Vitamin Supplements, Health, and Longevity

After I learned that I have a heart artifact or heart murmur about ten years ago, I began taking vitamin supplements and over-the-counter medication in order to strengthen and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Initially, I took a daily Centrum multivitamin (for my body in general), vitamin E (for my heart), and 81mg “baby” aspirin (for my heart). After reading a lot of conflicting reports and studies, I added B-50 (for my heart) and B-12 (for my brain) supplements to my daily regimen. And most recently, I’ve began taking ginkgo biloba (for my brain). Throughout, I’ve subjected my body to daily doses of caffeine (for my brain) from soft drinks (not so much now) and coffee (more so in the last five years).

Reflecting on my dietary supplement choices, I have taken two primary tracks to the daily support of my body and more specifically to these two segments of my overall bodily system: the brain and the heart. My concern about my heart and cardiovascular system is that the problem is currently inoperable except in dire circumstances, because the procedure may result in less than optimal consequences (death) and it is very expensive. My concern about my brain has to do with mental acuity, flexibility, and memory retention for my sense of identity and daily praxis as an academic. My interest in brain function intervention arose from my research into maintaining a healthy heart. These two concerns are in turn folded into a concern about longevity and quality of life. I do want to live a long time, and if given the choice, I would, at least based on my current outlook, want to live forever.

There are futurists, including Ray Kurtzweil, who undertake much more radical bodily interventions in order to live longer, remain mentally competitive, and last long enough to pass through the Singularity. Some of these attempts at long life are interesting and compelling, while others are economically prohibitive and somewhat specious (or at least with no guarantees).

So, my question to you is what, if anything, do you do to maintain your health and mental functioning? Is it good diet and body/mind exercise? Do you take wild and crazy supplements? Do you have a concoction of your own invention that you dare not release to the public so that you will out live us all? I’m curious about what your thoughts are on this, so please leave a comment about what you do to stay healthy and mentally vigilant.

Published by

Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.