Many also take too many prescription medications that demand much of the body often with terrible side effects. Many seniors live alone and make dietary compromises as well and the end result: nutritional deficiencies. That is why vitamins for seniors is so vital. The older you get, the more important nutrition becomes.
Can Vitamins Really Help Seniors?
To answer the question in the subheading, yes — vitamins can help seniors IF they are taking assimilable vitamins and that is the key. Vitamins for seniors are especially critical as the older we become, the less efficient the body becomes. The senior needs vitamins not just for maintenance, but to strengthen his or her body’s regenerative efforts for metabolism but also for daily energy. Also, the limited amounts of vitamins researchers say contributes to illness and degenerative diseases.
Vitamin K, for example, has been found to exist in low levels in Alzheimer’s patients. Seniors need all vitamins but are there some vitamins that are more important? Yes and no. Seniors need all vitamins, which is why good supplementation is so critical to their daily diet. Some particular vitamins and minerals that are crucial are: Vitamins E, D, C, calcium, zinc, and the B vitamin complex.
Vitamins E, D, and C are known and powerful antioxidants, which antioxidants prevent free radical damage that lead to disease and aging. (Vitamin D isn’t as powerful as C and E, but it’s potent nonetheless.)
What Are The Best Vitamins for Seniors
Let’s take the premise of “what are the best vitamins for seniors” a step further. Needless to say, senior health issues are different than those for the younger set. Seniors need good digestive health, good basic energy levels, good brain function, and good eyesight adequate enough to have a basic healthy life notwithstanding their diminished capacity due to age. Vitamins for seniors is important, but vitamins and minerals, though important, cannot do that alone.
There are some superstar nutrients that we’d like to discuss now to help educate you in your quest for better health. Of course, other factors are a part of good health such as diet and exercise, but nutritional adequacy is vital — that is the basic point of this vitamins for seniors page.
Specialty Compounds for Seniors
When selecting an alternative nutritional supplement, look for specific compounds that are very powerful antioxidant substances. This is important for seniors. Remember, not all antioxidants have equal value. Yes, vitamins C and E are needed and you should take them daily, but there are also carotenoids like beta-carotene, selenium, bioflavonoids like quercitin (sometimes spelled quercetin) and hesperidin.
These can be supplied by a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, but there are lesser known antioxidants like alpha lipoic acid, Gingko Biloba, Green Tea , L-Carnosine, N-Acetyl Cysteine, and Resveratrol. Let’s discuss them one at a time now. First, the basics — Vitamin D, E, and K before we talk about the special nutrients alluded to (these are, by the way, key vitamins for seniors).
Vitamin D is often called the “sunlight vitamin” as it’s produced by the body when the sun’s ultraviolet rays hit the skin. It also has the distinction of being the only vitamin the body actually manufactures. It is also a fat-soluble vitamin essential for good teeth and bone health. It also helps to strengthen the immune system. The elderly don’t usually get enough Vitamin D. Seniors between the age of 50 and 70 need 400 IU (international units) of it per day. If you’re over 70, 600 IU per day.
Seniors usually lack Vitamin K. It is essential for blood clotting and helps maintain and even enhance bone density. It plays a key role in preventing osteoporosis. We mentioned before that Alzhemier’s disease and Vitamin K studies show have a common link — Vitamin K levels are lower in carriers of the APOE4 gene, the gene that is a risk factor in Alzheimer’s. Though not a antioxidant per se, it does prevent cell death. RDA for Vitamin K is 120 micrograms per day for senior men, 90 micrograms for senior women.
Vitamin E is essential to good senior health. It is a fat soluble vitamin that has potent antioxidant properties thus preventing the oxidation of the fatty acids in the membranes of all cells. It slows aging. (Entertainer Bob Hope gave vitamin E credit for allowing him to live such a long life.) The RDA (Recommended international units (IU) for an adult is 22 IU (or about 15 mgs).
There are times when megadoses are given though when digestive mal absorption doesn’t occurs. This can range from 100 IU to 200. The dosage prescribed for protection against coronary disease ranges from 400 to 800 IU per day. If you have any questions as to what you need and if you’re aren’t sure, consult with your doctor. Let’s discuss now those Superstar Nutrients.