Are Vitamin Supplements Safe for Seniors?

Are Vitamin Supplements Safe for Seniors?

As we age, our bodies’ nutritional needs change. Staying healthy becomes more of a challenge, one that requires eating balanced meals. Unfortunately, even if you try your best to follow nutritional guidelines, you are likely to fall short. Food alone often doesn’t give you enough nutrients. To make up for this deficit, you should consider taking dietary supplements. When taken responsibly, supplements can help seniors stay healthy.

Senior Calories

Experts warn that you need fewer calories every decade that you live. Your metabolism changes, and eating the way you did as a 30-year-old will cause you to gain unwanted fat. The trick is to meet your nutritional needs without gaining weight. Doing so means focusing on nutrient-dense foods instead of calorie-dense foods. For instance, you should choose skinless, roasted chicken over fried chicken. Choose plain fruit instead of fruit baked in a pie. Basic foods prepared simply are your best bet. You can enjoy desserts and other tempting dishes in moderation, but the bulk of your diet needs to be low fat and low calorie.

Eating healthy meals helps, but even careful seniors may need further help in meeting their nutritional needs. Seniors may find it difficult to eat what they should because their sense of taste changes. You may not enjoy food as much anymore and simply not eat enough instead of overeating. Seniors may also lose the desire to consume beverages as well, meaning nutrient-packed drinks are not much help.


Your calorie intake needs to decrease, but you still have the same vitamin and protein needs that you had as a younger person. Experts warn that you may need more nutrients as a senior because your body doesn’t absorb vitamins and minerals like it used to. Maintaining proper nutrition through food alone becomes more and more challenging as each year passes. Fortunately, supplements can bridge the gap between the nutrition you need and what you are actually consuming.

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 is an excellent example. Seniors tend to have less stomach acid than they did in their younger years. Less stomach acid means your body may not be able to break down enough vitamin B-12 to meet your body’s requirements. You may need to take a supplement in order to get enough of this vital nutrient that helps give your body energy. It can also help protect your brain health, reduce depression and anxiety, and deliver other health benefits.

Vitamin D and Calcium

Due to fears of skin cancer, even younger people can be vitamin D deficient these days. Seniors also have this worry and take steps to protect themselves from sun exposure. Humans of all ages need a healthy level of vitamin D, but getting this level is complicated by aging skin. Older skin does not change the sun’s rays into vitamin D as efficiently as younger skin does. When you do not have enough vitamin D, you also compromise your body’s ability to absorb calcium, something vital for bone strength. You may need to take a vitamin D supplement as well as a calcium supplement to stay healthy and strong.


Your red blood cells require an adequate supply of iron, something that becomes more difficult to maintain as you age. Sometimes, your body is not able to absorb the level of iron that you need, even if you are consuming enough in your diet. Without enough iron, you can become anemic, a condition that causes extreme fatigue. Certain medical conditions can make an iron deficiency more likely, including physical injuries and ulcers. Relieving an iron deficiency may require taking a supplement.

Medical Guidance

Supplements are easily purchased over the counter, but you should seek medical guidance before taking them. Your doctor can help you determine which supplements are best for you. They can also guide you on when and how to take them. Iron, for instance, can upset your stomach, so your physician may advise that you take it with food. Also, various prescriptions may not be compatible with all supplements. Your doctor will also steer you to the supplement types and strengths that are best for your physical condition. Once you get the okay, you can shop online, at the pharmacy or at your local box store for your supplements. In general, these supplements are quite affordable and easy to take.
Seniors can definitely benefit from taking vitamin and mineral supplements. Eating healthy is always your first priority, but seniors can greatly benefit from using supplements to reach their nutritional goals.

Let Us Help

If you have questions regarding these or other concerns about assisted living communities in the Aurum Network, contact us at (978) 282-9551 or use our facility locator tool.

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