What type of supplements should an elderly person take daily?

Michaela Ballmann
Nutrition & Dietetics
The main nutrients of concern for the elderly are vitamins D and B12. Since elderly people spend a lot of time indoors, they are more likely to have low serum levels of vitamin D and would benefit from a supplement. Cholecalciferol (D3) is the recommended form. Also, as we age the amount of hydrochloric acid we produce decreases, which means that we are less able to absorb vitamin B12. Since this vitamin plays a role in brain and nervous system function, it is very important for the elderly to take sublingual B12 or get a B12 injection.
Jamie McGinn
Nutrition & Dietetics
Older adults may need a variety of nutritional supplements depending on their medical conditions. It is generally safe and recommended to take a multivitamin, calcium, and vitamin D. Anemia is very common in older adults, therefore iron sulfate may help to decrease symptoms of anemia. Be cautious, as iron may cause constipation. There are many types of anemia, and additional supplementation may be needed such as vitamin B12 and folate.

Protein needs are often not met in older adults, therefore pay careful attention to ensuring adequate protein is consumed. Foods high in protein are dairy products, meats, and beans/lentils. If protein needs are not met, an oral nutrition supplement such as Ensure or Boost may be needed.

Continue Learning about Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.