by Melissa Chichester
And when you’re an older adult, it’s even more vital to make sure you’re getting essential nutrients. With age, there are certain nutritional challenges. Some nutrients become harder for the body to absorb – others naturally deplete throughout the years (like collagen!).
Many people supplement a nutritious diet with multivitamins. A multivitamin can help ensure that seniors are receiving adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals that may not be produced by the body after a certain age or are limited in production.
That’s when the questions arise – What are the benefits of taking a senior multivitamin? Are senior multivitamins really necessary?
And what is the difference between senior multivitamins and regular multivitamins?
Senior multivitamins contain higher amounts of certain nutrients. This includes B-12 for energy metabolism, Vitamin C to support immune health, and calcium to promote bone health.** Senior multivitamins are available in formulas specifically developed for senior men and senior women. Most of the time, the label will say “senior multivitamin” or “50+ multivitamin” on the label.
With age, you may not absorb certain nutrients as well as you did in your young adult life. For example, Vitamin B-12 is a common nutrient that seniors have trouble absorbing. This is an issue because Vitamin B-12 helps maintain proper metabolic function and cellular energy levels by helping convert food into energy.** It also supports the health of your heart, circulation, nervous system and 1,000 mcg helps support your gums and mouth.**
A multivitamin can help supply extra nutrients when you need them – including Vitamin B-12.
Multivitamins also help you get enough vitamins that can be difficult to get from food alone, such as Vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed to maintain bone health.** Unfortunately, many seniors do not receive enough Vitamin D, and it is difficult to receive through the diet. This is where a multivitamin containing Vitamin D can help.
Furthermore, some older adults take medications regularly. These medications may deplete other nutrients in the body. Some multivitamin nutrients can help. For example, Co Q-10 is a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps replenish Co Q-10 levels depleted by statin medications**
In a nutshell, senior multivitamins contain different nutrients based on gender and health concerns that change with age.
Besides increased nutrients such as Vitamin D and Vitamin B-12 that women and men both need, you will find men’s multivitamins include ingredients popular for men’s health including saw palmetto.
Some nutrients in senior multivitamins may contain fewer nutrients. For example, after menopause, women who stop menstruating may not want or need a multivitamin that contains extra iron. Women may also seek extra calcium in their multivitamins.
It is important to use caution with multivitamins whether you’re a young adult or an older adult. It is ideal to receive the nutrients you need through food first. Discussing your nutritional needs with your personal healthcare practitioner is the best way to consider what multivitamins might be right for you. This is especially important because it is critical to not receive too many nutrients as well. We humans need balance!
So do you really need a multivitamin specifically for seniors? It depends on your personal needs and current wellness situation. We’re all unique and supplements are not a one-size-fits-all approach.