Vitamin Supplements for Seniors

My Diet Matters
supplements for seniors

While daily use of multi-nutrient supplements has fallen out of favor by some health professionals due to some recent studies, there are five vitamin and mineral supplements many seniors should consider taking. While food is always the best source of nutrients, certain circumstances with aging may warrant adding these nutrition supplements to your diet! Malabsorption and decreased food intake are two reasons vitamin and mineral supplements may be necessary.

5 recommended vitamin & mineral supplements for seniors

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

We have too little of these essential fatty acids in our diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are called “essential” because we must actually consume through our diet (as opposed to our body making the nutrient). While fish can be a good contributor of omega-3-fatty acids, eating fish a few times a week is not necessarily going to be insurance that your requirements are met. Other food sources include walnuts and flaxseed, but consistency is key. Take a fish oil supplement a few times a week if you aren’t eating fish, seeds, and nuts on a regular basis.

Nutrition supplements for seniors should include CoQ10

We make this nutrient, but we make less of it as we age. If you are taking a statin drug to lower your cholesterol level, the drug will limit your body’s ability to make this nutrient. Consider taking CoQ10 if you are aging or on a cholesterol lowering statin! CoQ10 may also play a role in wrinkle prevention and help with migraines and fibromyalgia.

Magnesium supplements for seniors should include magnesium

While distributed in a wide variety of foods, my clients are often consuming too little of this nutrient. Food preparation, including washing and peeling, easily washes away magnesium. Eating less food, which happens often in seniors’ diets, will also decrease magnesium intake. The health benefits of magnesium are widespread.

Vitamin D

A simple blood draw can easily assess your blood vitamin D status. Unfortunately, most people trend to low blood vitamin D levels. While we can make this vitamin, we definitely make less as we age. Increased use of sunscreen will further decrease production of vitamin D. With mounting evidence that vitamin D plays roles in promoting strong bones, healthy blood pressure, fighting infection, and decreasing inflammation and cancer risk, supplementation is frequently warranted.

Nutrition supplements for seniors should include calcium

If you skip the dairy group, there is a good chance you may not be meeting your calcium requirements. Calcium is important for more than our bones. It also protects against colon cancer and high blood pressure. If you opt out of drinking regular milk and eating dairy products, choose soy, rice, or almond milk. Just make sure the brand you choose is fortified with calcium. If you avoid these products altogether, consider a supplement. Consume 1000 mg up to 50 years of age; for 50+ the requirements increase to 1200 mg.

Take away

nutrition supplements for seniors

My preference is always going to be to get nutrients through food. However, eating less as we age, medication, and lifestyle may impact our nutritional status. If you eat less, you consume less of the vital nutrients you need. Nutrition supplements can fill that gap to help protect your overall future health status.

Any one have other supplements they think we should be taking as we get older?

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Sue Rose, MS, RD, LDN

Sue Rose helps readers sort through the maze of nutrition information available to the public. As a seasoned clinical dietitian/nutritionist with decades of experience, her blogs attempt to educate and inform the public at a time when there is so much information it is often overwhelming to understand. Stay tuned for clarity on a variety of topics!

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Disclaimer

Use this information at your own risk. Although I am a licensed IL dietitian/nutritionist, I am not your dietitian. The information in my blog Chew on This located at www.mydietmatters.com is for educational and informational purposes only. It is also my own opinion and subject to change in the future. Please consult with your own medical professionals for individual treatment.