Health

Understanding the Correct Vitamins to Take for Optimal Health

As you are aging, are you getting what you need? You probably know you need vitamins and minerals for good health and your overall well being;… Trista - October 7, 2019

As you are aging, are you getting what you need? You probably know you need vitamins and minerals for good health and your overall well being; however, which vitamins should you really be taking? Vitamins are essential nutrients that perform hundreds of roles in the body for its proper functioning. There is a fine line between getting too much of these vitamins and not enough of them.

Health professionals and doctors always say that eating a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to get the necessary vitamins that our body requires. However, people may consume foods that are scarce in one or more vitamins for numerous reasons. Nevertheless, with the development of medical science, there are vitamins in the supplement form, which are beneficial, especially as you age.

 

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Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a group of fat-soluble compounds highly essential for strong bones, flawless skin, healthy vision, and other tissues in the body. As we age, we face problems like wrinkles, weak bones, and weak eyesight, among other aspects. Vitamin A works as an antioxidant that fights cell damage and plays a vital role in keeping the vital organs like kidneys, lungs, and heart healthy.

According to medical experts, it is recommended that adolescents get 300-600 mcg (microgram) of vitamin A, women 700 mcg, and men 900 mcg of vitamin A per day. It is found in both animal and plant-based foods, but if necessary, you can get it through health supplements, like pills or tablets.

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is required to stay healthy. A vitamin D deficiency can cause severe health implications, such as high blood pressure, fractures, falls, some cancers, and other autoimmune disorders. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, and it helps the body to absorb calcium.

Without Vitamin D, our bodies may lead to muscle weakness, lose bone tissue, and possible skeletal deformity. As we age, our body becomes vulnerable to several complications, and we need vitamin D to regulate cell growth, fight infection, help muscle movement, and carry messages through our nervous system. The best source of vitamin D is natural sunlight.

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Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that impacts the skin elasticity, cardiovascular function, and immune health. To stay in good physical condition and ward of diseases, we should strive to get our daily dose of vitamin C. Immune cells decrease with age, putting people at an increased risk of contracting an illness.

Vitamin C maintains the function of the immune cells while resetting metabolism and offsetting weight gain. It helps in removing oxidative stress that ultimately increases the body’s metabolism. People in their late 30s and early 40s are told to consume foods rich in vitamin C, as it helps them grow old without any complications. Also, most importantly, people undergoing chemotherapy sessions for cancer treatment may benefit from taking vitamin C.

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Vitamin K

As we age, a deficiency in vitamin K can lead to mobility issues. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble nutrient that plays a role in regulating blood calcium levels, bone metabolism, and blood clotting. Vitamin K is essential in producing ‘prothrombin,’ an essential protein that is important in bone metabolism and blood clotting.

Moreover, increased blood levels of vitamin K have been associated with enhanced episodic memory in older adults. On the other hand, vitamin K helps in keeping the blood pressure low by inhibiting mineralization. Mineralization is the significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, and it occurs naturally with age.   

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Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an essential nutrient that is critical to your reproduction, vision, and the health of your skin, brain, and blood. It comes with antioxidant properties that can protect your cells against free radicals, which ultimately helps prevent cancer, heart disease, and other severe health complications.

However, according to doctors, if you are taking vitamin E, you need to keep in mind that the supplements do not offer the same benefits as natural food sources rich in vitamin E. Foods rich in vitamin E include peanuts, almonds, margarine, olive, oil, and canola oil. However, you should consult it with your doctor if you are allergic to any of the products.

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Thiamin – Vitamin B1

Thiamin is a water-soluble B vitamin that plays a vital role in energy metabolism, and thus, in the development, growth, and function of cells. As we age, our cells become weak and find it challenging to convert food into energy. Thiamin is a critical vitamin in this aspect, as it has many vital functions throughout the body.

Unfortunately, our body isn’t capable of producing thiamin; hence, it must be consumed through food sources like whole grains, nuts, and meat. Thiamin deficiency may lead to diabetes, as well. So, it is vital that keep your thiamin level optimal to avoid any further complications.

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Pyridoxine – Vitamin B6

Pyridoxine is one of the water-soluble B vitamins that your body needs for numerous functions. Pyridoxine is significant to carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism, as well as the creation of neurotransmitters and red blood cells. Similar to thiamin, our body can’t produce Pyridoxine naturally; hence, it needs to be consumed via natural food sources or through health supplements.

Pyridoxine is known to have a positive influence on reducing the symptoms of depression. Moreover, it plays a crucial role in promoting brain function that can ultimately prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Last but not least, Pyridoxine may help treat and prevent anemia by aiding hemoglobin production.

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Niacin – Vitamin B3

Niacin is a critical part of the more than 400 different enzyme reactions taking place in the body. These enzymes are responsible for changing proteins, fat, and carbohydrates into a form the body can use. These enzymes are also responsible for metabolic processes in the body’s cells.

Hence, if your body is niacin deficient, it may lead to depression, fatigue, headache, constipation, vomiting, or diarrhea, and other health complications. With age, your cholesterol levels can also increase. Niacin can help improve your cholesterol levels and reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases. However, before you take over-the-counter niacin supplements, you should always consult it with your doctor.

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Riboflavin – Vitamin B2

Riboflavin or vitamin B2, like other B vitamins, is involved in energy metabolism and helps keep the nervous system, including the eyes and skin healthy. Riboflavin is essential for the body for its overall health and growth. It helps in breaking down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to produce energy.

Moreover, Riboflavin allows for the proper use of oxygen by the body. Deficiency in Riboflavin may lead to digestive problems and a weak immune system. It is not naturally produced in the body, and you need to consume it from natural food sources like green leafy vegetables, soybeans, mushrooms, whole grain, meat, and dairy products, among others.    

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Cobalamin – Vitamin B12

Cobalamin is essential for creating DNA and red blood cells, and for the maintenance of healthy nerve function. For older people, getting enough Cobalamin is a challenge since they struggle to absorb it from food sources as good as the younger people. Hence, they may have to rely on health supplements and other over-the-counter medications for obtaining Cobalamin in their bodies.

However, the doctors suggest eating milk products, eggs, poultry, meat, and fish to improve the levels of Cobalamin in your body. Vitamin B12 deficiency may cause pernicious anemia and cognitive impairment as we age.

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Folic Acid/Folate – Vitamin B9

Folic acid is responsible for improving the cognitive function in men and women as they age. Folic acid is one of the B vitamins, which can be found in green leafy vegetables and certain fruits. It plays a critical role in the production of new cells, especially in the embryo and spinal cord. This is the main reason why pregnant women are advised by the doctors to maintain their required folate level.

Adults need folic acid to generate DNA and red blood cells. It has been found that folate acid is critical in reducing several age-related impairments, such as Alzheimer’s disease and hearing loss. Moreover, being deficit in folic acid puts you at an increased risk of anemia and improper digestion. Folic acid is responsible for better absorption of protein as well.

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Panthothenic Acid – Vitamin B5

Panthothenic acid is a vital nutrient necessary for making blood cells. It is also helpful in converting food into energy. Panthothenic acid is needed for healthy eyes, skin, and hair, proper functioning of the liver and nervous system, healthy digestive tract, and making sex hormones in the adrenal glands.

Doctors suggest that the best way to get enough of the Panthothenic Acid is to eat a balanced diet, incorporating foods like whole-grain cereals, white and sweet potatoes, members of the cabbage family, and broccoli. Its deficiency can lead to obesity, muscular dystrophy, low blood pressure, heart failure, and multiple sclerosis in people.

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Choline

Choline is an essential vitamin that is required for normal bodily function and human health. While it is produced naturally in our liver, you must obtain the majority of this vital nutrient through diet. Choline impacts the metabolism, nervous system, muscle movement, healthy brain development, and live function.

So, as you are aging, you need to take care of these respective body functions. Therefore, you need to consume an adequate amount of Choline daily to ensure that you remain in optimal health as you age. Choline deficiency may lead to muscle damage, neural tube defects in unborn babies, and other pregnancy complications.

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Biotin – Vitamin B7

Biotin is an essential nutrient, especially required breastfeeding and pregnancy. In addition to that, it is crucial for the health of your nails, skin, and hair. Like other water-soluble B vitamins, biotin is critical for energy production. Moreover, it helps reduce blood sugar in diabetic people.

Some studies show that biotin deficiency may cause a skin disorder called seborrheic dermatitis in people. Moreover, there have been cases of multiple sclerosis due to a lack of biotin in the body. In Multiple Sclerosis, the protective covering of the nerve fibers in the eyes, spinal cord, and the brain are damaged. This protective covering is known as ‘myelin,’ and biotin is an essential factor in producing it.

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Potassium

Potassium keeps the heart-healthy since it keeps the heart beating at a reasonable pace. It also aids in maintaining the balance of water in the body, conducting muscle contraction and nerve impulses. As we age, a variety of factors can cause a potassium deficiency. The average levels of potassium should be between 3.5-5.0 milliequivalents/liter of blood.

If it reduces to the minimum or increases to the maximum, it can prove to be life-threatening. You need an adequate amount of potassium each day to maintain optimal health. Potassium is an electrolyte that can conduct electrical impulses within the body. Potassium works with other nutrients to regulate the extra and intra-cellular movement of nutrients, brain function, energy level, pH balance, and heart rhythm.

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Calcium

Calcium is the major component of our teeth and bones and is the most copious mineral found in our body. Calcium helps with muscle contraction. Deficiency in calcium may cause reduced mobility, stiffness, and muscle cramps. As we age, our bones become weaker and can easily fracture. Hence, you need to ensure that you have a proper intake of calcium regularly.

A good source of calcium include dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and butter. Insufficient amounts can lead to brittle bones when you are older, meaning your bones break easily due to loss of bone mass. While calcium is present is almost all the food we eat, deficiency may lead to constipation, kidney stones, muscle weakness, and fatigue.

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Sodium Chloride

Although sodium often gets a bad reputation in the nutrition and health industry, a small amount of this essential nutrient is necessary for proper body functioning. It helps in maintaining the fluid balance in the body and is vital for muscle contraction and nerve impulse conduction.

However, too much sodium can cause cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. So, you must consume a lot of water to remove excess sodium from your kidneys.

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Phosphorous

Phosphorous is an essential nutrient found in the bones, which is processed by the kidneys. Phosphorous is as necessary as calcium when it comes to protecting the bones and teeth. However, phosphorous is also found in smaller amounts in tissues and cells for growth and repair. Eating disorders or poor diet may contribute to a phosphorus deficiency.

A phosphorus-deficient body may experience bone-related symptoms like fragile bones, bone pain, and other complications like loss of appetite. If you don’t have an adequate diet, you may develop phosphorous deficiency. There are a lot of phosphorus-rich supplements you can take. However, if you want to boost your levels without health supplements, you can focus on phosphorus-rich foods like beer, cheese, eggs, fish, chicken, chocolates, garlic, potatoes, and more.

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Iron

Iron is an important mineral with numerous roles in the body. Iron is the critical component of hemoglobin, allowing red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body. The symptoms of iron deficiency may include slowed mental functioning, impaired immune system functioning, dizziness, irritability, shortness of breath, decreased energy levels, weak and cold, and feeling tired.

Iron deficiency is common among the elderly population. So, as you age, you need to maintain your iron intake from natural food sources. If you aren’t getting enough iron from the foods you eat, you may want to visit your doctor and get a prescription for an OTC supplement.

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Magnesium

While magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, you may not be getting enough of it, even if you are eating a healthy diet. Magnesium plays numerous roles in the health of your brain and body. It is an essential mineral for nerve function, muscle movement, and energy regulation.

Adults who consume less than the recommended quantity of magnesium are more likely to experience elevated inflammation markers. Inflammation is associated with significant health complications like cancers, diabetes, and heart diseases. So, including magnesium-rich foods in our diet is critical to prevent unfavorable health conditions.

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Copper

Copper is an essential trace element necessary for survival. It plays a critical role in maintaining the immune system, nerve cells, and making red blood cells. It is found in all body tissues and plays a role in energy production. Copper is vital for overall health. It helps the body form collagen that aids absorb iron.

Low copper levels in the body have been linked to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also has been found that copper deficiency can lead to neutropenia – a lack of white blood cells, which fight off infection. Moreover, a sufficient amount of copper in the diet may help delay or prevent arthritis.

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Zinc

Zinc is a vital mineral with excellent health benefits. Zinc helps the immune system work properly and is essential for enzyme reactions, cell growth and division, protein production, and DNA synthesis. Its deficiency can negatively affect how your immune system works and increases the likelihood of diseases.

As we age, we tend to have lower zinc levels. Hence, it is crucial that you consume a zinc-rich diet regularly to keep the zinc levels intact. Zinc is naturally found in a variety of both animal and plant foods, but you can also take multi-nutrient supplements that provide zinc.

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Selenium

Selenium is an essential mineral vital to your overall health. It must be obtained through diet. While it is only needed in small amounts, selenium plays a crucial role in essential processes in the body, such as thyroid function and boosting metabolism.

Most importantly, it acts as a natural antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. This ultimately lowers your risk of certain cancers, including prostate, colon, lung, and breast cancers. Some research even suggests that supplementing with selenium may decrease the side effects in individuals undergoing radiation therapy. The natural selenium-rich food sources include fish, nuts, brown rice, eggs, and more.

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Manganese

Manganese is a trace element that contributes to many bodily functions, such as processing carbohydrates, fat, and glucose for energy production, metabolism of amino acids, and cholesterol. Manganese also plays a significant role in reducing inflammation, blood clotting, and bone formation. It needs to be obtained from external sources like foods and health supplements. However, our body can store it in the brain, kidneys, bones, pancreas, and liver. 

So, as we age, we need to keep track of our manganese intake to ensure better health. The manganese-rich foods may include pineapple, sweet potato, lima beans, brown rice, spinach, nuts, black and green teas, and others.

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Iodine

Iodine is an essential mineral used by our thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones, which helps in controlling the growth and repair of the damaged cells while providing healthy metabolism. People who don’t use iodized salt are at higher risk of iodine deficiency.

Moreover, pregnant women are also at risk of iodine deficiency. The deficiency can cause severe symptoms, such as pregnancy-related issues, swelling in the neck, learning difficulties in children, and weight gain. Hence, it is crucial to include iodine in your daily diet. Seafood is the best source of iodine, but it can also be obtained from iodized salt and other crops.

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Molybdenum

You may probably haven’t heard of molybdenum, but it is an essential mineral for your health. Molybdenum is the critical component of many vital body functions, though it is only needed in tiny amounts. Molybdenum is responsible for preventing toxic materials like deadly sulfites and other toxins forming in the body. While supplements are popular, molybdenum is available in the diet.

However, when you are taking a molybdenum supplement, make sure to check it with your doctor since a high dose can be problematic. It converts sulfites into sulfates, averting the buildup of dangerous sulfites. Moreover, it also helps in breaking down the aldehydes, which can be toxic to the body.

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Chromium

Chromium is a metallic component that you need in minimal quantities. It can enhance carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism, and improve insulin sensitivity. Good sources of chromium include brewer’s yeast, liver, and broccoli. Chromium is thought to play a crucial role in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

While there is no clear evidence on how chromium benefits body, reports on deficiency are rare. However, according to doctors, a lack could lead to impaired glucose tolerance, which can cause reduced control of blood sugar levels in people with type-2 diabetes, and less efficient control of cholesterol that can lead to heart disease.

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Probiotics

The core of your overall well being is digestive health. Your gastrointestinal tract is responsible for absorbing all the nutrients; hence, it is directly linked to your immune system.

Therefore, it pays to keep your gut health up and running, and probiotics can help. Probiotics help nurture the good bacteria in your gut, aiding in proper digestion of food and supporting digestive health. Probiotics help in cultivating better digestive health, and therefore, it should be a part of your daily nutritional routine.  

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil is the primary source of omega-3 supplements, and they are lauded for their ability to fight inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids can counteract a plethora of changes that we experience as we age.

It can help control cognitive problems, the risk of heart disease, and other health complications that strike with age. Omega-3s are mostly consumed in the supplemental form. However, those who are vegan can try pumpkin seed oil, as it is essentially a great source of omega-3s.

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Fiber

The importance of fiber intake surges as we age. Fiber is critical for keeping your digestive health intact. It keeps you regular and prevents constipation or loose motion. Most importantly, it helps protect against strokes, coronary artery disease, and lowers your blood sugar and cholesterol.

It helps in lowering the cholesterol by holding onto bile acids and fat and kicking them out through your digestive tract. There are plenty of natural food sources rich in fiber, so there is no need for any additional fiber health supplement.

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Protein

Protein is as important as other nutrients in this list for healthy aging. Protein helps nurture, repair, and preserve tissues while supporting the growth of lean muscle. It keeps you satiated and energized longer than carbohydrates.

Protein is not only necessary for building muscle but for overall health as well. So, it is crucial to have a protein-rich breakfast every day. For additional supplementation, you can take protein in the form of powder and shakes.

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Glucosamine

As we age, our joints start taking the toll of our body. To keep your joints healthy, you may want to consider taking Glucosamine supplements. It can help you stay flexible and mobile as you age. Glucosamine is one of the most popular health supplements known for joint care.

According to health professionals, Glucosamine helps in slowing down the process of cartilage breakdown. Thus, it can provide you with support and comfort with your day to day activities, including workouts.

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Boron

Boron is a trace mineral found in the body that plays an important role in several body functions associated with immune response, strong bones, and brain function.

The health benefits of boron have been linked to increasing magnesium absorption, arthritis relief, and improved brain function. The actual job of boron is to allow certain nutrients in your body to perform at their optimal; hence, improving the overall function of your body.

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Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is an essential nutrient known for its antioxidant properties. It is needed for converting fat, carbohydrates, and proteins into energy for body growth and sustaining health.

It has also shown potential health benefits for cardiovascular health. However, with age, the production of Coenzyme Q10 decreases in our body. So, you are advised to supplement with Coenzyme Q10 on a constant basis.

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Collagen

With age, our skin starts to lose collagen – a complex protein that contains 19 different amino acids, which is a component of connective tissues, muscles, bones, and skin and provides structure and strength to the body.

Collagen supplements can help you get back your body’s vibrancy. It can help with increased skin elasticity and the production of other essential proteins like fibrillarin and elastin.

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Lutein

Lutein is an important nutrient that plays a critical role in the health of your eyes. So, supplementing with Lutein is more significant, especially after age 50. Lutein is a carotenoid nutrient that may reduce with age.

Lutein deficiency may lead to age-related macular degeneration, which can hinder your sharp, peripheral vision. Lutein can be obtained through health supplements and multivitamins.

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Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh is an essential nutrient, especially for women who have achieved menopause. It can help prevent the side effects of menopause.

This nutrient can help reduce inflammation, night sweats, and hot flashes while being hormone-free. Most importantly, Black Cohosh can reduce hormonal imbalance and improve sleep quality, as well.

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Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

Methylsulfonylmethane or MSM is a popular ingredient in many health supplements that helps you recover from joint problems.

When you reach a certain age, your body becomes slower, and it may take time to treat your joint problems. MSM can help decrease muscle damage and oxidative stress. It is also beneficial for skin and hair health since it promotes keratin production.

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Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

Alpha Lipoic Acid or ALA, often referred to as ‘universal antioxidant’ is a vitality-enhancing fatty acid that helps regenerate other antioxidants, including glutathione, and Vitamins C and E.

ALA also supports liver and heart health. It can be obtained from foods like red meat, fruits, and vegetables.

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Multivitamins  

Multivitamins can help fill in the nutritional gaps and make sure that you are getting all the necessary nutrients and vitamins your diet is lacking these days. They are an essential part of our daily health supplements as it helps us steer clear of the potential health issues that come with aging, such as bone diseases and neurological damage.

To protect yourself from potential harms of aging, you need to maintain a diet that’s rich in all the necessary vitamins and minerals. If you aren’t getting enough minerals and vitamins from food sources, you should consult your doctor and get prescriptions for the required health supplements.

 

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