What vitamins do seniors really need for healthy aging?

By September 19, 2012LivHOME News

With so many vitamins on the market for senior health today, how can caregivers and loved ones find out which vitamins are actually needed to assist with healthy aging? With age comes the need to fill in some nutritional deficiencies, as diets and body needs change. The following vitamins are greatly beneficial to seniors needs.

Omega-3

For seniors, Omega-3 fatty acids can help with the inflammation that accompanies many degenerative diseases. They are thought to fight depression along with raising good cholesterol levels. Seniors and their caregivers can obtain Omega-3 fatty acids by eating foods like coldwater fish, walnuts, spirulina, flaxseed and chia seeds. When these foods are not easily served to seniors, they are easily able to get their dose of Omega-3 fatty acids through supplements.

Vitamin D

While it may seem that vitamin D could easily be obtained by drinking milk, this is not always enough to provide adequate levels of the vitamin. Inadequately low levels of vitamin D have been shown to be associated with an increased risk of contracting cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, regulates the body’s absorption of calcium. Due to this action, unhealthily low levels of vitamin D are also associated with the development of osteoporosis. In order to find out if seniors are lacking in vitamin D, doctors can perform a blood test. Many of the reasons seniors are low on vitamin D are associated with indoor living and avoiding long exposure to sunshine, making supplements extremely beneficial.

B12

Vitamin B12 is another vital part of healthy aging for seniors. When the body is low on vitamin B12, it can cause pernicious anemia. This type of anemia causes the body to have not only fewer red blood cells, but also larger red blood cells. A severe vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with balance problems and proper walking, loss of nerve sensation, mental clarity and dementia. While these conditions are all of concern to society, the senior population is particularly affected by the problems that arise from vitamin B12 deficiency. The vitamin must be extracted from foods that contain protein. This occurs via enzymes found in the digestive tract known as intrinsic factor, so a poor digestion can also contribute to a lack of vitamin B12 for many seniors. Luckily, the B12 supplements come in an easily absorbed form, giving seniors and their caregivers a valuable solution.

 

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