Find out what natural supplements work to fight the signs of ageing according to the scientific evidence. From ashwaganda to curicumin and more, this are my top 5 picks as a nutritional therapy practitioner. 

anti-ageing noosa natural

Noosa natural anti-ageing

Optimising quality of life as we age

Ageing, is of course, a natural part of getting older and with age comes wisdom and the confidence that many wouldn’t dream of trading for their youth. This may make fighting the signs of ageing seem like a frivolous vanity project. However, who honestly wouldn’t like to have a little more energy, enhanced cognitive abilities and a few less wrinkles?

Although there is no magic bullet to stop the hands of time on your chronological age, research shows that we can reverse biological age by years with a nutrient rich diet and good lifestyle habits in as little as 8 weeks (Fitzgerald et al., 2021).  Additionally, quite a few studies demonstrate that a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants, healthy fats and nourishes your gut microbiome can lower the risk of developing many diseases.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that you are more likely to contract a chronic disease and suffer from other health issues in your latter years. However, the choices you make today matters, diseases often take decades to covertly fester until they manifest.


Nutrients influence epigenetics

Nutrients have the power to alter your epigenetics and therefore influence the way your genes are expressed and how well you age. This may mean the difference between genes associated with a disease remaining dormant or being activated (Landecker, 2011). The number of years lived without suffering from any disease is known as your health span. Your health span affects your quality of life and can mean the difference between surviving or thriving now and into your twilight years.

As a natural consequence of getting older DNA degrades, healthy cells stop multiplying, mitochondria get damaged and telomeres get shorter. This results in cognitive and physical decline which accelerates when a diet is low in nutrients and high in inflammatory foods.


The anti-ageing industry

External attempts to halt ageing like plastic surgery, botox and fancy facials do little to nothing to reverse your biological age. Yet the cosmetic surgery industry is a booming billion-dollar industry in Australia and it is becoming more commonplace. Globally the industry was worth $50.27 billion US in 2021 and it is predicted to increase to a staggering $ 67.91 billion by 2028 (Verified Market Research, 2022). With statistics like these, there is little doubt that many people are feeling increasing pressure to look a certain way or chase the eternal fountain of youth.


Health span and living longer

Although we now live approximately three decades longer than at the turn of the 20th century, health span has not followed along congruently (Garmany et al., 2021). The increase in lifespan is largely attributed to the measures that have been taken to reduce infant mortality. In 1907, children under the age of five made up 26% of all deaths in Australia, in 2020 it is less than one percent (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2022). This extraordinary change can be imparted to medical advances, particularly during childbirth, as well as laws and awareness regarding safety and sanitation (Barthold Jones et al., 2018).

So, without further ado here are the top 5 functional foods to optimise ageing from the inside out according to a nutritionist.



Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng and Withania, has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for anti-ageing for centuries. This herb is also a great all-rounder for health as it is an adaptogen which acts as an anti-stress agent. There is a wide array of proven benefits of ashwagandha such as increasing energy levels and cognition, improving concentration, boosting fertility and reducing anxiety and depression (Tandon, et al., 2020).

In vitro and in vivo model studies show that Ashwagandha extends the lifespan of nematodes by 20% and in another study 29.7%. In humans it has been shown to increase telomerase activity by 45% (Park et al., 2014). Telomerase is an enzyme that has a protective effect against DNA damage. Another in vivo study shows that naturally boosting telomerase activity reversed the effects of ageing and when levels of this enzyme are very low it results in accelerated ageing (Callaway, 2010).

A systematic review of 20 studies found that it is proven to significantly balance high blood sugar levels, reduce insulin levels, improve lipid profile and markers for oxidative stress with no safety concerns (Durg, et al., 2020). High insulin, lipid, oxidative stress levels are all associated with inflammation and accelerated aging (Park et al., 2014).

A double-blind placebo controlled 12 week study in an aged population found statistically significant improvement in self-reported quality of life, feeling more mentally alert and sleeping better. Along with measuring efficacy, this study also assessed the safety and tolerability of ashwagandha and found no negative effects (Kelgane, et al., 2020).


Green tea

Green tea is rich in polyphenols which have been proven to reduce DNA damage and maintain telomere length (Sharma & Diwan, 2022). The polyphenols in tea act as a prebiotic which improves gut health by increasing beneficial bacteria in the microbiome. Tea is rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, minerals and amino acids which are beneficial to health. Although black and green tea are both from the same plant, green tea is higher in antioxidants and the specific polyphenol thought to have the most health promoting properties is called epigallocatechin gallate (Sharma & Diwan, 2022). There are over 3,000 types of polyphenols that have been identified so far. Cacoa, berries, spices and coffee are also high in polyphenols. Various studies demonstrate that polyphenols have a positive influence on immune health, and have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and cancer fighting properties.


Medicinal mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms, the legal kind – such as reishi and lion’s mane – have been coveted for their health benefits for thousands of years in China, Japan, Korea, Greece and Rome.

They work as adaptogens and help the body counteract stress, providing support where it is needed and assists with maintaining homeostasis. There are over 400 bioactive compounds found in these mushrooms that have a wide range of reported beneficial effects. Some of the proven beneficial effects include supporting immune, heart, brain, hormone, mental and metabolic health. Reishi and lion’s mane also have antioxidative, free radical savaging, anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties (Sanodiya et al., 2009) (Venturella et al., 2021). Some of the most important compounds are thought to be beta glucans which are prebiotic fibre that supports beneficial bacteria in the gut and immune health.

Some of the most revered mushrooms are Reishi which has been coined the “mushroom of immortality” in Chinese medicine and Lion’s Mane which is well known for it’s ability to improve brain and mental health.

Research shows that Lion’s Mane has a neuroprotective effect. It increases the development of nerve growth factor which promotes nerve regeneration, stimulates the growth of cells and repairs myelin (Andres & Bradshaw, 1980). As a result, research shows that Lion’s Mane can improve memory and cognition, depression and assist with the symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease (Chong et al., 2019).

Reishi has been shown to stop cells ageing in skin and connective tissue in comparison to the control group. This protective effect against photo-aging is from the unique polysaccharides in reishi and high antioxidants levels. and has been shown to assist with immune health



Curcumin is a powerful component of the spice turmeric that is well established in the literature for its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric, a relative of ginger, has been revered for its medicinal properties for thousands of years in India, Japan, Korea, Pakistan and other parts of Asia. Most of the benefits from curcumin are from the polyphenol and antioxidant components (Hewlings & Kalman, 2017). Various models have shown that curcumin can extend lifespan and prevent the degradation of cells (Zia et al., 2021).

Even in healthy adults’ curcumin has improved a number of markers associated with disease, including reducing plaques in the brain, triglyceride levels and inflammation at a relatively low dose (Hewlings & Kalman, 2017). It has also been shown to be effective for metabolic issues, eye conditions and the kidneys.

Chronic low-grade inflammation is a common feature of almost every disease and chronic condition (Minihane et al., 2015). Studies show significant reductions of inflammation and pain after arthritis suffers took turmeric for 90 days (Amalraj et al., 2017). Curcumin can also assist with exercise induced inflammation and aids in the recovery of sore muscles in active adults (Hewlings & Kalman, 2017).

Taking black pepper with curcumin increases the bioavailability of this culinary spice by 2,000%, so ensure you take them both together when consuming. Supplements are a common way of ingesting a high dose; turmeric is also very tasty in curries, stir fries, pilaf and soups.


Marine Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the body, making up around 30% of total protein. it is particularly concentrated in the skin, bones, hair and connective tissues. As we age the body synthesises less collagen with fibres becoming thinner, less organised and spaced out in the dermis (Varani et al., 2006).

You may have heard that there is a lack of research regarding the anti-aging benefits of collagen, however there is a growing body of evidence that shows that collagen can improve wound healing significantly (Geahchan et al., 2022) and can minimise wrinkles (Salvatore et al., 2020) by accelerating dermal growth. Marine collagen in particular has been successfully used in the treatment and prevention for osteoporosis and osteoarthritis (Geahchan et al., 2022). Marine collagen is derived from fish, sponge and jelly fish and has high bioavailability (Geahchan et al., 2022).



In summary ashwagandha, green tea, medicinal mushrooms, curcumin and collagen are just a few of the super star super foods for optimal ageing. There are hundreds of compounds, nutrients and lifestyle practices we can implement for healthy ageing and disease prevention. However, it is important to get the fundamentals of health right first to optimise ageing, such as eating a nutrient dense diet, getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol, and exercising. Unfortunately, certain individuals may do all of these things, and more, yet still suffer from poor health and disease. It is important to note nevertheless that they are likely to be in a much better position than they were if they did nothing. Your health span is key to living a quality life in older age and you do have some control over it. Before commencing any supplement regime, it is best to consult with your doctor to ensure that there are no potential reactions with any medications you are taking.




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By Holistic Nutritionist Chrissy

Chrissy is a university qualified nutritionist who graduated with honours at La Trobe University in Melbourne. One of her favourite hobbies is to read the scientific literature on how to optimise health. When she’s not reading, writing or working she’s with her 3 children outdoors, practicing yoga, jogging or cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Chrissy has overcome some debilitating chronic health issues (low mood, adrenal fatigue, insomnia, very bad acne to name a few) with the power of nutrients and correcting gut health, at 39 she now feels better than she did in her 20’s.