have vitamin B12 deficiency.

The effects of nutritional supplementation on age-related immune alterations are summarized in Sen P et al.: Host Defense Abnormalities and Infections in Older Persons. Infect Urol 8(1): 23-29, 1995.

Dietary Considerations

Dietary Goals Diet

Homeopathic Remedy


1. Baryta carbonica - 15C - use for extended periods (2X day, 1 year)
2. Glycerinum - 15C or higher - long term use - rebuilds tissue


a. Hydrastis canadensis- tincture to 30C
b. Ginkgo biloba - 30C

Gray Hair

1. Lycopodium Clavatum- 30C - not too frequent - once per week, 6 months

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.


X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency
Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.

Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Herbal Approaches


Cayenne (Capsicum annuum)
Dong Quai (Angelica sinsensis)
Ginkgo biloba
Kelp (Laminaria, Macrocystis, Ascophyllum)
Saw Palmetto Berries (Serenoa repens-sabal)
Siberian Ginseng (Eleutheroccoccus senticosus)

Geriatric Vascular Changes (German Commisssion E):

Garlic plant
Hawthorn leaf with flower
Onion plant

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.


Several approaches may be taken e.g. toning the blood, detoxifying, general tonic, boosting the immune system and aiding memory; all of which may be described as a "longevity factor".

"Longevity", of course, is a difficult claim to prove. Certainly, while most people are only interested in adding "years to their life" if they are in good health, they are interested in adding "life to their years". Some choices are gender-specific. Others relate to the lifestyle: active or sedentary; obese or underweight etc.

Cayenne can stimulate circulation.

Dong Quai is the "female ginseng", or tonic. It exerts estrogenic effects.

Ginkgo biloba is noted for improving circulation in the brain, thereby helping against strokes and memory loss. It may also benefit vision and peripheral circulation, including impotence. It may even potentiate the benefit of antidepressants.

Kelp (Laminaria, Macrocystis, Ascophyllum) may be useful for many women who suffer a tendency to be hypothyroid.

Saw Palmetto Berries are specific for prostate problems but may also prevent catabolism in the frail elderly, including women.

Siberian Ginseng is the Oriental favorite tonic, especially for men. It has demonstrated an ability to lengthen the life span of cells in culture. Hypertension, however, is a contraindication for its use.


Saito, H: Ginsenoside-Rb-1 and nerve growth factor (P. Ginseng). Proceeding 3rd International Ginseng Symposium. 1981, Korean Ginseng Research Institute.

Schubert, H & Halama, P: Depressive episode primarily unresponsive to therapy in elderly patients: efficacy of Ginkgo biloba (EGb 761) in combination with antidepressants. Geiratr. Forshc. 1993, 88:447-457.

Sikora, R et al., Ginkgo biloba extract in the therapy of erectile dysfunction. J. Urol. 1989, 141:188A.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Geranium Essence,Ginger Essence,
Jasmine Essence,Neroli Essence,
Rose Essence,Rosewood Essence,
Thyme Essence.

Related Health Conditions

Alzheimer's disease
Parkinson's disease
Presbyopia (see eye disorders)
Trigeminal neuralgia

Characteristic Infections in the Elderly


Urinary tract infections
Device-related infections (artificial joints, heart valves, pacemakers, etc)
Ulcers associated with reduced circulation (pressure ulcers, venous stasis ulcers)


Herpes zoster (varicella zoster virus)



Aihie Sayer A & Cooper C: Undernutrition and aging. Gerontology, 1997, 43:4, 203-5.

Baker, H et al: J. Am. Geriatrics Soc. 1980,28(1):42-45.

Bell, RA. & High, KP: Alterations of Immune Defense Mechanisms in the Elderly: The Role of Nutrition. Infect Med 14(5):415-424, 1997.

Birt D et al., Nutritional effects on the lifespan of Syrian hamsters. Age 5:11, 1982a.

Blackett AD & Hall DA: The effects of vitamin E on mouse fitness and survival. Gerontology 27:133-135, 1981.

Bland, Jeffrey. Medical Applications of Clinical Nutrition. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats, 1983.

Blot WJ et al.: Nutrition intervention trials in Linxian, China: supplementation with specific vitamin/mineral combinations, cancer incidence, and disease-specific mortality in the general population. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 85:1483-92, 1993.

Bunce, G.E. Nutrition and Cataract. Nutrition Reviews, 38 (1980).

Bunker-VW et al: Dietary supplementation and immunocompetence in housebound elderly subjects. Br-J-Biomed-Sci. 1994 Jun; 51(2): 128-35.

Casper RC: Nutrition and its relationship to aging. Exp Gerontol, 1995 May-Aug, 30:3-4, 299-314.

Chasroff, I.J. & J.W. Ellis. 1983. Family Medical Guide, William Morrow and Company Inc., Pub. 594 pp.

Chernoff-R. : Meeting the nutritional needs of the elderly in the institutional setting.: Nutr-Rev. 1994 Apr; 52(4): 132-6.

Cohen-D.: Dementia, depression, and nutritional status. Prim-Care. 1994 Mar; 21(1): 107-19.

Cope-KA: Nutritional status: a basic 'vital sign'. Home-Healthc-Nurse. 1994 Mar-Apr; 12(2): 29-34.

Cotzias GC et al., Levodopa, fertility and longevity. Science 196:549, 1977.

de Groot CP et al., Summary and conclusions of the report on the second data collection period and longitudinal analyses of the SENECA Study. Eur J Clin Nutr, 1996 Jul, 50 Suppl 2:, S123-4.

Diplock AT: The Leon Golberg Memorial Lecture. Antioxidants and disease prevention. Food Chem. Toxicol. 34:1013-20, 1996.

Drori D, Folman Y: Environmental effects on longevity in the male rat: exercise, mating, castration and restricted feeding. Exp. Gerontol. 11:25, 1976.

Emerit, I. and Chance, B: "Free Radical Theory of Aging: History. Free Radicals and Ageing:1992;1-10.

Evans WJ & Cyr-Campbell D: Nutrition, exercise, and healthy aging. J Am Diet Assoc, 1997 Jun, 97:6, 632-8.

Fielding RA: The role of progressive resistance training and nutrition in the preservation of lean body mass in the elderly. J Am Coll Nutr, 1995 Dec, 14:6, 587-94.

French CE et al., The influence of dietary fat and carbohydrate on growth and longevity in rats. J. Nutr. 51:329, 1953.

Goodwin, J.S. & Garry, P.J. : Relationship between megadose vitamin supplementation and immunological function in a healthy elderly population. Clin. Exp. Immun. 1983 51:647-653.

Griep MI et al., Variation in nutrient intake with dental status, age and odour perception. Eur J Clin Nutr, 1996 Dec, 50:12, 816-25.

Haller, J: Vitamins For the Elderly: Reducing Disability and Improving Quality of Life. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 1993;5(Suppl. 1):65-70.)

Halliwell, B. & J. M. Gutteridge. Lipid Peroxidation, Oxygen Radicals, Cell Damage and Antioxidant Therapy. Lancet, (June 23, 1984).

Harman D: Free radical theory of aging: effect of free radical reaction inhibitors on the mortality rate of male LAF1 mice. J. Gerontol. 23:476, 1968.

Heinerman, John, Ph.D. 1982. Herbal Dynamics. Root of Life, Inc.: Publ.

Hoorn, R.K.J. & D. Westernik. Vitamins B-1, B-2 and B-6 Deficiencies in Geriatric Patients. Clinical Chemistry. Acta., 61 (1973).

Houston DK et al., Health and dietary characteristics of supplement users in an elderly population. Int J Vitam Nutr Res, 1997, 67:3, 183-91.

Incalzi-RA et al: Predicting in-hospital mortality after hip fracture in elderly patients. J-Trauma. 1994 Jan; 36(1): 79-82.

Iwasaki K et al., Influence of the restriction of individual dietary components on longevity and age-related disease of Fischer rats: the fat component and the mineral component. J. Gerontol. Biol. Sci. 43:B13-B21, 1988b.

Iwasaki K et al., The influence of dietary protein source on longevity and age-related disease processes of Fischer rats. J. Gerontol. Biol. Sci. 43:B5-B12, 1988a.

Kagawa Y: Impact of westernization on the nutrition of Japanese: changes in physique, cancer, longevity, and centenarians. Prev.Med. 7:205, 1978.

Kendrick-ZV et al: Exercise, aging, and nutrition. South-Med-J. 1994 May; 87(5): S50-60.

Kokkonen GC, Barrows CH: The effect of dietary vitamin, protein and intake levels on the life span of mice of different ages. Age 8:13-15, 1985.

Kubetin,S K.: Exercise, Vitamins Help Avert Muscle Loss in Elderly. Family Practice News, May 1, 1993;50.

Kunz, J. R. M. 1982. The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide. Random House Pub, New York. 832 pp.

Lang, C. A. et al., Low Blood Glutathione Levels in Healthy Ageing Adults. Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Science, November 1992;120(5):720-725.

Laurin-D et al: Fibre intake in elderly individuals with poor masticatory performance. J-Can-Dent-Assoc. 1994 May; 60(5): 443-6, 449.

Lesourd BM: Nutrition and immunity in the elderly: modification of immune responses with nutritional treatments. Am J Clin Nutr, 1997 Aug, 66:2, 478S-484S.

Lewis, C.W.; Frongillo, E.A.; Roe, D.A. J.: Drug-nutrient interactions in three long-term-care facilities. Am. Dietetic Assn. 1995 Mar; 195(3): 309-15.

Li YM et al., Prevention of cardiovascular and renal pathology of aging by the advanced glycation inhibitor aminoguanidine. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 93:3902-7, 1996.

Lindeman, R.D. Mineral Metabolism in the Aging and Aged. Journal Of American College Nutrition, 1 (1982).

Lipschitz-DA: Screening for nutritional status in the elderly.. Prim-Care. 1994 Mar; 21(1): 55-67.

Masoro EJ et al., Temporal and compositional dietary restrictions modulate age-related changes in serum lipids. J. Nutr. 113:880-892, 1983.

McBee WL et al., Hormone replacement therapy and other potential treatments for dementias. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am, 1997 Jun, 26:2, 329-45.

Melnik-TA et al: Screening elderly in the community: the relationship between dietary adequacy and nutritional risk.: J-Am-Diet-Assoc. 1994 Dec; 94(12): 1425-7.

Meydani, M et al: Vitamin E Requirement in Relation to Dietary Fish Oil and Oxidative Stress in Elderly. Free Radicals and Ageing. 1992:411-418.

Meydani SN et al., Antioxidants and immune response in aged persons: overview of present evidence. Am.J.Clin.Nutr. 62:1462S-1476S, 1995.

Miller & Lindeman. Red Blood Cell & Serum Selenium Concentration as Influenced by Age & Selected Diseases. J Of Am College Nutrition, 1983

Mion-LC et al: Nutritional assessment of the elderly in the ambulatory care setting. Nurse-Pract-Forum. 1994 Mar; 5(1): 46-51.

Mowe-M; Bohmer-T; Kindt-E. Am-J-Clin-Nutr. 1994 Feb; 59(2): 317-24. [published erratum appears in Am J Clin Nutr 1994 Aug; 60 (2) : 298]

Murtagh-Mark CM, Reiser KM, Harris RJ, McDonald RB: Source of dietary carbohydrate affects life span of Fischer 344 rats independent of caloric restriction. J. Gerontol. Biol. Sci. 50A:B148- 54, 1995.

Nikolaus T et al., Assessment of nutritional risk in the elderly. Ann Nutr Metab, 1995, 39:6, 340-5.

Opper-FH & Burakoff-R :Nutritional support of the elderly patient in an intensive care unit.. SO: Clin-Geriatr-Med. 1994 Feb; 10(1): 31-49.

Pfeiffer, Naomi: A Drink a Day Keeps Aging at Bay. Family Practice News, August 26, 1993;5.

Pla-GW. : Oral health and nutrition. Prim-Care. 1994 Mar; 21(1): 121-33.

Poeggeler, B., et al: Melatonin, Hydroxyl Radical-Mediated Oxidative Damage, and Ageing: A Hypothesis. Journal of Pineal Research, 1993;14:151-168.

Reiter RJ, Pablos MI, Agapito TT, Guerrero JM: Melatonin in the context of the free radical theory of aging. Ann.N.Y.Acad.Sci. 786:362-378, 1996.

Robbins, S. L. & R. S. Cotran. 1979. Pathologic Basis of Disease, 2nd ed. Saunders Pub Co., Philadelphia. 1598 pp.

Roe-DA: Medications and nutrition in the elderly.Prim-Care.1994, 21(1): 135-47.

Rolandelli-RH & Ullrich-JR. : Nutritional support in the frail elderly surgical patient. Surg-Clin-North-Am. 1994 Feb; 74(1): 79-92.

Rush D: Nutrition screening in old people: its place in a coherent practice of preventive health care. Annu Rev Nutr, 1997, 17:, 101-25.

Schlienger JL et al., Nutrition of the elderly: a challenge between facts and needs. Horm Res, 1995, 43:1-3, 46-51.

Schroeder HA, Mitchener M: Selenium and tellerium in rats: Effects on growth, survival and tumors. J. Nutr. 101:1531, 1971.

Sen P et al.: Host Defense Abnormalities and Infections in Older Persons. Infect Urol 8(1): 23-29, 1995.

Shigenaga MK, Hagen TM, Ames BN: Oxidative damage and mitochondrial decay in aging. Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci. U.S.A. 91:10771- 10778, 1994.

Simonoff, M. et al: Antioxidant Status (selenium, vitamins A and E) and Ageing. Free Radicals and Ageing, 1992:368-397.

Skalka, H.W. & J.T. Prochal. Cataracts and Riboflavin Deficiency. American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 34 (1981).

Sohal RS, Weindruch R: Oxidative stress, caloric restriction, and aging. Science 273:59-63, 1996.

Tomono-K. & Hara-K.:[Refractory infectious diseases in the elderly] Nippon-Rinsho. 1994 Feb; 52(2): 433-8.

Venjatraman JT & Fernandes G: Exercise, immunity and aging. Aging (Milano), 1997 Feb-Apr, 9:1-2, 42-56.

Walford RL. "Maximum Life Span." New York: Norton; 1983.

Walji, Hasnain. 1995. Nutrients For Health - Melatonin . Thorsons - Harper Collins, London.

Ward, J. : Free radicals, antioxidants and preventive geriatrics. Aus. Fam. Phys. 1994, 23(7):1297-1305.

Watson-R. : Tea not tranquillisers. Elder-Care. 1994 Jan-Feb; 6(1): 10.

Weindruch R: Caloric restriction and aging. Sci. Am. 274(1):46- 52, 1996.

Weindruch R & Walford RL: Dietary restriction in mice beginning at one year of age: Effects on life-span and spontaneous cancer incidence. Science 215:1415-1418, 1982.

Weindruch R & Walford RL. "The Retardation of Aging and Disease by Dietary Restriction." Springfield, IL: C.C. Thomas; 1988.

Wellman-NS: Dietary guidance and nutrient requirements of the elderly. Prim-Care. 1994 Mar; 21(1): 1-18.

Wood, R J: Mineral Needs of the Elderly: Developing a Research Agenda for the 1990s. Age, 1991;14:120-128.

Main Menu