When we’re talking about seniors, those of us over 60, Vitamins and nutrition go hand in hand. They need to be treated like one. They need each other.
The questions should begin with what do you need and how do you get it.
It gets boring. It seems all numbers and values. Let’s try to make some sense of it.
Vitamins and Nutrition
Point number 1. Those over 60 are different. What we all did, or needed, or didn’t need in our youth, no longer applies. Sure we all still need vitamins, but what and how much?
Point number 2. Values of yesterday have changed. FDA’s DV, daily value, was established in 1968. The best value RDA, was established in 2001.
The best number then is RDA. If we see a DV and it’s 100% it may still be wrong. It is the RDA level we wish to meet.
Example: Vitamin A, Adult DV 5,000 – RDA 2,300 female, 3,000 male.
Okay, where do we go from here?
The older we get, the more important nutrition becomes. We get our nutrition from the food we eat. When it’s deficient, we take vitamins. Pretty simple.
Want to decrease the effects of aging? Go to low salt and low fat. Eat more vegetables and fresh fruit. Get plenty of fiber.
If you eat a wide variety of foods, you can actually receive the vitamins and nutrients your body needs.
- Proteins – Builds muscle. Source is poultry, fish and eggs.
- Carbohydrate – Your energy source – Fruits, sugars, dairy.
- Fat – Energy source- Olive oil, soy and corn oil, avocados, nut. A hedge for cholesterol.
As we age, the need for energy foods decrease. Our calorie intake should decrease. If we don’t make the change we build fat. Usually at the waistline. In creasing calorie burn, (exercise) helps.
In addition, we experience natural hormone changes. Again, it contributes to lower calorie burn, need for less energy foods and an increase in fat storage.
As if that’s not enough, our bones lose mineral content. The effects include osteoporosis and lower estrogen in women. The need for increased calcium is called for.
Can you tell from the chart what vitamins you personally need or don’t need?
Of course not. If you read the label of a vitamin bottle, will you know what you need? Of course not. You only know what the recommended levels are.
The only way you know what you need is to test. I see my primary doctor twice a year. A week before my appointment I have blood work done. My doctor gets the report and tells me what I need to work on.
That was the case a couple of years ago when he saw I was dangerously low on vitamin B12. I starting take the vitamin daily. But that is the only one I take. No daily multivitamin.
If you are sure you want to take a daily multivitamin, the chart above tells you what you should be getting daily. What it does not tell you is what you need. Remember, what you eat should be giving you most if not all of what you need.
Pay attention to the red column in the chart. Vitamins have upper limits. It is, in some cases, more dangerous to exceed the limits as it is to fall below the RDA. (It is in RED)
You want a Multivitamin
If you think you should take a multivitamin, or, if your doctor has recommended you take them, here is what ConsumerLab.com, one of the most widely respected labs, has to say about multivitamins for seniors.
First, the study I researched included 60 multivitamins. Of those tested, nine were not approved.
Not approved means the multivitamin did not contain the amounts reported in labeling.
I looked at those for seniors or people over 50:
Mens 50+ Natural Factors, Men’s 50+ MultiStart – not approved
Adult 50+ All Active One Seniors Multiple Vitamin & Mineral Powder – not approve
Centrum Silver Adults 50+ –approve
Country Life Seniority Multivitamin vegetarian –approved (exceed upper limit for niacin)
CVS/Pharmacy Spectravite Adults –approved
DG Health (Dollar General) Adult formula –approved
Dr. Whitaker Forward Gold Daily Regimen, Daily Regime For Adults -approved
Equate Active Adults 50+ Complete Multivitamin –approved
Puritan Pride ABC Plus Senior Multi: Iron free –approved
Women 50+ Products
Bluebonnet Targeted Muliples Age-Less Choice For Women -not approved
Natures Way Alive Once Daily Women’s 50+ -approved
RiteAid One Daily Women’s 50+ –approved
Simply Right [Sam’s Club] Women’s 50+ Multivitamin -approved
* As required by the FDA, dietary supplements must list the percent of the Daily Value for certain vitamins and minerals. But as previously discussed, Daily Values (DV) can be misleading. The numbers that consumers really should know are the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA). Adequate Intakes (AI), and the Tolerable Upper Levels (UL’s).
** Vitamins and minerals have many important functions in the body, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a multi will deliver immediate health benefits. For example, vitamin A is necessary for vision, but if you are not severely vitamin A deficient, taking more vitamin A will not help you see better. Since few people today are severely deficient in any nutrient, the actual benefits of multivitamins are generally subtle.
* ** ConsumerLab.com