As we age, we might not get enough vitamins and minerals from food. Balancing the right vitamins from diet and supplements is important for good health.
When we get older, we might be too busy to eat a healthy diet, or we don’t have the appetite we used to. Even if we still eat a good diet, our body might not absorb vitamins like it did when we were younger, leaving us deficient in some vitamins and minerals.
A simple blood test given at your doctor’s office will let you know if you are deficient in any vitamins or minerals. Being deficient in any of these vitamins or minerals can lead to health issues.
It is estimated that 42 percent of the U.S. population is deficient in vitamin D, and this figure is higher among those over 65. We normally get vitamin D from the sun, but most people aren’t in the sun enough, and during the winter, the sun is too low to get enough vitamin D.
Vitamin D is an important vitamin that helps our body properly absorb calcium. In conjunction with calcium, it keeps our bones strong and prevents osteoporosis as we age.
There are eight different B-vitamins: thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin and folate (folic acid). These vitamins help turn food into energy and are necessary for healthy nerve function. It is important not to be deficient in any of them as they work together.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is fairly common and can lead to megaloblastic anemia with symptoms that include fatigue, weakness, depression, memory problems and numbness or tingling of the hands and feet. Vitamin B12 is necessary to keep red blood cells and nerves healthy and also to make DNA.
- Vitamin A – In the form of carotene and retinoids including lycopene and lutein, vitamin A is important for lowering the risk of certain cancers and cataracts and for maintaining healthy skin.
- Vitamin C – May lower the risk for certain cancers, boosts the immune system, makes collagen and is an antioxidant.
- Vitamin E – Is an important antioxidant that can rid our body of damaging free radicals and protect our cells from damage. It may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
- Vitamin K – This vitamin is essential for proper blood clotting when we’re injured. In our gut, it can be converted to vitamin K2, which works with calcium and vitamin D to keep calcium in the bones and teeth and out of the arteries and kidneys.
Since the amount of minerals in food is dependent on the soil they are grown, we might not get enough minerals due to poor soil conditions. As we age, changes in our gut bacteria can prevent us from absorbing enough minerals for optimum health.
Some of the important minerals we need include the following:
- Calcium – Important for building bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and the regulation of blood pressure.
- Chromium – Helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
- Copper – Helps with making red blood cells, metabolizing food and getting rid of free radicals.
- Iodine – Helps regulate the thyroid gland.
- Iron – Is essential for making collagen, amino acids, neurotransmitters, hemoglobin and hormones.
- Magnesium – Is necessary along with calcium to build and maintain our bones. It also enables our nerves to send messages throughout the body and helps muscle contractions.
- Manganese – Metabolizes carbohydrates, amino acids and cholesterol.
- Potassium – Helps us maintain a steady heartbeat and balances fluids in our body.
- Selenium – Is essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and metabolism.
- Zinc – Boosts the immune system to fight off illnesses. It is also needed in the making of proteins and DNA.
Balancing the Right Vitamins and Minerals
In today’s hectic world, it might be hard to eat a healthy diet all of the time. And as we age, getting the proper amount of each nutrient isn’t easy. However, me must ensure we get the right amount of each since they all work together.
A good multivitamin is perfect for balancing the right vitamins and minerals. A multivitamin will contain all of these vitamins and minerals in the proper amounts, ensuring good health.