Vitamins, minerals, and supplements – oh my! 70% of seniors are taking them; but are they actually necessary as we get older? After all, a healthy, balanced diet offers seniors necessary nutrients. But there are specific areas of deficiency which could make a case for the addition of a supplement. Be sure to check with the physician prior to making any changes, however with their approval, consider these recommendation vitamins for seniors:
Older bones are susceptible to fractures and breaks when calcium intake is insufficient. This is especially true for post-menopausal women, with a staggering 50% of those over age 50 breaking a bone because of osteoporosis. However, men are also at risk for significant complications from calcium deficiency. A hip fracture in men, for instance, is more likely to be fatal than it is for women.
The very best natural sources for calcium are salmon, leafy greens, kale, broccoli, and dairy products, but the majority of women over age 50 and men over age 70 are not getting enough calcium from food alone. The NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements recommends 1,200 mg of calcium daily for women over age 51 and men over age 71, and 1,000 mg each day for men ages 51 – 70.
Vitamin D is calcium’s best friend. They work most effectively when taken together to enhance not only bone health, but the nervous and immune systems and perhaps the heart as well. Sunshine is the greatest source for vitamin D, but aging skin in addition to the risk of skin cancer may cause roadblocks to obtaining adequate levels.
Recommendations are 15 mcg/600 IU per day up to age 70, and 20 mcg/800 IU per day for anyone over age 71. If vitamin D supplements are advised by a physician, they should always be taken with food for optimal absorption.
Deficiencies of vitamin B12 are common in seniors, and even more so for people who take certain prescription drugs (particularly gastric acid inhibitors or metformin). Without adequate vitamin B12, seniors are far more at risk of developing anemia, neuropathy or nerve damage, depression, balance problems, poor memory, confusion, and dementia.
The NIH recommends 2.4 mcg per day, which may be acquired through a diet high in clams and fish, poultry, meat, liver, eggs, milk, and fortified cereals. And unlike other vitamins and minerals, even large quantities of vitamin B12 have not been found to cause harm, in accordance with the NIH.
Not sure which supplements are ideal for a senior you love? Let one of Serenity Home Care’s caregivers offer transportation and accompaniment to the doctor’s office to find out. Reach out to us at 250-590-8098 for more information about how we can help improve senior health with award-winning home care assistance in Victoria and nearby communities.