Dietary Supplements for Seniors
And Younger Folks That Want to be
Healthy Seniors Some Day
Drugs, and the Supplements they Deplete
a Multivitamin-Multi-Mineral Product
A large and
rapidly growing majority of seniors routinely
take at least one vitamin, mineral, or nutraceutical on a daily basis.
Nutraceuticals (A term coined by combining the words nutrient
pharmaceutical) are nutrients which
are apart from vitamins and minerals such as herbals, herbal formulas,
coQ10, enzymes, etc. These pages are for those of us who
food supply, or our food choices, are less than ideal, and are willing
to consider if nutritional
supplements should play a role in our efforts to stay healthy.
More of us should be taking nutritional supplements, and most who are
basic once-a-day multivitamin might benefit by learning more about the
industry in general. These pages hope to present that
with important links and information.
According to the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), "Women; the elderly; people with more
education, more income, healthier diets and lifestyles, and lower body
weight; and people in the western United States use multivitamins and
mineral most often. Smokers and members of certain ethnic and
racial groups (such as African American, Hispanics, and Native
Americans) are less likely to take a multivitamin and mineral product."
are many good reasons to fortify your health with vitamins, minerals,
and nutraceuticals. Now is good time to review what your
doing for you, and consider ways that it might be improved.
Before jumping in, a few bits of important information:
1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act became law.
This act provided guideline for manufacturers which
from the Nation Institutes of Health (NIH) explains much of what this
act covered. This site will discuss how important it is to
and understand what is in the supplements we consume. If you
to become a more informed shopper
understand the Supplement Fact label on the back of any nutritional
supplement, this article will help.
many instances here I refer to products branded under the Vitacost
or products manufactured by other companies and marketed by
Vitacost. Vitacost is the largest Internet marketer
nutritional supplements. The company offers approximately
health-related products shipping from various warehouses across the
nation. This is a company I have purchased from since it was
start up founded by a group of doctors all interested in nutrition.
The company went public some years ago, and was
Kroger, the grocery chain, about two years ago. Since discovering their
multivitamin products, I have been a constant customer.
Their customer service, product warranties, and speedy
delivery is second only to
dealing with Vitacost, be aware that they are very promotional-minded.
They frequently have discount offers in general and/or on
specific products. I sometimes catch items that I use offered
a buy one get one half off sale. When I do, I stock up and
I have no financial interest or affiliation with Vitacost.
a number of vitamins, minerals, and nutraceuticals I have linked over
to the Worlds Healthiest Foods website for expanded information.
This site is just loaded with information on diet and
supplements, and it is a wonderful resource. The site is
operated by the George Mateljan Foundation. The George
Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests
You Should Avoid
are plenty of bad actors in the loosely regulated nutritional
but the most annoying and costly of these come from two sources IMHO.
Late night, early morning nutritional supplement infomercials
would be number one, and number two would be the many multiple level
marketing MLM) schemes. A
third might be all the spam mail you get in your mail box; don't even
buy a supplement that is featured in an infomercial. An
infomercial is a television program that promotes a product in an
informative and supposedly objective way.
Invariably you are going to be required to pay a huge price
whatever the focus of the scam is. This is the dietary
supplement world at its worst. An example from a decade ago
is Coral Calcium from Robert Barefoot which was rebuked by Quackwatch here.
The infomercial no longer airs except on his website, but a loyal
customer base continues to pay double or triple the price for coral
calcium complex compared to Vitacost and other more reputable
Marketing (MLM) Programs
is the one where your sister-in-law calls, and informs you that she has
gone into business for herself selling the most wonderful dietary
supplements. Purchasing these products usually has to be done
faith, as it is too confusing to sort through and understand.
a scam of the first order, but unfortunately, your sister-in-law
doesn't know it - yet. Take plenty of time to think about
one before you say no. Here is a Quack Watch article "The Miracle of Multilevel Marketing."
Drugs, and Nutrients Depleted
best and surely the most cost effective way to insure that you are well
covered on the essential vitamins and minerals is selecting a good
multivitamin multimineral basic product. Before making this
selection, however, seniors need to take into account the prescription
drugs being taken. The question here is about interaction.
Are there foods and supplements that should be avoided with
medicines? Does your medicine tend to drain certain vitamins,
minerals, and nutraceuticals from your body? For seniors,
can impact your decisions about the multivitamin and other suppliments
may be appropriate.
Here is a list of common drugs with the vitamins, minerals, and
nutraceuticals that can be affected:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
like aspirin may deplete vitamins B1, B7, B9, and C, and minerals iron
- Anti-inflammatory drugs,
the NSAIDs like Advil, Aleve, and a host of others may
deplete B9, C, iron and zinc.
(Warfarin) depletes coQ10, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B9.
- Antibiotics kill the
good bacteria along with the bad, and also depletes vitamin K.
- Beta-Blockers deplete
coQ10, choline, melatonin, B1, and D.
- Diabetes drugs:
Metformin depletes B1, B9, and B12; the Sulfonylurea drugs deplete
coQ10; insulin depletes magnesium.
- Proton Pump Inhibitors
depletes vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, D; minerals calcium,
chromium, iron, magnesium.
- Cholesterol drugs
(statins) deplete coQ10.
This is just a cherry-picked list extracted from the new book "Fortify
by Tieraona Low Dog, MD.
If drugs you take aren't covered, I strongly recommend her
book that covers about every type of drug, and provides
on reading those product labels,
considerable discussion of all eccential vitamins, minerals, and
important nutraceuticals, and helps design a supplement plan that is
tailored for the individual.
are not the energy producers in our bodies. That job is for
proteins, and fats. But vitamins are essential for making the
body and its immune system function as it should. Vitamins
nutrients your body needs to fight off diseases. Following below
are the thirteen vitamins essential to your health. They
strengthen bones, heal wounds, help obtain energy from food, and on and
Niacin B5 Pantothenic Acid
Biotin B9 Folate
term "vitamin A" makes it sound like there is one particular nutrient
called "vitamin A," but that is not true. Vitamin A is a broad group of
related nutrients. Each of these nutrients provides us with health
benefits, but these benefits may be quite different and they may be
provided in different ways. The World's Healthiest Foods website offers
a summary chart showing basic relationships between the forms of
vitamin A. Learn more about vitamin A from the World's
Thiamine is an energy producer in your body as it
the metabolism of all the grains, sugars, and booze you
consume. It guards against some of those diabetes-related
diseases especially in the cardiovascular system, kidneys, and eyes.
Thiamine is also a helper nutrient for the brain and nervous
system - dealing with stress and aiding memory retention as we age.
Read more about thiamine (B1) here
B2 Riboflavin Riboflavin
is like the other B vitamins in that it helps produce energy by
breaking down proteins and fats, and converts B6 and B9 into their
active forms in the body. It also plays an important role in
metabolism of iron. The expansion of all this is presented
is a major player when it comes to converting carbs, proteins, and fats
into fuel. It also protects your DNA from damage.
useful for managing cholesterol for those who shy away from statin
drugs. For a more complete rundown on niacin, visit
B5 Pantothenic Acid Pantothenic
acid is one of least likely vitamin that you will become deficient in,
is critical in a variety of ways. It gets
involved with energy, memory, learning, attention, melatonin, hormones
and probably more. I'll let WBFoods
take it from there.
like other B vitamins plays an important role in fuel and energy.
This vitamin is especially important for vegetarians as it
converts omega-3 from plant sources to the long-chain omega-3 needed
for brain, vision, and cardiovascular health. It is involved
the production of GABA, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, all of
which are associated with mood. More from World's
Biotin is good
for your hair and nails. Here
is the link to
For seniors, folate is vital for maintaining healthy
brain funtion, protecting us from certain cancers, and protecting
rise in homocysteine. High homocysteine is a marker for
increased risk of heart disease and stroke. The folate in
your multivitamin is called folic acid. This is the synthetic
version of folate put in all multivitamins. If folic acid
to keep the homocysteine numbers in check, bioavailable
folate may be a good idea. More about folate here.
vitamin B12 is
an especially important member of the B family as it is critical for
maintaining healthy nerve cells, and it helps in the production of DNA
and RNA, the body's genetic material. It works closely with
and folate in making red blood cells and in helping iron work
better in the body. B12 and folate also play a vital role
strengthening the immune function and stabilizing mood. For more, visit World's
Healthiest Foods for complete information on cobalamin.
C is often the first vitamin
we consume and for good reason. There are so many good
quality multivitamins will usually include 200mg to 500mg vitamin C,
and some users will want even more during cold and flu season.
Adults can safely take 2 grams daily. Learn more
vitamin C here.
- It helps repair and
- it protects against
- aids in the absorption
- decreases the LDL
cholesterol and triglycerides
- it combats free radicals
in the body, protecting against cancer cell growth
- famously lessens the
duration and symptoms of the common cold
- neutralizes the effects
of nitrate and preservatives found in many foods now
is found in modest amounts in some food, but for the most part
from exposing your skin to the sun. Since your dermatologist
probably frowns at this practice nowadays, most people need to resort
supplements to be sure of not getting short of this important vitamin.
Vitamin D has important roles in the body - helping
the health of bones and teeth; support the health of the immune system,
brain, and nervous system; regulate insulin levels and aid diabetes
management; support lung function and cardiovascular health; and
influence those genes involved in cancer development. This is
a vitamin you want to be short of, and many seniors are. Most
seniors should supplement with 2000 IUs daily, but if you have dark
complexion, are obese, or don't get out of the house much, you may need
The vitamin D council
is about the
best resource around for learning
more about vitamin D.
If you aren't getting
at least 2000 IU of vitamin D in your current supplement, you may need
to add one of these products: Vitamin
D3 sofgel 2000 IU or Vitamin
D3 sofgel 5000 IU.
vitamin functions largely as an antioxidant protecting cells from
damage, and reducing the risk of all sorts of diseases
including cancers, heart problems, and dementia. It plays a
crucial role in support of the immune system, and is particularly
to the optical. Further, its role in monitoring blood
supporting muscle contraction, and even reproduction functions make
a very important vitamin for sure. That said, it is not one
overdose on. A multivitamin providing 150 IU to 200 IU should
about right. This is one of those vitamins that can be a bit
risky for folks if you are just taking a one a day sort of
multivitamin. WebMD provides a good page for learning more about
vitamin E here.
K is critically important for helping blood clot properly, and it also
plays a role in bone health. Visit World's
Healthiest Foods for expanded information.
is a critical mineral for good health - actually for life! In
your youth you were told to drink your milk in order to have strong
bones. You may not drink milk now, but keeping the bones
is obviously the first order of business for seniors. This
mineral also helps blood clot, helps nerves transmit messages, and
it easy for muscles to contract. Your body loses calcium
day and the body has no means to replace it. You have to eat
or swallow a few pills to get it. If you don't, the body is
and it will rob some of your calcium in your bones. It's good
that the body knows where to get the calcium it must have, but it is
not so good for aging bones. Read more about calcium here.
you are among those who don't get enough calcium in your diet, it
makes sense to take a supplement because most multivitamin don't supply
much, if any, calcium. Check the label of your multivitamin.
Calcium is a mineral that works best if it is taken in
vitamin D and with magnesium. So a good product like Vitacost
Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D3 should be considered.
you only need a tiny bit of chromium in your diet, seniors and anyone
prone to having sugar problems need to make sure it is there to handle
its role associated with insulin regulating. A deficiency
can lead to insulin resistance. Any good multivitamin will
care of this mineral. Read more on chromium here.
is a mineral necessary in the body for thyroid production. Any good multivitamin will take care of this
mineral, so no need to dwell
on it. If you have thyroid issues and want to read more visit
need for a lot of iron in the diet declines as we age. This
not to say that seniors can't be iron deficient, but usually, most of
what we need is obtained from the diet. Seniors only need 8mg
daily, so taking an iron supplement can easily result in toxicity.
If your multivitamin contain iron, you probably need to
switch to one that doesn't. More on iron from WBFoods.
is one to worry about. Government surveys show that half the
population fails to get the RDA for magnesium from their diet.
This problem is known to be much worse with seniors, many of
take drugs that deplete stores of magnesium. Low levels of
magnesium are linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease
migraines, depression, osteoporosis, and asthma. It's
in the body are critical including bone health, energy production,
maintaining nerve system balance, controlling inflammation, and
enhancing control of blood sugar. For expanded
on magnesium visit here.
most multivitamin lack magnesium or only contain a tiny bit,
supplementing with a magnesium product is a good idea for most seniors.
The question becomes which kind of magnesium - there are
The pros and cons on the different types is here.
I previously mentioned a popular choice, Vitacost
Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D3. If you get
plenty of calcium and vitamin D from diet or other supplements, Magnesium
Citrate, or a blended product using for different type of
Ultra, or one of the newest and most absorbable types, Magtein,
which is discussed
may be preferred. Magtein is a premium price product, but for my money
it is worth the difference for seniors. It's my personal
is a mineral that must be obtained from diet, not supplements.
get additional information, especially relating to the foods that
should be a part of your diet in order to avoid potassium deficiency.
You should be
getting your Selenium from your multivitamin. You don't need
much, but it is essential. See WHFoods
for expanded information.
is a mineral that plays many roles in health as it interacts with the
expression of the DNA and is a key player in the immune system.
with your vitamin C when cold symptoms appear.
Often seniors are deficient in zinc. For expanded
is a broad umbrella term that is used to describe any product derived
from food sources with extra health benefits in addition to the basic
nutritional value found in foods. They can be considered non-specific
biological therapies used to promote general well-being, control
symptoms and prevent malignant processes.
two words – “nutrient” (a nourishing food component) and
“pharmaceutical” (a medical drug). In
our context, a nutraceutical is a healthy natural product that is
neither vitamin nor mineral - not medicine.
This nutraceutical is an amino acid that can give
you a big boost in energy, both physical and mental. Here are
reports on Acetyl L-Carnitine provided by WebMD
Neurologist, and author of Grain
this ingredient is not in your multivitamin, you can get a good energy
bang for your buck using the Vitacost
Alpha Lipoic Acid
is one of most powerful antioxidant around. It is both fat
water soluble meaning that it is effective throughout the body - most
effective for the brain and nervous system, and for controlling blood
Learn more about ALA from LiveStrong.com
of Maryland Medical Center.
antioxidant is included in the Vitacost multivitamins, but if it is not
in yours, this nutraceutical is one to consider for healthy aging
especially a healthy brain. The Vitacost
Alpha Lipoic Acid is a good choice.
or ubiquinone, is a fat-soluble antioxidant that the body produces or
you can eat - mostly found in fish and organ meats.
This nutraceutical is famous for protecting the heart and
cardiovascular system, but in essence, it is very helpful in all of the
cells in the body, and it considered the most life-extending
antioxidant. While it is made in the body when you are young,
starts slacking off in mid-life, and for seniors, supplementing is a
good idea because the supply is about gone. For a broader
this important nutrient, visit
recommend multivitamins containing a dose of coQ10, but if yours
doesn't have it, here are options to consider: Vitacost
coQ10 200mg Vitacost
are important antioxidants that protect your eyes from macular
degeneration and cataracts. Read more on these from the American
A dose of both of these is in every Vitacost multivitamin,
other multivitamins do not have - if they do have them, the dose is
likely very small in ineffective. For seniors concerned about
vision issues, the Vitacost
Lutein and Zeaxanthin product offers a whopping 20mg dose.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
vital for seniors to mantain a balance of the omega 3 and the omega 6
fatty acids (fats). The reason is simple, omega 6s are
pro-inflammatory fats, and the omega 3s are anti-inflammatory.
This is discussed here.
Please take a minute to read this article completely to have
understanding of why you may or may not need to take fish oil, krill
oil or cod liver oil. It depends entirely on your dietary
Having a balance in the omega fats will play a major role in
winning the battle with inflammation in your body.
omega 3 fatty acids are not a part of most multivitamin formulas, so if
you are still eating processed foods, foods fried in vegetable oils,
finished on grain,
you should probably be taking an omega 3 supplement. Here are
three different options to consider and measure against: Antartic Krill Oil,
Mega EFA, and Vitacost
More on fish oil
Probiotics are essential for better health and a stronger immune
system, for healing digestive issues, and neurological disorders.
A lot, well actually most, of your immune system is located
your gut. Many people with health issues such as thyroid
imbalances, chronic fatigue, joint pain, psoriasis, autism, and many
other conditions do not realize that these illnesses can originate in
the gut. To restore your digestive health is all about balancing out
the good and bad bacteria in your digestive system. If you are going to
be healthy you should consider consuming probiotics rich foods and
Probiotics should be taken daily when you are
required to take antibiotics. This will reduce the damage
these drugs can do to your immune system.
While a few of the better multivitamin formulas include probiotics,
most do not. Here are two options for probiotics: Probiotics
More from Harvard.
Turmeric is a natural
anti-inflammatory that has
been proved effective in a wide variety of situation. Dr.
Axe offers a comprehensive article on turmeric here. If
you are taking a multivitamin that does not contain a dose of turmeric,
this is one that should be considered as an add on nutrient.
favorite here is Turmeric
Systemic Enzymes Wobenzym
N and Flavenzym are systemic enzymes that help to build and maintain
overall health. They can be used to deal with a specific
such as a strain or tennis elbow. Often they are used to
prevention and overall general body support by eliminating impurities,
foreign proteins and micro-organanisms from the blood stream and
tissues. Many people use systemic enzymes instead of more dangerous
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like Celebrex, Advil or
Aleve. Read more on systemic
Systemic enzymes must be taken on an empty stomach at least 45 minutes
enzymes have been marketed for decades and they remain one of the best
anti-aging tools we have. Wobenzym N is the original German product
which has been well researched and studied. Flavenzym is a
Vitacost product which appears to be an exact knock-off. Both
be obtained at discounted
prices from Vitacost.com.
Branched-Chain Amino Acid (BCAA)
you are an everyday workout sort of senior, a BCAA drink is a good way
to stay in the gym or on the court longer. They increase
strength and endurance. See article from Life
Extension on these.
A recommended item from Vitacost is the ARO
Black Series Amino Plus.
selecting a multivitamin product, I have established a four group
situation. Options and ideas will be provided for each of the
1- has minimal
interest in dietary supplements, but will agree to a multivitamin
for just one capsule daily. Prefers just one capsule a day,
having read this far, may take two tops. This is a risky
group for seniors.
2 - doesn't want to go overboard with too many capsules to
realizes that age and prescription drugs consumed may make more
nutritional supplements helpful. Tolerance for taking up to 5
to 7 capsules daily.
- looking for
an affordable combination of essential vitamins, minerals and
nutraceuticals to hang on to and enjoy healthy living.
consume several more capsules daily. This group is where I would
hope most seniors end up since our need for nutritrition gets more
complicated with each passing decade.
This group also
includes much more focused multivitamins. If you
been diagnosed with heart disease, diabetics, macular degeneration, or
if your chief concern is maintaining your mental abilities, you may
find your multivitamin in this section. These are products
the Vitacost founding physicians designed for specific purposes and
they are very unique in the industry.
Group 1 individuals, I have developed a comparison page on two multivitamin.
The first of these is the Vitacost Once Daily multivitamin,
the second is probably the most popular multivitamin for seniors -
Centrum Silver. The Centrum Silver is typical of most
type vitamins, so it is used here as an example. Many
instances, the trace amounts are not really very helpful. For
example, most higher quality multivitamins do not include calcium,
magnesium, and potassium because the body's need for these is so great
that it can't be dented with a small portion of one capsule.
good calcium and magnesium supplement will usually call for three
capsules daily. Seniors that try to maintain their health
more than a one-a-day
will not do very well.
though the Vitacost Once Daily costs nearly four times as much for the
daily dose, at just $0.30, it is a far better value. Its 2000
of D3 coupled with the therapeutic dose of a significant number of
nutraceuticals make this a single capsule that you might be able to
scrape by with as long as your food consumption is near perfect, and
you avoid the many pitfalls of the average American diet.
This is a great one-a-day
for teens and young adults.
Once Daily multivitamin.
Group 2 individuals
Here, we're looking for a multivitamin and mineral product offering a
range of coverage with just a couple of capsules or tablets a day. This
capsule allows expansion in various direction, usually resulting in a
formula with more nutraceuticals providing more anti-oxidant,
anti-inflammatory protection. Examples are the Vitacost Basic and the Vitacost
products. These products are highly recommended for healthy
adults. The products do, however, leave some gaps,
particularly in the minerals and nutraceuticals that seniors may want
to consider. By
strategically adding products to meet your particular situation, these
products can serve as a base for a highly focused supplement program.
My personal choice for a base multivitamin is Vitacost
Energy. These are multivitamin that provide a very solid base
for expanding in different direction depending on individual needs and
health objectives. I think of these as being great
choices for healthy people from their mid-thirties to their mid-fifties.
Basic or Vitacost
For Group 3 Individuals
As a few gray hairs
begin to appear, you may
realize that you might benefit from a more compreshive
multi-vitamin multimineral product. The older you get, the
trickier supplementing your diet becomes, and the more critical it
becomes. Here are a list of items that you should consider:
personal choice is to continue with the Vitacost
Energy, but augment
somewhat to take care of other needs. This included
adding a half dose (1 capsule) of a product
vitamin A, C, and E, making my choice a three-capsule daily
make my pick as comprehensive as the products to follow, I also had to
add a number of other individual items such as magnesium, calcium, and
several more to manage my individual needs.
- Men's Formula and
Women's Formula - A
second option is to obtain a quality multivitamin designed for men and
women. The Vitacost options that would past the quality test
is the Vitacost
Synergy Men's and Women's.
Both of these are very comprehensive products that will cover
many important needs of each gender.
popular choice is to select a vitamin that provides a great serving of
fruits and vegetables. My model for these is the Vitacost Synergy 3000 which is
a great choice for those who know they don't eat enough veggies.
A link to the Synergy 3000 product is here.
Synergy NeuroPower multivitamin has a variety of
found in a multi. This product leans strongly toward
healthy brains, and keeping you sharp mentally.
Synergy OcuPower Advance multivitamin is indeed probably the
most advanced multi you can find for eye health.
Synergy GlucoPower multivitamin
may be for you if your DNA has you fretting about sugar and what it
to your body. This multi is designed to support healthy glucose
Synergy CardioLift multivitamin is an excellent choice for
helping the cardiovascular system stay strong and healthy.
Synergy ArthoPower Ultra multivitamin is a formula designed
to maintain healthy joints and keep imflammation to a minimum at any