It is fact that as you get older you require fewer calories in your daily diet. However, despite needing fewer calories the need for vitamins may actually increase with age. (source)
Along with other factors which we will explore further on, this can lead to a deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals because the nutrients you are getting from your diet alone may not be sufficient.
In order to ensure your maximum overall health, it’s a good idea to fill the gaps with a daily multivitamin.
Why Take a Multivitamin?
Ideally we would eat a perfectly balanced diet every day and get our daily micronutrients from fresh and healthy foods, but looking at the population as a whole, that is not happening.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states only 33% of adults meet the recommendation for fruit consumption and only 27% get their recommended servings of vegetables per day. This is even more difficult for older people because as we mentioned above, they don’t have as many calories to work with as their younger counterparts.
Vitamins should never be your go-to substitute or excuse for an unbalanced diet as your body absorbs nutrients much more easily from food than from a tablet.
Some seniors spend the majority of their day indoors are not getting vitamin D provided by the sun, and another problem is their low dietary intakes. They go on to say that despite needing fewer calories, the body still needs the vitamins, and the need for those vitamins may actually increase with age.
Another issue for seniors is decreased absorption of vitamins due to gastric imbalances. Jim English wrote in an article for Nutrition Review that our body’s ability to properly digest food and absorb vital nutrients declines with advancing age.
This is because of reduced production of stomach acids. Most adults do not get enough B vitamins because of the gastric imbalance. Therefore, it is wise to look for multivitamins high in vitamin B.
Some seniors have food intolerances or allergies that prevent them from eating certain foods thus causing them to have vitamin deficiencies.
Why Should Women of a Certain Age Take Multivitamins?
Age 51 is the average age when women enter the menopause and the fatigue, night sweats, and hot flashes begin. Women have looked to many types of treatments to ease their symptoms, and many are now turning to daily multivitamin supplements. Some have ingredients that can alleviate symptoms and help with bodily changes that accompany menopause.
WebMD states that bone loss becomes a serious concern because hormone levels drop after the onset of menopause. Calcium is crucial. Women under 51 should take 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. Women 51 and older should consume 1,200 milligrams a day.
To better absorb the calcium, the body needs vitamin D. Find a multivitamin that contains at least 600 IU of vitamin D. Locating ginseng on the vitamin bottle label would be another plus because it is a natural mood booster.
Which Vitamins do Seniors Need?
Our bodies wear down over time, and it’s common for aging adults to use multivitamins because certain vitamins can help with memory retention, slowing of osteoporosis, and vision deterioration.
AARP published a list of the micronutrients that adults 50 and older should consume along with their recommended daily allowances and benefits. The best multivitamin for seniors should contain these chart topping micronutrients:
- Vitamin A – keeps immune system healthy and aids in vision
- Vitamin B1 or thiamine – helps keep brain and nerve cells healthy and helpsconvert food to energy
- Vitamin B2 or riboflavin – aids in red cell production and converting food toenergy
- Vitamin B3 or niacin – helps convert food to energy and proper digestive function
- Vitamin B4 or pyridoxine – helps produce red blood cells
- Vitamin B12 – aids in keeping nervous system and red blood cells healthy
- Vitamin C – aids wound healing, immune system boosting, and growth and repair oftissues
- Vitamin D – aids in calcium absorption and protects from certain diseases
- Vitamin E – aids in preventing cell damage
- Folic Acid – helps form red blood cells and to make DNA
- Vitamin K – helps with blood clotting and strong bones
- Calcium – for healthy teeth and bones
- Chromium – helps to regulate blood sugar levels
- Iodine – helps with thyroid function and to prevent goiter
- Iron – for healthy red blood cells
- Magnesium – healthy immune system and strong bones
- Potassium – helps control blood pressure, helps regulate water balance, and thefunctioning of the heart, kidney, muscles, and nerve function
- Selenium – makes proteins that prevent cell damage
- Zinc – helps wounds heal and keeps sense of smell and taste keen
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids – aids in blood clotting, cell division, and musclecontraction and relaxation
Take Precautions Before Choosing
It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about selecting a multivitamin especially if you are on prescription medications because vitamins can interact. For example, if you are on blood-thinning medication there are restrictions for any supplementation. Your healthcare provider will be able to inform you about any possible interactions and help you to avoid side effects.
Overall, the Centrum Silver Multivitamin Supplement is my pick for the best multivitamin for seniors. It contains all of the necessary nutrients at a reasonable price point. It takes care of your body’s needs from head to toe.
For aging adults, multivitamin supplements can play a tremendous role in maintaining health. It’s important to use them appropriately and in conjunction with healthy diet and exercise habits. We hoped we have helped narrow down the choices and helped you find the best multivitamin for seniors.
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