Senior adults often lack the necessary minerals and vitamins as they age because the body stops absorbing nutrients from food effectively. Several supplements are available in the market to provide senior adults with essential elements.

These supplements help replenish the necessary quantities of vitamins and minerals in the human body. They are designed to be absorbed easily and effectively. They may contain multivitamins or specific calcium, vitamin B6, or Omega-3 fatty acids.

While these essential elements facilitate the body to make up for the deficit quantity, they come with challenges. In this article, we will learn about supplements and how they can benefit senior adults.

What Are Dietary Supplements?

Dietary Supplements are substances that are used to add nutrients or necessary vitamins and minerals to one's diet. These supplements can be consumed on their own or they can also be added to food or drinks.

Supplements come in various forms such as pills, tablets, powders, gels, gummies, and liquids. The desired form can be chosen based on the likes and dislikes or ways of using them. For instance, if you plan on taking the supplement by mixing it with milk or water, powder or liquid will work the best as compared to pills or tablets.

They are designed to supply essential nutrients to the human body in a concentrated form to make up for the lack of that element from food or as a proactive way to reduce the chance of future diseases and conditions. For example, vitamin D supplements may help maintain bone strength and density mitigating the chance of low bone-density problems in old age or the future.

Most supplements contain a combination of vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, herbs other plants, or enzymes, but some may only have one vitamin or mineral. These supplements do not require a doctor's permission to purchase but it is advisable to consult with your doctor or dietician before adopting a new supplement in your diet.

Things To Consider Before Taking Dietary Supplements

As mentioned earlier, taking dietary supplements does not require a prescription from a doctor but consulting with your doctor before incorporating them into your diet is recommended.

However, that is not the only thing you'll need to consider before you decide to adopt a supplement into your daily routine.

Know Your Supplement

Learning everything about dietary supplements beforehand will take away the anxiety and psychological effects. Moreover, discussing the supplement with your dietician and doctor will help you decide the best product for your needs.

Be Mindful

You must be mindful when buying or deciding on a supplement as the advertisement may be misleading. For instance, if a supplement claims to be natural, that does not necessarily mean it is healthy or good for you.

Check The Science

Another thing to consider before starting a dietary supplement is the science behind the claim. Some supplements might claim certain benefits without providing scientific evidence. So, ensure the science and the ingredient list on the supplement are checked out before you start taking them.

Choose Reliable Brands

As they do not require a prescription from a doctor, supplements of several brands are available in the market. However, not all brands are made equally, so whenever choosing a supplement, make sure they come from a trusted company. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a recommendation if you are unsure.

Consult With Your Doctor

Consulting your doctor is always a great idea if you are adjusting your diet. It is more important to let your doctor know if you are trying to add a dietary supplement because the supplement might interfere with your medication and might make your health complicated instead of healthy.

Types Of Dietary Supplements For Senior Adults

As people age, they require more of certain minerals and vitamins. These essential elements are harder to get from our daily diet, so, senior adults need supplements to make up for the deficit quantity.

Here are some of the most common supplements required for senior adults above the age of 60 or 65 years old.


Calcium is one of the most essential minerals for senior adults. This mineral is linked with strengthening bone and protecting from bone density loss. An average male between 50 to 70 years old requires 1,000 mg of calcium daily while a female of the same age range requires 1,200 mg of calcium daily.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another mineral often taken as a supplement by senior adults due to the added demand by the body. Vitamin D is essential for absorbing the calcium from food by the body to make bones stronger. The daily recommended value of Vitamin D is 600 to 800 international units (IU). 

Vitamin B6

This vitamin is crucial for maintaining numerous systems in our body, it helps in maintaining the nervous system, the immunity system, and also the circulatory system. Hence, the lack of this essential vitamin may lead to complicated results. So, if you are above 60 years old, try maintaining 1.7mg of Vitamin B6.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for controlling megaloblastic anemia, a blood condition that makes people tired and weak. So, senior adults who want their blood cells healthy and feel strong might want to add supplemental Vitamin B12 to their diet. The daily recommended quantity is 2.5 mg per day for people above 60 years old.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Omega-3 fatty acids make the membrane of most types of cells in our body. It also helps the body by providing calories to keep the energy level high, moreover, it also helps with many functions in the heart, blood vessels, lungs, immune system, and endocrine system.

Most importantly, the body cannot produce Omega-3 Fatty Acids on its own, so the only source of this beneficial material is from food and supplements. In senior adults, the absorption of this element from food may get problematic, calling for supplemental support.

Herbal Supplements For Seniors

Supplements can come from elaborated lab production and manufacturing or they can come from humble plants we see and consume in our everyday lives. Herbal Supplements can be a healthier choice for senior adults.

Plants supply many necessary elements to our body, and herbal supplements are made by concentrating the elements found in plants. Like the regular manufactured supplements, herbal ones also come in different forms including powder, tablets, capsules, and liquid, among others.

Some of the most common plants used as supplements include ginkgo biloba, ginseng, echinacea, and black cohosh, among several others. Similarly, different algae, moss, and mushrooms are also found in the form of supplements in the market.

Although they are labeled as herbal and come from plants, that does not necessarily mean they are harmless and healthy. Some prior research and studies did not find any useful benefits of certain plant-based supplements but the researchers are looking for ways of using these plant-based elements to improve our day-to-day health.

Are Dietary Supplements Safe?

Safety concerns are one of the most important factors to consider before starting dietary supplements. It is even more important when it comes to senior adults taking those supplements as they might be sensitive to certain elements due to their age.

While most supplements do not pose any health threats, it is worth considering that these supplements do not require safety ratings from any governing bodies before starting sales to the general public, at least in the United States of America.

Furthermore, the companies selling these supplements are also not required to mention everything on their label and the products they sell might not do exactly what they claim to do. So, there are a lot of red flags when it comes to consuming dietary supplements.

However, this does not mean you should steer clear from taking supplements and authorities don't have your back. In the United States, the FDA can issue a warning about a product or even take it off the market if they receive complaints and can verify the supplements are causing health issues. 

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