Regardless of age, your eating habits will impact your strength, energy, and how you feel. However, what it means to eat healthily and get all your vitamins and nutrients will change as you grow older. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), body metabolism slows down as you age, meaning your body requires more vitamins and nutrients.
Older adults don’t make enough of the right vitamins and nutrients in their body and often suffer from vitamin deficiencies that can make their daily chores and activities difficult. To stay in tip-top shape, many seniors take supplements on top of their diet.
As you age, the following vitamins and nutrients will become increasingly crucial to maintaining your health:
Calcium, the most abundant mineral found in the body, fosters bone growth, development, and healthy teeth. What many people don’t know is that it also helps regulate muscle contraction and form healthy blood clots.
When your body doesn’t produce enough calcium, it procures calcium from your bones, resulting in bone density loss. This puts an individual at risk of developing osteoporosis. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), around 10 million people in the U.S have osteoporosis (a condition in which bones become brittle and weak). Older adults above 65 years old account for 70 percent of cases.
The two primary forms of calcium are carbonate and citrate. You can find supplements for both forms as pills or chewable tablets.
Your body mass produces a protein called collagen needed for holding your bones, skin, teeth, ligaments, and tendons in place. Despite its abundance, the body produces less collagen as you age. According to the NCBI, wrinkling skin often indicates collagen depletion because collagen helps keep skin firm and elastic.
Fortunately, you can find collagen supplements online and in many drug stores and grocery stores. They come in easily-digestible capsules, and there are also many benefits of collagen powder, which you can add to smoothies and drinks.
The human body cannot digest fiber, a carbohydrate generally found in plant-based foods, yet consuming fiber has significant health benefits—for example, fiber aids with digestion, stool regularity, weight management, and healthy cholesterol. Eating a high-fiber diet can help older individuals prevent certain kinds of cancer and help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels.
You can buy fiber supplements in the form of insulin tablets and methylcellulose, available as a powder or pill.
Iron is an essential mineral found in hemoglobin that transports oxygen throughout the body. Many older adults, especially women, have iron deficiencies. Iron deficiency-related medical conditions may cause blood loss and eventually lead to anemia; people with anemia often experience symptoms like fatigue, palpitations, and pale skin.
To increase your iron intake, you can take supplements in pill, liquid, or salt form.
Magnesium contributes to enzyme reactions, muscle contractions, and nerve functioning. It keeps bones healthy, lowers the risk of diabetes, and prevents migraines. Inadequate diets and medical conditions such as hungry bone syndrome and poor absorption often lead to seniors’ magnesium deficiencies.
Magnesium supplements come as gummies, capsules, liquids, and powders.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These polyunsaturated fatty acids play a crucial role in your overall health. Omega-3 fatty acids help lower triglyceride (bad cholesterol) levels and reduce your risk of heart diseases. Apart from this, the fatty acids also decrease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Many seniors supplement omega-3 fatty acid consumption by taking fish oil capsules.
Potassium is a mineral that helps regulate body functions such as blood pressure, muscle contractions, heart rhythm, and nerve impulses. In older adults, insufficient potassium intake causes improper cell function and higher risks of kidney stones. Also, nerve responses weaken over time, and potassium helps restore these functions.
You can purchase potassium supplements in the form of capsules, tablets, and powders.
To maintain a healthy digestive system, your gut needs healthy yeast and bacteria. Consuming more probiotics, which contain live bacteria and yeast, can help scenarios who experience frequent diarrhea or have irritable bowel syndrome.
Besides adding probiotics to your diet, you can take probiotics as capsules, gummies, powders, and drink infusions.
- Vitamin B-12
This vitamin keeps your blood cells and nerves functioning properly. Metabolism and production rates drop in older adults, and B-12 helps generate new blood cells and proper functioning of the nervous system.
Unflavored or flavored powders, drinks, gummies, and capsules are the most commonly available forms of vitamin B-12.
- Vitamin D
When your body absorbs sunshine, it creates Vitamin D. This nutrient helps you absorb calcium and phosphorus from the food you eat. Since calcium production already decreases with age, the inability to absorb calcium can contribute to significant bone degeneration over time. Drink, powder, capsule, and gummy vitamin D supplements can help prevent this from happening.
Take the Road to Better Health
Supplements can go a long way to promote better health and prevent or decrease symptoms of vitamin deficiencies. If combined with healthy exercise and other best practices for health maintenance, taking the right vitamins and minerals can lead to a long, comfortable life.