As you age, your health changes dramatically. In addition to changing your appearance and emotions, aging also changes your body’s nutritional requirements. For this reason, supplementation can be necessary for the elderly.
Do nutritional needs change with age?
As we age, our body undergoes many changes, many of which can change our nutritional needs and increase our risk for nutrient deficiencies. As a result, the stomach produces less acid, which inhibits the absorption of micronutrients such as vitamins B6 and B12, iron, and calcium. Thus, adults over the age of 50 should consume more of these nutrients.
People over 70 have reduced bone mass, which is why they need more calcium and vitamin D. People over 65 should consume more protein to prevent sarcopenia (muscle loss). Postmenopausal women also need less iron. They lose less blood after menopause.
It can be challenging to measure their nutritional needs as they age since many people lose their appetite. For this reason, supplementation is recommended for the elderly.
Are you in need of supplements?
Not everyone needs supplements. Many people can meet their nutritional needs simply by eating a nutritious and balanced diet. However, some people may benefit from taking a nutritional supplement. Supplements are recommended for people whose nutrient absorption is reduced due to illness or who are at risk of nutritional deficiencies due to medications.
Dieters with certain dietary restrictions may need to take supplements to meet their nutritional needs. Vegetarians, for instance, are unable to meet their iron, vitamin B12, or omega-3 fatty acid requirements. These nutrients are more abundant in animal products. Vegetarians who avoid other animal products such as dairy and eggs may be deficient in calcium, iodine, and zinc. A calcium-rich diet is essential for the elderly at risk of osteoporosis.
Lactose intolerant people should limit their calcium intake. Age increases the risk of lactose intolerance, and the inability to consume dairy products can lead to calcium deficiency.
Food sources of vitamin D are rare, so people who are not exposed to sunlight may need to supplement. Vitamin D deficiency is common in nursing homes, and supplements should be recommended for the elderly.
What is the best supplement for the elderly?
A list of dietary supplements that can help control some of the changes associated with aging follows.
Calcium is the best supplement for the elderly. Calcium is a mineral that is vital to bone health. Osteoporosis is more common in women as they age. Maintaining bone density is possible with calcium supplements, especially if you don’t get enough calcium from foods. It has been shown that vitamin D intake can improve calcium absorption, so some supplements combine calcium and vitamin D.
Various forms of calcium are available in dietary supplements. Calcium carbonate supplements should be taken with food to improve absorption. The drugs that lower stomach acid can prevent calcium carbonate from being absorbed by older people. Supplements containing calcium citrate are more easily absorbed and do not need to be taken with food.
While studies show that increased calcium intake improves bone density, it is unclear whether it can also prevent bone fractures. In addition to calcium, other factors such as smoking, not exercising, and the decrease in estrogen and testosterone with age also affect bone density.
2. Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are good fats for the heart and can help fight inflammation. Omega-3s protect brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to scientific evidence. Furthermore, it reduces the symptoms of osteoarthritis and prevents heart disease. To meet your omega-3 needs, you can eat fish and take fish oil supplements, krill oil, or algae oil.
Various parts of the body contain collagen, including the skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Because collagen production decreases with age, some older people choose to take collagen supplements. Research shows collagen supplements can improve skin elasticity and reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis, including joint pain and stiffness.
4. Coenzyme Q10
The coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) plays an important role in energy production, and its deficiency has been linked to several diseases, such as heart failure, type 2 diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. It is often recommended to increase CoQ10 consumption through food or supplements in order to achieve healthy aging and prevent disease as the body’s production decreases with age.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is made in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Foods are naturally low in vitamin D, which is why many people are deficient in it.
Older people are more likely to be vitamin D deficient. In order to reduce their risk of skin cancer, they may avoid sun exposure or spend more time indoors than young people.
In addition to increasing calcium absorption, vitamin D supplements also improve muscle mass, strengthen the immune system, and reduce depressive symptoms. These benefits are most evident in those who are deficient in this vitamin.
6. B vitamins
Health benefits of B vitamins include energy production, DNA repair, immune system health, and brain function. Their deficiency in the elderly is even linked to cognitive decline, osteoporosis, and heart disease.
The majority of healthy adults are able to meet their needs for some B vitamins such as folate (vitamin B9), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and thiamine (vitamin B1) by following a balanced diet; however, some may need to be supplemented.
If you follow a very restricted diet or are undernourished due to illness, you should take supplements. People over 50 are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency and should consult a doctor or nutritionist about the need for a supplement.
Older adults need more protein than younger adults. Protein intake is associated with increased muscle mass and improved muscle function in the elderly.
Muscle mass and strength decrease as we age, which increases the risk of falling and makes daily activities more difficult. Protein powder can be added to a variety of foods, such as smoothies or pancakes, for those who need more protein.