Because of all the nutrition-related changes that occur with the aging process, adults 50 years of age and older may benefit from nutritional supplementation. According to US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, adults often fall short of meeting their needs for certain nutrients.1
A daily multivitamin/mineral supplement formulated for adults age 50+ can help fill in nutritional gaps in their diet. A multivitamin based on age (50+) and gender is suggested to meet the changing nutritional needs for adults. For example, a multivitamin for age 50+ does not need to contain iron. This is because iron requirements decrease with age and most adults meet their daily iron needs through diet alone. Supplemental iron may not be needed unless recommended by a physician or health care professional.
Moreover, adults 50+ are at greater risk of low vitamin B12 levels. This is due to a decreased secretion of stomach acid and stomach enzymes necessary for B12 digestion and absorption. Because of the age-related changes in B12 absorption and utilization, older adults are often advised to supplement with Vitamin B12 or a B Complex that includes B12.
Adults often get very little exposure to sunlight, a major source of vitamin D. Vitamin D supplementation is recommended for adults 50+ because vitamin D status may diminish with age. This is due to various factors such as decreased dietary intake, decreased absorption, decreased sun exposure, and decreased synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. There may also be higher vitamin D needs for individuals who are low or deficient in vitamin D. Ask your doctor about getting your vitamin D level checked to determine how much vitamin D is right for you. A commonly recommended dose is 1000 IU per day.
Calcium is critical for building and supporting healthy bones.† However, it is usually in short supply for most people. For older adults (women 50+, men 70+), it is recommended to consume at least 1,200 mg of calcium daily. Calcium is best absorbed when taken in smaller, more frequent doses, such as 500 or 600 mg twice daily with a meal (calcium carbonate) or in between meals (calcium citrate). In addition, antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E to name a few, can help neutralize free radicals, which
are thought to be responsible for cellular damage.†
Supplement Regimen for Adults 50+:
• Multivitamin/mineral supplement – based on age (50+) and gender
• Vitamin B12 or a B-complex supplement
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin E
• Vitamin C
Discuss these and other supplement considerations with your doctor or preferred health care provider before starting a specific regimen. This is especially important if you have health concerns and/or are taking prescription medication(s).
1. Fulgoni et al. Food, Fortificants, and Supplements: Where Do Americans Get Their Nutrients? J Nutr. 2011; 141:1847-54.
see all recommended resources