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Senior Health: The Dietary Supplement Debate

By Jonathan Wells, 8:00 am on

Did you know that approximately half of all seniors over age 65 take a daily multivitamin along with other various supplements? While many seniors feel the need to add supplements to their diet as they age, recent research suggests that it may not be necessary.  As a leading provider of senior home care in Douglas County, we wanted to share some information about how to add the right vitamins to a senior’s diet, in the right way.

Vitamins in the Diet

Many vitamins and minerals that are taken in supplement form never reach the bloodstream and are eliminated by the body. In fact, most experts on nutrition agree that nutrients are better used by the body when they are obtained through the foods in which they naturally occur. However, there are some circumstances when seniors may need to take a supplement if they cannot get enough of a specific nutrient in their diet.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Older adults tend to need higher levels of calcium and vitamin D, and most dairy products are fortified with them. Calcium is essential for healthy bone regeneration, and vitamin D aids the body in the absorption of calcium. If seniors or older adults have problems with lactose intolerance or have distaste for dairy, a supplement may need to be taken.

Vitamin B12

A nutrient that is necessary for effective brain function and blood cell production, vitamin B12 is found readily in animal products and fortified foods. Deficiencies can cause anemia and an altered mental state. Seniors, especially vegetarians, may need to take a supplement if they cannot get a sufficient amount of vitamin B12 in their diets.

What About Fiber?

As adults age, the digestive system can slow down considerably and increase the need for fiber in the diet in order to have regular bowel movements. Seniors need to be careful to not take in excessive fiber because it can cause mal-absorption of nutrients. Instead of supplements, a safer way to take in fiber is by eating foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Interested in learning more about senior nutrition? Reach out to the Douglas County live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance at 720-441-3522 today. A friendly and knowledgeable Care Manager will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.