The natural aging process not only has an effect on our outward appearance, but it can impact the way our bodies metabolize foods and nutrients, which may lead to deficiencies and even weak overall health. Growing older doesn't have to be a bad experience, if you pay attention to what your body is telling you and ensure that you maintain it with a healthy diet and exercise. However, sometimes no matter how healthy you eat, your body still won't absorb nutrients effectively and you may need to turn to supplementation. According to Donald B. McCormick, PhD, biochemistry professor and graduate of the nutrition and health sciences program at Emory University, if you are a senior who still eats a relatively healthy diet, your intake of micronutrients is probably sufficient and you don't necessarily need such widespread nutritional supplementation through the form of a daily multivitamin. However, studies have shown that certain nutrients do deplete as you age, and it may be necessary to take individual supplements to help replenish these levels. Check out some important supplements that can support healthy aging.
1. Vitamin C
How it can help: As an antioxidant, vitamin C can provide significant defense against free radical damage and oxidative stress, both of which can become more harmful to your body as you age and possibly contribute to health conditions like strokes, cataracts and heart disease. Vitamin C may also be able to boost your immune system.
2. Glucosamine Sulfate
How it can help: Glucosamine may be able to provide support for keeping your joint cartilage healthy and preventing joint deterioration. It may also be able to reduce inflammation and pain in the joints, caused by mild osteoarthritis.
3. Vitamin D
How it can help: Since you may not be receiving the same amount of sun exposure as you did when you were younger, it's possible that you're missing out on essential vitamin D. Not having enough of this essential nutrient can negatively affect your body's ability to absorb calcium properly, possibly leading to weak bones and impaired muscle function.
How it can help: Calcium plays an important role in fortifying your bones so they are less likely to incur damage in the forms of fragility, fractures or even arthritis. It is also needed for promoting proper nerve signal transmissions, normal blood clotting and healthy teeth—all of which can exhibit negative effects from aging.
5. Vitamin B12
How it can help: This vitamin plays a critical role in the maintenance of healthy red blood cells and nerves. The National Institute on Aging says that many older adults have trouble absorbing B12 through their diet, so it may be necessary to add a supplement or increase your intake of B12-rich foods, like fish, meat or dairy.
6. Folic Acid
How it can help: Inadequate levels of folate (the type found in fruits and vegetables) or folic acid (often found in supplements) can contribute to raising homocysteine levels in your blood, which may elevate your risk of developing conditions like Alzheimer's, dementia, stroke or heart disease. Both folate and B vitamins can help keep blood homocysteine levels low.
How it can help: Dr. Weil says that taking a rhodiola supplement may be able to provide a natural boost of energy for older adults who feel sluggish. Studies show that rhodiola may be effective at helping to combat stress and fatigue, and it may provide beneficial antioxidant properties as well.
Before trying any supplement, talk to your doctor to make sure it is appropriate and will not interact with any medications you may currently be taking. Remember that as you age, your body will likely begin to metabolize medications, supplements, foods and other nutrients differently, so it's important to receive approval from your health care practitioner before making any changes regarding these aspects of your lifestyle. Thank you for reading, and come back next time for more health news at eVitamins!