Guest post today on choosing the right vitamins and supplementation method for seniors.

senior_healthWhen we’re young, we are resilient. We haven’t had years of bad habits leave their mark yet. As we get older, it becomes more difficult to take care of our health. Our bodies age and their needs change.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be passive during the aging process. There are several things you can do to keep healthy. Diet and exercise play a vital role. Supplementing vitamins is also generally a good idea as you get older.

When it comes to vitamin supplementation, however, many people miss the mark. Oral multivitamins are the most popular way to fight vitamin deficiencies, but their effectiveness can vary. (One way to increase absorption and utilization of supplements is by taking them with food.) If you decide to increase your vitamin intake outside of dietary changes, you could consider vitamin injections. While much of the nutrients present in an oral supplement can go unused by the body, nearly 100% of the vitamin in an injection is absorbed.

There are several vitamin deficiencies that are common among senior citizens. Let’s take a look at a few of them and what their effect on the body is.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is necessary for all kinds of bodily functions. If you want to keep a healthy weight, good brain activity, proper sleeping patters and high energy levels, vitamin B12 is your best friend.

A deficiency in this nutrient can be quite unpleasant. Because of its role in brain function, a lack of vitamin B12 may lead to feelings of confusion and even hallucinations in some cases.

As we get older, it is more and more difficult for our bodies to absorb vitamin B12 from our diet. That’s why it is important to supplement. Purchasing vitamin B12 shots is really your best option. The body can’t absorb the nutrient from food, so it can’t absorb it from an oral supplement either.

Calcium

The older you get the more important calcium levels become. It’s well-known that as we age our bodies bones become weaker, but calcium can help to minimize that impact. If you like to be active and walk, dance, swim or play sports, you’ll need calcium to keep your bones strong enough to handle those activities.

Calcium deficiencies can lead to a couple of conditions, such as osteomalacia and osteoporosis. Both of these illnesses affect your bones.

Calcium doesn’t always play nicely with prescription medications and other vitamins. Here are some tips on when to take your calcium supplement.

Vitamin D

You may have heard that the best way to absorb vitamin D is to spend time in the sun. This is true, but as you get older, a few problems may stand in your way. If you live in a particularly hot climate for instance, it may not be feasible for you to spend enough time in the sunlight. During cold months, you may not be exposed to enough sunlight, even if you do spend time outside. To further complicate the issue, the organs that help convert sunlight to vitamin D may not work as well as they did when you were younger.

Getting enough vitamin D will pay major dividends. This nutrient can fight heart disease and possibly even cancer. It also plays a major role in helping to absorb calcium, which is another nutrient that you need to get enough of as you age.

Take Care of Yourself

As you get older, it becomes more important than ever to adopt a health-conscious approach to living. Your body requires more attention than it did during your youth. It may be necessary to supplement vitamins, but you need to make sure your supplementation method is effective. That’s why it’s valid to consider vitamin injections over oral multivitamin supplements.

A few of the nutrients you should keep an eye on are vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D. Since deficiencies in these nutrients can lead to serious complications, it’s in your best interest to keep them present at healthy levels in your body.

Brent Halverson is a health and fitness writer for the older demographic. Most of Brent’s tips come from his own personal experiences. 

Image: image source (CC License)

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