Four Supplements Seniors Should Take

Four Supplements Seniors Should Take

August 31, 2015

With so many choices of supplements and ever-changing evidence, it is difficult to know which ones are necessary and what they can do for your health. There are 4 dietary supplements qualified as ones every older adult should seriously consider.

Multivitamins: As people get older, their diets may not be as well balanced as they once were, or they take in less food in an effort to control weight in the face of declining metabolic rates. It's hard to meet all nutritional needs unless you have adequate calorie intakes. Also, impaired capacity to absorb nutrients in foods make taking a multivitamin every day good insurance for all adults.


Vitamin D: 90% of adults 51-70% are deficient in vitamin D. A NIH panel urged postmenopausal women to take D and calcium supplements to protect bone health. Higher levels of vitamin D intake are recommended for older men and women because the amount made by the body decreases with age. Without vitamin D, bones can become brittle and thin, potentially leading to osteoporosis. Currently the recommendation is 400-600IU a day but many researchers believe 1000-2000IU is better.


Calcium: Many experts recommend taking the vitamin D supplement with 1200 mg of calcium for optimal bone health. Splitting the dose provides for better absorption. Calcium is good for bone health, muscle function, and blood pressure regulation.


Fish Oil-Omega 3 Fatty Acids: For those who don't eat much fish, a supplement of omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil would be beneficial. Fish oil is good for triglyceride reduction and cardiovascular health. Ask you RD or health care professional for recommendations on products and dose.


Special Needs Supplements: Studies have found anti-oxidants like C, E, and beta carotene as well as selenium may be beneficial for early stage macular degeneration (for those who don't smoke). Consider taking CoQ10 if you are taking a statin drug for cholesterol reduction. Glucosamine has been found to be effective for those with osteoarthritis of the knee.


In summary, discuss any new supplements with your physician or health care provider. Do not try to substitute supplements for a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low fat dairy (unless you have an allergy to dairy).


(Information for this article obtained from the UCLA Division of Geriatrics)

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Diet and Nutrients , Dietary Supplements