Vitamin supplements are an important part of our daily diets as they provide nutrients we don’t always get from our meals. However, as we age and hit our 60’s and older, should we be taking the same vitamins as when we we were in our 30’s and 40’s?
Our common sense says, probably not. Our body is different, our brains process information differently, and our health faces different challenges.
For example, as you age, your body loses more calcium than you can absorb. Low calcium levels can lead to bone fractures, especially for women after menopause. Calcium is super important as it helps muscles, nerves, and blood vessels function problem free. Therefore, women over 50 and men over 70 should get about 20% calcium more than younger adults. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources.
Let’s take a look at which vitamin supplements are most helpful to seniors.
B12 is a key vitamin for senior citizens. It makes blood and nerve cells. Unfortunately, about 30% of people over 50 have a condition called atrophic gastritis that makes it harder for their bodies to absorb B12 from foods. A B12 supplement can make a big positive difference.
Vitamin D for seniors is like candy to a kid; necessary. It strengthens muscles, nerves, and the immune system. Aging bodies are less able to convert sun’s rays to vitamin D. And as absorption rates decline in seniors, it’s also harder to get this vitamin from foods.
B6 fights germs. And some studies have found links between high B6 blood levels in seniors and better memory. Food sources are chickpeas, liver, and fish.
Magnesium regulates blood sugar and keeps bones strong. As seniors may suffer from digestive problems, a supplement can be very helpful.
The body can’t make these fatty acids, called Omega’3. These fatty acids help to support vision, memory, and cognitive function. Foods that are rich in omega-3’s are fish, walnuts, canola oil, or flaxseed.