As we age, it becomes more difficult for our bodies to absorb crucial vitamins and minerals essential for maintaining optimal health.
This is the main reason why supplementation needs tend to increase with age as it becomes more and more difficult to get sufficient amounts of these vitamins and minerals from diet alone.
If carefully measured, it is certainly possible for a healthy diet and lifestyle to provide us with all of the essential nutrients needed to stay healthy after 50.
However, the truth is that most people’s lives are simply too busy to consistently track their daily vitamin servings and most of us end up falling short.
As we get older, these gaps can lead to nutritional deficiencies and health issues much more rapidly.
Therefore, the short answer is that although each individual is different, certain supplements are generally recommended and shown to be very helpful in adults over 50.
As we get older, stomach acid levels naturally begin to decrease, leaving us less able to metabolize key vitamins. This means that after 50, we will start to require greater amounts of certain vitamins in order to make up the difference.
In general, it’s also common for appetite to lessen as we age, for mobility issues to result in less time spent cooking, and for dental issues to sometimes prevent the consumption of harder, denser foods.
Although a dietary supplement should never be a substitute for a nutritionally balanced diet, certain supplements (like an ‘Over 50’ multivitamin) can help fill in targeted nutritional gaps that may pose greater risks as we age.
Our bones naturally begin to weaken and become more susceptible to fractures with age. This is where calcium can help, by maintaining strong, healthy bones and preventing bone degeneration. Some examples of calcium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, dairy, fatty fish like sardines, sesame seeds, and broccoli. Many studies suggest trying to rely on food sources for your calcium needs after 50, as some research shows calcium supplements may not be equally as effective and may cause gastrointestinal upset.
Produced by your body after sun exposure, as well as found in foods such as milk, egg yolks, and fatty fish, vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium and can also help boost your defenses against certain age-related illnesses. It's believed that as little as 10 percent of women over age 50 get adequate amounts of vitamin D from diet alone. This is why a quality vitamin D supplement can be especially helpful for filling in the gaps.
This B vitamin is essential for boosting energy and mood, as well as protecting against a certain type of anemia (megaloblastic anemia) that can leave you feeling exhausted and weak. This vitamin is crucial for keeping your nerves and blood cells healthy and also helps create DNA. Vitamin B12 requires stomach acid in order to be properly absorbed by the body, which is produced in smaller and smaller amounts as we age.
This important "B Complex" vitamin also helps protect your nerves and is essential in the formation of your immune system's red blood cells. Vitamin B-6 is often considered to be one of the most important B vitamins for adults over 50, because it helps the body create several neurotransmitters and without it, B-12 cannot be absorbed. Vitamin B-6 can be found in foods such as bananas, potatoes, and chicken.
Some studies have found this supplement effective in preventing age-related cognitive decline and fatigue. It may help improve memory and mood and although naturally produced in the body, it is usually taken as a supplement. In food, ALCAR can be found in some amount in poultry, milk, cheese, asparagus, wheat bread, and codfish.
It’s always best to consult with your personal care physician a registered dietician before beginning a new supplement regimen, since dietary supplements can sometimes interact with prescription medications required for certain existing conditions.
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