The Best Supplements for Older Adults

Staring at a wall of supplements in the drugstore can be overwhelming, to say the least. Which ones do you actually need? Do you choose a multivitamin, or should you take them separately? According to the National Institute on Aging, people over 50 may not be getting the key nutrients they need and may benefit from supplementation. As we age, our bodies require fewer calories, and certain health conditions can hinder absorption. An article published by Perdue University says taking a supplement shouldn’t be a substitute for poor eating habits, and care should be taken as certain vitamins can interact with prescription medications. To narrow down the endless options out there, these supplements come out on top for older adults.

B12 is important for healthy nerves, and red blood cells, as well as for energy. Available in food sources such as shellfish, meat, and dairy, people on vegan diets who don’t consume animal foods, should take a supplement or consume B12 fortified food products.

Vitamin D, aka the sunshine vitamin, is crucial for bone health, preventing pathologic fractures, and absorbing calcium. Seniors can benefit greatly from taking a supplement especially during the winter months where more time is spent indoors. Food sources include fatty fish, liver, mushrooms, and fortified dairy. A blood test can be done to determine if there is a deficiency.

Calcium is D’s partner in crime for building strong, healthy bones. They are best taken together because Vitamin D helps boost calcium absorption. Contrary to “Got Milk” advertisements, dairy isn’t the only dietary source. Dark leafy greens, broccoli, tofu, and almond milk contain adequate amounts of calcium and are great for lactose intolerant folks.

Iron is an important mineral to ensure a healthy number of red blood cells. Iron deficient anemia can cause symptoms such as weakness, and fatigue. It’s important to check with your doctor when choosing an iron supplement to know which is right for you. Side effects such as constipation may occur, so do your research before you buy.

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