Throughout the various stages of life, people require different nutritional considerations. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to certain vitamin deficiencies, such as antioxidants like vitamins C and E; minerals, like calcium and magnesium; and B vitamins such as folic acid and B12. Optimal health for seniors means they receive the proper nutritional support, which can be achieved through vitamin and mineral supplements.
Immune-enhancing carotenoids can be difficult for seniors to receive on a daily basis since it requires consuming at least four yellow and orange colored fruits and vegetables a day and at least two to three dark green vegetables a day. Therefore, seniors who don't receive enough fruits and vegetable every day can find it beneficial to supplement with an alpha carotene, beta carotene, lutein and lycopene complex.
For older adults who don't receive enough unfiltered sunlight every day, supplementing with vitamin D can be beneficial for helping to maintain bone health and enhancing the immune system. For those 51 to 70 years of age, 400 IU is recommended, and for those over 70 years of age, 600 IU is typically recommended.
For older adults, B vitamins are essential for optimum health, particularly B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid) and B12 (cobalamin). These three B vitamins work in synergy to help prevent heart disease. The recommended daily intake for B vitamins is 100 mg.
Vitamin E and Vitamin C
Both vitamin E and vitamin C are antioxidant vitamins necessary for a strong immune system. For older adults, 500 mg of vitamin C twice daily can assist with improving blood pressure, reduce the risk of developing certain cancers and can help aid in cardiovascular health. Supplementing with 400 IU of vitamin E every day can prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, most particularly for women.
Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential component for cellular health. Since these fatty acids are not manufactured by the body, they must be acquired through the foods we eat or through supplements. Omega 3s can protect the heart, lower cholesterol levels and can even help with arthritis. A good combination is an oil that contains both DHS and EPA acids, such as a flaxseed/fish oil combination. Dosage typically depends on your weight, so check the product label for proper daily dosage.
Calcium deficiency can be prevalent in older people since it's common for people to obtain their daily calcium intake through dairy products and many individuals experience lactose intolerance as they grow older. Both men and women over 50 years of age benefit from taking a daily calcium supplement of 1000 mg.
Iron and DHEA
As iron is one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies in the world, it's not uncommon to find iron deficiency in older men. Men should strive to achieve a daily dose of 10 to 12 mg of iron to help prevent anemia and vision impairment. For women, DHEA supplements after menopause can help improve bone density in the spine. (Dosage for DHEA depends on your age and health condition, so check with your doctor prior to supplementing with DHEA).
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