Talk to Your Doctor Before You Decide About Senior Multivitamins
Vitamins and supplements are a massive worldwide industry – so much so, that every year, people spend billions of dollars on vitamins that they may or may not need. There is not a tremendous amount of scientific data to support the need to take a vitamin at any point in life, including the elder years. However, just one look down the supplements aisle in the grocery store will tell you there are tons of multivitamins formulated and marketed to seniors specifically.
With little in the way of scientific proof that taking a multivitamin will do anything to help you beat or avoid contracting disease, have more energy, preserve your short or long term memory, or live any longer, it is somewhat surprising that so many people feel the need to take vitamins. ln fact, taking vitamins may even be detrimental to the health of some seniors.
In this post we look at “senior” vitamins and discuss how to get all the nutrients your senior needs without necessarily resorting to additional pills.
What Exactly Is in “Senior” Vitamins?
A multivitamin is a multivitamin is a multivitamin, right? Well, not exactly. Just like multivitamins formulated and marketed for pregnant women, and vitamins for children are formulated with additions that are specifically intended to appeal to the perceived extras that those groups need, so too senior multivitamins have additional ingredients that are meant to appeal to the needs of seniors.
For example, a senior multivitamin may have an additional quantity of vitamin B12, because older people have a harder time absorbing this vitamin directly from their food. A multivitamin especially formulated for seniors may also contain a higher dose of vitamin D, because seniors statistically spend less time in the sun and get less D from their diet.
The same vitamin may not have iron, because most seniors don’t need additional iron. And, it may contain herbs or other supplemental substances thought to help with energy levels and memory – most of which carry disclaimers regarding the lack of scientific data supporting their use as a treatment for low energy or memory loss.
How to Get All the Nutrients Your Senior Needs
If you’ve ever wondered why many supplements contain claims regarding their ingredients having been sourced from food, or what bioavailability might mean, then you aren’t alone. Many people consume supplements or purchase them for their loved ones without truly understanding what they are, or if they will do any good in terms of one’s health.
The truth is, if you eat well (and this goes for seniors as well!), then you will most likely get all or more than enough of the vitamins that your body needs directly from the foods you eat. Added to this simple fact, consuming too much of some vitamins and minerals can actually be bad for your health. Perhaps most importantly, the vitamins found in the food we eat generally have the greatest bioavailability.
Talk to Your Doctor Before You Add Supplements and Vitamins Into Your Diet
For those seniors with poor appetite or health issues that preclude them from eating a balanced and well-rounded diet, consulting with a physician is probably best. You can get tests done to see if your senior loved one is vitamin deficient.
Supplement companies are not tremendously well regulated and have a tendency to claim what they can get away with claiming. Because of this, it’s always wise to check with your doctor about whether or not your senior needs vitamins or supplements, and if so, what kind and at what dose.