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An 83-year-old triathlete doctor who transformed his health in his 40s takes these 6 supplements every day

A photo collage of Dr.Maroon with supplements
Uproar PR/ Tyler Le/BI
  • 83-year-old Dr. Joseph Maroon is a neurosurgeon and triathlete interested in healthy aging.

  • He takes supplements every day in the hope they'll improve his longevity.

  • These include turmeric, fisetin, resveratrol, and trimethylglycine.

An 83-year-old doctor and triathlete who transformed his health in his 40s shared with Business Insider the six supplements he takes daily.

Most dietitians advise people to get their nutrients from food, but some people in the longevity and antiaging spheres are willing to take low-risk supplements based on emerging evidence that they may benefit our health in the long term.

Joseph Maroon, a neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who recently participated in Aviv Clinics’ Global Aging Consortium, is one of them.

Supplements are one part of a health journey that Maroon has been on since the age of 40, when he started running to try to ease the depression he was struggling with following his divorce and the death of his father.

The octogenarian has completed eight Ironman Triathlons since his first when he was 53.

Maroon previously told BI about the key diet principles he follows to maintain his health and his tips for getting fit at any age. Here’s what you need to know about the six supplements Maroon takes.

Fish oil

Fish oil is associated with a range of benefits, such as improved heart health, brain function, and better mental health, but it’s unclear whether these stem solely from omega-3 or a combination of compounds found in fish.

But there is some evidence that fish-oil supplements may lower the risk of cardiovascular problems or cancer in people who don’t eat fish.

Turmeric

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it can be useful in managing associated conditions, such as arthritis, allergies, and infections, says Mary-Eve Brown, an oncology specialist who's a clinical dietitian at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

But it’s unclear whether turmeric can treat specific conditions, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Brown says taking turmeric supplements can increase the risk of developing kidney stones, and it's best to get turmeric from food.

Dr. Joseph Maroon raises his fists in victory at the Lifetime Chicago Triathlon.
Dr. Maroon is still completing triathlons in his 80s.Uproar PR

Fisetin

Fisetin is an antioxidant usually found in various fruits and vegetables — such as strawberries, kiwis, tomatoes, and onions — as well as nuts and wine. Fisetin has been shown to have anticarcinogenic, antiaging, and anti-inflammatory properties in lab studies on cells.

But the authors of a 2019 study on the antioxidant said more research was needed to understand its effects on humans, and not many people take it as a supplement. So, it's unclear whether humans would get the same benefits from fisetin supplements as they would from food.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is another antioxidant, found in foods such as red grapes and wine, which Maroon takes after studies suggested it stimulates the release of sirtuin. This protein helps regulate the metabolism and was linked with an increased lifespan in studies on mice and yeast.

However much of the research that suggests resveratrol can help a person live longer has not been reproduced by other researchers and has been overestimated by the media and scientists, according to a 2022 article. Plus, a lot of the hype about red wine boosting longevity was promoted by anti-aging researcher and biohacker David Sinclair, who had a company selling resveratrol at the time, Business Insider's Hilary Brueck previously reported.

In a 2023 "Science" article, prominent medicinal chemist Derek Lowe wrote that "the sirtuin longevity story" is "wrong."

Magnesium

“I work out hard. So I need supplemental magnesium,” Maroon said.

A 2017 review of studies found that as individuals’ physical activity levels increased, so did their magnesium requirements, and a few small studies suggested it could improve muscle strength. But the authors said more research was needed to uncover whether these improvements were caused solely by magnesium.

Most people get more than the recommended amounts of magnesium from their diets and from supplements, according to the US Office of Dietary Supplements.

Trimethylglycine

Trimethylglycine (also known as betaine) is a compound that the body makes itself, which is involved in liver function and cellular reproduction. It’s been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for the overproduction of homocysteine, an amino acid that, in high levels, can increase the risk for dementia, heart disease, and stroke.

A 2021 review found it had also been associated with preventing fatty-liver disease, preserving heart function, and protecting the nervous system. But it’s also been associated with increased cholesterol levels in overweight people, and as many studies on it had been done in rats and mice, the review concluded that more research into its effects in humans was needed.

Read the original article on Business Insider