What Supplements Should Seniors Take?
As we age, we are more at risk of nutrient deficiencies. Supplements can be an effective way to ensure seniors get the nutrients they need. There are so many choices available and it can be easy to wonder, “What supplements should seniors take?”
In our senior years, our organs begin to slow down, making it more difficult to absorb nutrients from our food and convert them into what the body needs. Moreover, many seniors have restricted diets due to health conditions or they may suffer from an inability to chew, taste, digest, or from a loss of appetite. All of these things can be cause for adding supplements to their diet.
1) Before starting a supplement plan, consult your physician to determine which supplements are most important for you to take. Seniors who are taking prescription drugs should make sure not to skip this step since supplements can interfere or interact poorly with medications. Always notify your doctor to let him or her know what supplements you are taking. Your doctor needs to have all of your health information in front of them to be able to make accurate and effective diagnoses and decisions regarding your health.
2) Aim to get the majority of the nutrients your body needs from the foods you eat. Supplements are meant to supplement a healthy diet, not replace it. Learn about how to eat a healthy diet by reading this article: Medicinal Foods are the Key to Optimal Health.
3) Refer to our article, How to Know What Supplements You Should Take, to learn which supplements you personally should take since not every senior is going to need the same supplement plan.
Still Wondering What Supplements Should Seniors Take?
We’ll now list some of the most popular supplements that seniors take, although you should be sure to follow the steps above to make sure that you aren’t taking something you either don’t need or that will be harmful to your health.
Calcium – As we age, calcium is not stored in our bones as effectively, putting us at risk for osteoporosis. A calcium supplement can be a good way to ensure your body is getting what it needs.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D is essential because it helps the body absorb calcium, which helps to maintain healthy bones and teeth. Plus, Vitamin D has been shown to combat osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, type-2 diabetes, depression and even cancer. As we age, our bodies begin to lose their abilities to absorb vitamin D. Laxatives, certain anti-cholesterol medications, and lactose intolerance can also affect a person’s ability to absorb vitamin D, making a vitamin D supplement beneficial.
Iron – This essential mineral keeps our red blood cells healthy, and without adequate amounts, anemia can result. Aging bodies absorb less iron through the foods they eat. In addition, any time blood is lost, such as from surgery, an injury or bleeding caused by ulcers, iron deficiencies can result. Many seniors can benefit from an iron supplement.
B12 – This important vitamin is needed by every cell in the body. Aging bodies often don’t absorb the amount of B12 their bodies need. B12 maintains the body’s central nervous system, metabolism regulation and red blood cell production. Deficiencies in B12 can reveal themselves as fatigue, weakness, anemia, constipation and loss of appetite. Any seniors who are taking the following meds should check with their doctors before taking B12 since it can interfere with the medications: Metformin, proton pump inhibitors, histamines and certain antibiotics.
Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – Each cell in the body requires CoQ10 for proper repair and growth. As we age or develop certain diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes or Parkinson’s disease, or if we take Statin medications, our CoQ10 levels can get depleted. Since CoQ10 increases blood clotting, people who are taking Warfarin or other anti-coagulants should not take CoQ10. It can also interfere with chemotherapy treatments.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – These healthy fats have been shown to help with arthritis, dementia, heart disease, depression and cancer. People with diabetes and seniors who are taking blood pressure or blood thinning medications should consult a doctor before adding an omega-3 supplement.
Vitamin C – This vitamin is an antioxidant that prevents disease and boosts the immune system. It also has the important job of helping the body produce collagen, which repairs wounds, and produces healthy skin, bones and teeth.
Additional Herbal Formulations for Seniors:
Herbal supplement formulations are another effective way to support your health in your senior years, and it can be an easy way to address specific health issues. We’ve listed some of the most popular herbal formulations that seniors can benefit from below.
Herbal Laxatives – Many seniors suffer from constipation, but living on over-the-counter laxatives like Ex-Lax can be harsh on the body and can cause unwanted side effects. Herbal laxatives can be a healthy and effective alternative to synthetic laxatives. We like Erba Vita Clean Lax.
Digestive Support – Hippocrates, who is known as the father of medicine, is quoted as saying, “All disease begins in the gut.” When we heal any digestive issues that might exist and prevent new ones from arising, we set ourselves up for true and lasting health. Seniors can benefit from taking a quality digestive enzyme, like Erba Vita Digest to heal and protect their gut. In addition, supporting the body with herbal remedies instead of over-the-counter drugs for ailments like stomachaches and acid reflux is also beneficial. Try herbal remedies like Erba Vita Gastro and Erba Vita Acid.
Immune Support – The stronger we maintain our immune system throughout the aging process, the more our bodies can support the health and wellness that will carry us into old age. We like the quality and effectiveness of Erba Vita Immune Act.
There is no simple solution to answering the question, what supplements should seniors take? Each person is different, and their current health, their limitations and their lifestyle will dictate what they should be taking to support their health and wellbeing.