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Did you know that as you age, you are more prone to nutrient deficiencies? It’s true!
Aging is a beautiful experience but it frankly comes with some tough pills to swallow. You’re likely well-acquainted with several of aging’s less than pleasant side effects, but one you might not be aware of is the decrease in stomach acid that happens as you get older.
Due to less stomach acid, your body is not able to absorb nutrients as well as it used to. This in combination with a decreased need for as many calories can cause nutritional deficiencies.
If you’re over the age of 50, it’s very important to eat a healthy diet rich in whole foods, fruits and vegetables (the best way to get nutrients!) but it also may be necessary to supplement with additional vitamins.
Below, we cover the 7 best vitamins for women over 50.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D can be absorbed in our bodies when we’re in the sunshine, however, it’s not the most reliable source since we need to protect our skin from the sun by using sunscreen and many people live in climates where there is little sun during the winter months.
While great food sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, fatty fish and fortified foods like milk, less than 10 percent of women over the age of 50 get the recommended amount through food according to Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD.
The benefits of getting enough vitamin D, however, include reducing your risk of developing colon, breast and esophageal cancers by 30 to 50 percent. It is recommended for people 50 to 70 years old to get 15 mcg daily (600 IU) daily, and those over 70 should get 20 mcg daily (800 IU).
So which vitamin D should you take? I recommend: Metagenics Vitamin D3.
With age comes the breaking down of bone tissue faster than it can be built, which makes this mineral vital for maintaining the normal functioning of muscles and nerves.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation says that more than two million broken bones occur in the U.S. due to osteoporosis, and for women, this is greater than that of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined.
While you can get your calcium from yogurt, cheese, almonds, tofu and green leafy vegetables, a dose of up to 500 mg twice a day may also be necessary.
Which calcium supplement should you take? I recommend: Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D3.
Tip: You don’t need to take an additional vitamin D supplement if it’s included in your calcium supplement.
Do you suffer from leg cramps, fatigue, migraines, sleep issues, anxiety, or high blood pressure? If you have one or more of these symptoms you could be one of many Americans that are deficient in magnesium!
As you age, your body is less capable of absorbing magnesium from food, making magnesium deficiency more common in older adults than younger ones, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination.
Taking a multivitamin with up to 350 mg can significantly lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and even lower your blood pressure.
Which magnesium supplement should you take? I recommend: Magnesium Glycinate
4. B Vitamins
Studies have shown the importance of adequate vitamin B intake during menopause. A study published in 2018 by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health conclude that “cardiovascular diseases and stroke as well as cognitive declines resulting in dementia or Alzheimer’s are among the several consequences of the insufficient concentration of vitamins from the B group.”
Furthermore, between 10 and 30 percent of older Americans are incapable of absorbing B12 from food because the acid in your stomach diminishes.
A multivitamin of folic acid, B6 and B12 is a healthful combo (more on multivitamins below).
Which vitamin B should you take? I recommend: Nature Made Super B-Complex
One of the main building blocks of the body, collagen makes up about 30 percent of your total body protein and 75 percent of your skin. While your body naturally produces it, the production begins to decline as you age.
Collagen supports skin elasticity while keeping it supple and firm. It also makes your nails strong and shiny. By the age of 50, a woman may have lost up to half of the collagen in her skin, but taking collagen supplements can slow down and prevent the loss of further collagen.
There are two forms of collagen supplements: hydrolyzed collagen and undenatured type II collagen. The recommended supplement intake of the former is 10g a day, while the latter is 40mg a day. We also love taking collagen in the form of powder which can be added to smoothies!
Which collagen supplement should you take? I recommend: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Getting enough omega-3s is important in preventing irregular heartbeats, plaque buildup in the arteries, inflammation and high blood sugar.
Good food sources are flaxseed oil, salmon, walnuts and edamame. Omega-3s protect aging women against osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.
The recommended dose is 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA omega-3s per day.
Which omega-3 supplement should I take? Try: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega
7. Vitamin C
Vitamin C may be the most well-known supplement that people reach for and for good reason! Vitamin C is good for immunity, reduces inflammation, can benefit the aging process by reducing wrinkles, lowers your risk of stroke, and reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
And as health “miracles” go, it’s pretty cheap. It’s also water-soluble meaning your body uses the amount it needs and rids itself of any excess through urine.
The RDA of vitamin C is 75-90 milligrams a day for adults, however many argue for a higher number. In fact, research Mark Moyad, MD, recommends 500 milligrams a day in addition to five servings of fruit and vegetables.
Which vitamin C supplement should you take? Try: Activated C Food Complex
Best Multivitamin For Women Over 50
For a lot of people, taking a single pill might be easier than taking all sorts of different supplements separately, which makes taking a multivitamin a good option.
When looking for a multivitamin, it’s wise to do some research. Know which vitamins you specifically want? Make sure they’re in your multivitamin at the dosage you’re looking for.
And since supplements are not regulated by the FDA, it’s important to trust the brand that you’re choosing as well. Not all multivitamins are created equal which is why a quality brand is important.
Another great option is to take a multivitamin and then supplement with an additional vitamin you might be looking for or a higher dosage.
Looking for a specific multivitamin to take? I personally like the New Chapter brand. Their whole-food fermented women’s multivitamin is made with quality ingredients and fermented for better absorption.
Bonus: Want to make even more of a difference for your health? In addition to eating healthy and taking your vitamins, try these 8 amazing strength moves for women over 50.