Which Vitamins and Nutrients are Best for Your Aging Body
Age-related Deficiencies: Which Vitamins and Nutrients are Best for Your Aging Body
Written by Dr. Claire Arcidiacono, ND
As we age, the need to keep up with the constant changes in our bodies can prove to be difficult. The aging process gives way to deficiencies as our bodies become less able to process many vitamins and nutrients. For this reason, it is important to reevaluate your needs as you age. The following five supplements are what myself and numerous studies suggest for older men and women, as factors like memory, bone and joint health and maintenance, and heart health begin to take on a greater significance.
Multi Vitamins are the basis for nutrition and are formulated to address the basic micronutrient requirements of your body through daily nutrition intake. They supply the array of B Vitamins, which is important to support good immune health, nerve function, energy production, red blood cell production and brain health. A multivitamin contains trace minerals that are also important as they offer support for recovery from illness and for thyroid function. Vitamin C and vitamin A, or natural beta carotene, in a multi vitamin may further help with immune health and in fighting off colds and other illnesses that arise during the colder months, as this combination can be very beneficial for energy; together they support the adrenal glands which are the glands that respond to stress. Vitamin D in a multi vitamin has been studied and found to be a great advocate for bone health, immune function and thyroid health, as well. A multivitamin contains zinc which helps with taste, smell and wound healing. Zinc also boosts the immune system by helping to reduce inflammation, help prevent inflammation and more. There is a very large percentage of older adults that have a zinc deficiency. This deficiency can lead to an imbalance of copper. With some cases, a good multi vitamin contains Coq10 which is important for heart health, muscle function, energy and memory. Overall, a good multi vitamin is an excellent way to supplement a diet as it contains something for almost every system. (1)
Bone Building Formula
A good bone builder is more than just calcium. A good bone builder will also contain magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K. Vitamin K is important for building healthy bones, as many proteins are dependent on Vitamin K for proper functioning. Other trace minerals for bones include silica and boron. While strontium is excellent for building bone, it should be taken away from calcium, as they can compete for absorption. Bone is essentially a matrix of tissues, and calcium and magnesium help to build the back bone of this structure. It is important to take both magnesium and calcium because calcium can actually deplete magnesium. Calcium and magnesium are both important for muscles. Many people who suffer from muscle spasms have a magnesium deficiency. Calcium and magnesium are also good for stress management; together, they may help you to relax and even help with sleep. Magnesium is very important for nerve health, blood pressure and heart health as it offers support in blood pressure regulation and in the dissolving of calcium into the bone and arteries. In fact, magnesium is responsible for over 300 functions in the body! Both Vitamin K and D work very well together – vitamin D increases the absorption of the calcium and vitamin K ensures that the calcium enters bone rather than go anywhere else, such as to blood vessels or the kidneys. The trace minerals, silica and boron, work with the calcium to build the bone. But be careful - calcium alone depletes magnesium, does not absorb well and just doesn't know where to go. A good bone builder helps to lower the risk of these issues. (2)
Collagen is one of the building blocks for the body. It works with calcium to build bone. Basically, calcium and magnesium make up one part of the bone and collagen makes up another part. As you can see from the following diagram, bone contains collage in cartilage form. (3) In addition to helping build bone, collagen helps to repair cartilage in joints. This makes it very helpful for arthritis. It is also good to use proactively especially if one engages in intensive exercise. Collagen is useful for repairing connective tissue problems. On a more than cosmetic level, collagen helps to improve skin health, and to strengthen nails and even strengthen and grow hair! Collagen is really the glue that holds us together. (4)
Fish oil is one of the most important nutrients a person can take. It is considered an essential nutrient since the body needs it for optimal performance but the body can't make it. Fish oil is important for brain health, more specifically memory. It is important for blood pressure, heart function and cholesterol. Fish oil can raise the protective good cholesterol or HDL. It can also lower triglycerides. Fish oil is also very good for dryness - dry skin, dry mouth and even dry eyes. Fish oil helps to lower inflammation and is very helpful in inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and migraines. In a study published online in the British Journal of Nutrition in August of 2015, researchers compared the effects of high-doses of fish oils versus low-doses and found that with every measurable increase, there was an accompanying 12% increase in the probability of remission (decrease in or disappearance of signs and symptoms) every time. Fish oil can also be useful in autoimmune conditions. Fish oil has many functions in the body and is usually deficient in the diet.
Probiotics are the basis for the immune system, especially in the digestive tract. Good gut bacteria is necessary for proper digestion and overall health. But probiotics are what help your body fight off any unhealthy bacteria that can lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria, yeast and fungus. It may also aid in other digestive ailments, such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, acid reflux, and IBS. Probiotics may even be helpful for those who suffer from frequent colds or allergies. As we get older our bacteria in the digestive tract slowly changes. Probiotics ensures that the "bad guys” do not completely take over our bodies.