3 vitamins you might need if you’re 50 or older
Be sure to talk to your doctor to find out if vitamin D2 or D3 is more suitable for you. (D2 is herbal and more often prescribed by healthcare providers; D3 is animal-based and more common over-the-counter, experts at the Cleveland Clinic explain.) And don’t forget to ask. if vitamin D can affect the medicines you are taking. currently take. Some cholesterol-lowering statins like atorvastatin (brand name Lipitor) may not work as well if you take vitamin D supplements. Likewise, orlistat, a weight loss drug, can reduce the amount of vitamin D your body absorbs. from foods and supplements, according to the NIH.
Your health care provider can also advise you on how much vitamin D to take. Some reports published over the past 10 years have recommended supplementing up to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day. “But more recent clinical trials have suggested that the amount of intake has no benefits (no harm either), so this may not be the best generic approach for everyone,” Chan said. .
Yet excessive doses – the daily upper limit for adults is 100 mcg / 4000 IU – can do terrible things for the body: vomiting, confusion, dehydration, muscle weakness, and more. Extremely high levels of vitamin D can lead to kidney failure and death.
Remember how aging makes it harder for the body to use calcium? What about vitamin D?
When it comes to vitamin B12, the elderly are also at a disadvantage. That’s because aging impacts the body’s ability to absorb this essential nutrient, which plays an important role in regulating blood, nerve, and genetic health, according to the NIH.
Older people who are vegetarians or vegans, who take the diabetes medication metformin, or who take stomach acid inhibitors to treat certain digestion problems are even more likely to be vitamin B12 deficient. And just like with vitamin D, people with Crohn’s disease or celiac disease are also more likely to have B12 deficiency.
If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency – and it’s estimated that up to 43% of older people have it – you’ll be more likely to develop anemia. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to neuropathy or nerve damage (which can look like tingling or numbness in the hands or feet), balance problems, depression, confusion, poor memory, and even dementia.
So how much do you need? The NIH recommends that adults consume an average of 2.4 mcg per day of vitamin B12. On the food side, you can get what you need from fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, clams, and beef liver, as well as some fortified grains. Many multivitamin supplements also contain this key nutrient, or you can take it on its own.
And there is no need to worry if your supplement contains a higher dose than what is recommended. Unlike calcium and vitamin D, “vitamin B12 has not been shown to be harmful, even in high doses,” says the NIH. Just be sure to tell your doctor about any medications you are taking that might interact with a vitamin B12 supplement.
Calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 – this is the very short list of vitamins and minerals that older people can consider taking. Many other dietary supplements lack solid data to support their regular use, and in fact, you may want to avoid a few.
• Vitamin E : Vitamin E deficiency is rare in most healthy people, according to the NIH, even if your diet lacks the recommended daily amount (15 mg for adults). And while the vitamin E that is naturally found in foods doesn’t cause harm and doesn’t need to be limited, getting too much of a supplement can be dangerous.
For example, high doses of vitamin E in supplement form may increase the risk of bleeding, especially in adults on blood thinners. Research has also linked vitamin E supplementation to an increased risk of prostate cancer in men. For these reasons, “routine vitamin E supplementation should be avoided,” advises Chan.
• Vitamin C: Despite popular belief, there is no solid data to show that vitamin C loading will prevent or cure the common cold. It is a myth. And taking too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. Instead, opt for citrus fruits and vegetables to get the recommended amount needed to support your overall health.
• Folic acid: For most people, it is not necessary to take this B vitamin because many foods, such as grains, are fortified with folate. “Folic acid deficiency is rare in the United States … its routine use in aging has not been supported by research,” Chan said. (An exception is during pregnancy.)