Our bodies need vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to carry out voluntary and involuntary functions. All vital activities need essential vitamins to perform actions like molecular cell division to the working of the nervous system. As our body ages, our muscles and bones get weaker and the skin gets thinner by storing less fat. The weak muscles and bones limit mobility and strength needed to conduct daily chores. Therefore, essential vitamins are needed as we age to prevent bone loss, broken bones, osteoporosis (in women), poor immunity, and many other health complications. Of course, the vitamins can be taken using supplements but food can be a major source for essential vitamin intake. Here’s a list of essential vitamins for adults and seniors and how the vitamins can help.
As our body ages, it starts to lose this vitamin more than it absorbs it. This makes bones brittle especially in women after menopause. Calcium can help your muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and cells to function better. Calcium deficiency can be a big cause of osteoporosis, rickets, seizures, and conditions like hypocalcemia. The main source for calcium is fish, dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, some green leafy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, but NOT spinach, and products made of fortified flour like bread. In Northern climates such as Edmonton where we get longer winters and less daylight during the winter months we also do not get a lot of exposure to sunlight. For this reason, it is especially important to supplement with Vitamin D in the winter time.
Vitamin B6 helps metabolism and the immune system to fight away germs. Your body’s need for B6 keeps increasing as you age. High B6 levels in the blood help to achieve better memory in seniors. The source for this vitamin is fortified cereals, soy products, organ meats, and whole grains.
Vitamin B12 is essential as we get older as it is responsible for making more blood and nerve cells in the body. The natural source for vitamin B12 is only from non-vegetarian foods like meat, poultry, fish and dairy like eggs, yogurt, and milk.
To obtain all that essential calcium needed by the body, vitamin D helps the body helps in absorbing calcium from foods. Like calcium, vitamin D helps nerves, muscles, and immune system to function better. Most individuals receive vitamin D from sunlight. As we get older, our bodies cannot convert the sun’s rays to vitamin D. Hence, it becomes necessary to take supplements for vitamin D. Not all foods satisfy the intake of vitamin D but some fatty fish like salmon can be a good source.
Magnesium helps the body produce proteins along with bone matter and maintains blood sugar levels. The adults or seniors with health conditions like digestive problems or who take oral medications have lesser levels of magnesium as their bodies cannot absorb magnesium easily. The richest sources of magnesium are seeds, nuts, and leafy green vegetables along with the essential vitamins and supplements prescribed by the physician. These supplements will be readily available at your nearest pharmacy store as well.
Other than these essential vitamins, there are other significant vitamins like melatonin, probiotics, coQ10, omega 3s, and fish oil. Along with a balanced vitamin-rich diet, it is also essential to maintain the flexibility of muscles as we age and stay fit in the prime of our health.