As we age, our diets and need for dietary supplements become more. Doctors are increasingly concerned about boosting the levels of vitamins and minerals that we need as we grow older.
As most people get older, we tend to eat less due to the loss of appetite. As a result, many elderly people do not take in adequate amounts of vitamins and other nutrients. Other factors that can affect appetite and a lack of vital nutrients are medications, medical complications, certain disabilities, diabetes and changes in the digestive system. When a person is vitamin and mineral deficient, he or she is more susceptible to illness and infections. This is why it is estimated that deaths due to infections are ten times more likely in the elderly.
The human body is known to need at least 13 different vitamins. We are able to store some of these for long periods of time in fat cells or in the liver such as vitamin A, but most vitamins need to be replenished frequently. Vitamins don’t give us energy. We need protein, carbohydrates and fats to supply us with energy. What vitamins do is help release that energy. Vitamins are needed to assist the enzymes that repair tissue and help with the production of cells. Many studies show that vitamins can help or prevent some of the disorders or diseases related to aging.
There are two types of vitamins . . . water soluble and fat soluble. Water soluble vitamins are not stores in our systems. Water soluble vitamins contribute to our health, energy and stamina. Vitamins also help in the function of over one hundred enzymes and chemical reactions that give our body energy. The most well-known water soluble vitamins and their benefits include:
- Vitamin B5 – good for reducing swelling
- Vitamin B3 – reduces tissue swelling and help increase blood flow
- Vitamin B6 – when combined with vitamin B12 in proper concentration has shown to reduce heart disease
- Vitamin B12 – This is the most vital of the B vitamins. It aids in the formation of cells, healthy nerves, maintaining immune system and mental function
- Vitamin C – helps in the formation of cartilage and bone.
Fat soluble vitamins are vitamins that stay in the body and are typically stored in the liver. You can usually receive enough of these compounds by eating a well-balanced diet. Before taking the daily recommended dose of fat soluble vitamins you must consult your doctor. Overdoses of these vitamins can cause a toxic build-up. The major fat soluble vitamins include:
- Vitamin A – lungs, throat and mouth depend on vitamin A to retain moisture. It is also important for your skin, bones, teeth, digestive system and eyes.
- Vitamin K – plays an important role in the clotting of blood as well as overall bone health.
Vitamin D – is produced in the skin by exposure to the sun. Changes in skin as we age can also cause poor production of vitamin D. Studies have shown that osteoporosis might progress faster in women with low levels of vitamin D. This vitamin is essential in helping the body absorb calcium and in maintaining strong bones.