Supplements And Aging

A healthy diet can help keep your immune system strong and keep you healthy.

“Most nutritional needs can be met through food,” said Dr. Lowry Lahitte, a spokesman for the nutrition and Diet Association. But as you get older, if your diet is limited and you can’t get the vitamins and minerals you need from food, your doctor may recommend supplements.

What’s a supplement?

A dietary supplement is a capsule, pill, powder or liquid that you can take to get more nutrients. They may be vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, plants, or enzymes. You can buy them at grocery stores and pharmacies. You Don’t need a prescription for supplements.

Supplements with age

If you’re over 50, you may need more of certain vitamins and minerals. Your doctor may recommend a supplement to help you meet these needs, for example.

Calcium. You need calcium to keep your bones strong. “As you get older, you lose bone mass, which can lead to fractures,” Wright said.

You can get calcium from foods like milk, canned fish, and dark leafy vegetables. If you don’t eat enough calcium-rich foods, you may need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements, because vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium.

If you get 15-30 minutes of sunlight twice a week, your body probably makes enough vitamin D. But as you get older, it becomes harder for your body to absorb vitamin D from sunlight.

If you don’t want to take supplements, eat foods rich in vitamin D, such as fortified milk, fortified cereals and fatty fish.

“One vitamin we should be aware of as we get older is vitamin B12,” says Wright, “Because the stomach acid your body needs to absorb vitamin B12 from food decreases with age. You need vitamin B12 to keep your red blood cells and nerves healthy and prevent anemia.

If you want to increase B12 in your diet, try foods like meat and fortified cereals.

Antioxidant

Antioxidants such as beta-carotene, selenium, and vitamins C and E may help you fight disease. You can get them by eating fruits, vegetables, seafood, nuts and seeds.

Research shows that taking antioxidant supplements does not protect you from chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. The best way to get antioxidants is through the foods you eat.

Herbal supplements

Herbal supplements such as black cohosh, echinacea, ginkgo biloba and ginseng all come from plants.

Wright says these products are not regulated like drugs. In addition, some products can interfere with the medication you are taking, while others have unpleasant side effects. While there is adequate research on many products, there may be no research on other products. If you’re considering taking it, let your doctor know so they can make sure it doesn’t cause more damage.

Are supplements safe?

Before you consider taking a supplement, discuss it with your doctor. Supplements may be associated with certain drug interaction and may change the way they work. If you take it before surgery or other procedures, it can be harmful.

“Avoid supplements that exceed the UL or upper limit of this vitamin or mineral,” Wright says.

Taking large doses can increase your risk of side effects. If you already get a lot of vitamins and minerals from food, adding a supplement may do you too much good.

Avoid taking large doses of these supplements, especially if you take prescription drugs.

  • Black cohosh
  • Cinnamon
  • Echinacea
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Ginseng
  • Cava
  • Anemones
  • St. John’s wort
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B 6

If you feel that a supplement has a serious reaction or side effect, stop taking it and call your doctor.

Keep in mind that supplements are not regulated like prescription and over-the-counter drugs. The Food and Drug Administration does not test health products for safety or what they claim on their labels.

“Avoid supplements that say things like ‘treat memory problems’ or ‘build up libido, ‘” Lahitte said. Just because something is written on a label doesn’t mean it’s true.

Tips for taking supplements

“Try the generic,” says Wright, “The generic brand is equivalent to the more expensive name brand.

Take with food. Taking a supplement with food may help you absorb it better and avoid stomach upset.

Talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you decide if you need a supplement and, if so, which supplements are safe and healthy for you.

Try to eat well. “Remember, supplements are just, you know, a supplement to your diet,” says WYETT, “Focus on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats to build a strong foundation that supplements can add to.”

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