Supplements: Which Should You Add?

As you get older, your body’s nutritional needs change. Here’s how to supplement your diet.

Kay Lovig, MD, who is board-certified in internal medicine and endocrinology and practices at White Plains Hospital Medical and Wellness in Armonk, gives us the lowdown on which supplements to add to our diets as we age, though, she says, it’s best to get some vitamins and minerals through food “as larger amounts found in supplements are not generally absorbed as well.” 

Vitamin D “It’s essential for proper absorption of calcium and appears to play a role in insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and immune function, but this is still being investigated. As we age, our ability to synthesize vitamin D in sunlight through our skin diminishes, and sunscreen effectively blocks vitamin-D synthesis. Generally, it is recommended that individuals in their 40s take 600 IUs a day.”

Calcium “Bone mass declines as we age, with an increased rate of bone loss in woman post-menopause. The general consensus is to consume 1000 mg of calcium daily via dietary sources or supplements. Do not consume more than 2000 mg per day.”

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Omega-3 Fish Oil “Omega-3 fatty acids may help lower blood pressure, reduce triglycerides, slow the development of plaque in arteries and lessen the chance of sudden cardiac death in people with heart disease. Omega-3 fish oils can be found in flaxseed, chia seed, salmon, and nuts.”

Fiber Fiber is essential to a healthy diet. Benefits include normalizing bowel movements, lowering cholesterol, aiding in controlling blood sugar and achieving a healthy weight. There is also some evidence that it may prevent colorectal cancer. Woman under 50 should consume 25 g/day, men 38 g/day. Those over 50 should consume 21g/day and 30 g/day, respectively.”

Vitamin B12 “B12 is an essential water-soluble vitamin  found in fish, meat, eggs, and dairy. B12 deficiency causes anemia. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you are likely deficient. The recommended dietary amount is 2.4 migrograms daily.” 

 

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