Choosing The Right Supplements For Over 50s
In an ideal world, you would get all of your nutrients from eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods. Despite trying to maintain a balanced eating plan, many older adults still struggle to stick to a healthy eating regime. In fact, studies show that over 90% of Americans are not getting enough micronutrients they need for optimal health, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This is often due to the lack of appetite, fixed budgets, eating issues, and even the difficulties in finding a variety of healthy food products in local markets.
As we age, our bodies need more vitamins and minerals. When you enter your 50s, the rapid hormonal changes in your body may make your target quotes more challenging to meet on a daily basis. Thus, the need for supplementing your diet with key nutrients are vital in helping you stay in your best shape. With so many supplements available on the market, where do you even begin to find the best ones that fit your needs?
Consider your food, first
Supplements won’t do much unless you are actually deficient in several nutrients. When it comes to taking supplements, only take vitamins that fill potential gaps in your daily diet while still attempting to meet your nutritional needs through food. Nearly 10% of Americans don’t get enough calcium, dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, and omega-3’s according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Studies also reveal that we’re lacking in vitamins A, D, E, C, and choline, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020. However, these nutrients have one thing in common: they can all be found in plant-based foods, fortified dairy products, and seafood.
How Vitamins Can help Maintain A Healthy Diet
Older adults have different needs when it comes to the amount of required daily vitamins and minerals. For example, the right amount of vitamin D can help your body better consume calcium and prevent broken bones. If you are unable to get all the nutrients from food alone, now’s the time to talk to your doctor and determine if dietary supplements are right for you. After all, it is always good to ensure that you take supplements in the recommended daily allowance.
Keep in mind that not all supplements are evaluated for safety and efficacy by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Thus, it is important to check if the supplements you plan on taking follow the FDA’s Food Manufacturing Practices and have been tested by credible sources like USP Certified, ConsumerLab.com, and NSP for Sport. This will ensure that there are no harmful substances, such as lead, in the product themselves.
Iron for healthy blood flow
One mineral that is often overlooked is iron. However, this essential mineral plays several roles in the body, such as producing red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body. Unless there is a known risk for an iron deficiency due to a recent operation, blood loss, or a vegan diet, older adults should not include iron supplements without being advised by their doctor. Fortunately, there are ways to simply improve iron absorption from your daily diet by consuming red meat, eggs, wholegrain products, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, along with nuts and seeds.
Vitamin D for better calcium absorption
Our body absorbs most of our Vitamin D from natural sunlight. It is also found in a variety of foods including eggs, yogurt, margarine, oily fish, and fortified breakfast cereals. However, due to the changes in weather and other lifestyle factors, people over the age of 50 are at risk of not getting enough vitamin D, especially when they are less exposed to the sun. Depending on your location, it can be difficult to meet the daily Vitamin D needs through diet and sunlight alone. For this reason, over-50s are recommended to take 10mg of vitamin D per day.
Calcium for stronger muscles
There is little reason in the 21st century for anyone to have a calcium deficiency, but sadly, this isn’t always the case. Clinical research shows that women over 50 years old and men over 70 struggle with consuming enough calcium. Known for its role in strengthening your bones, calcium can be found in a variety of dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt. If you are likely to have osteoporosis, talk to your doctor about including calcium supplements into your daily routine.
Should your doctor advise you to take a calcium supplement, it is also important to note that too much calcium can increase the risk of stroke and kidney stones. Be sure to stick within the daily recommended allowance.
Vitamin B12 for cognitive health and energy
Vitamin B12 isn’t a one-size-fits-all vitamin, as there are several types that play different roles within the body. This includes helping to break down energy from food consumption, forming red blood cells, and keeping the eyes, skin, and nervous system in great condition. With a B12 deficiency, individuals are more at risk of anaemia and developing neurological disorders like memory loss. That is why it’s recommended that older adults get their daily recommended intake from fortified foods and dietary supplements.
Magnesium for overall mind and body wellness
Magnesium may be the most vital mineral of them all. It is involved in hundreds of biochemical processes in the body, including energy production, bone development, and blood pressure. Magnesium is also essential for transporting potassium and calcium across cell membranes, which is vital for healthy nerve, muscle, and heart functions. Not to mention, getting adequate magnesium may also help you sleep better due to the healthy functioning GABA receptors.
As dietary supplements can play a beneficial role in your health, the key to success is to follow a balanced diet that is loaded with natural minerals. As most people may need supplements to meet their nutritional goals, consult with a registered nutritionist to help you evaluate your dietary requirements and determine which supplements are right for you.