As you age, your nutrient requirements change. Your joints may start showing the symptoms of wear and tear, your hormone levels will be lower than they were in youth and your cardiovascular system may not function as well as it used to. In addition, your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food may decrease. As a result, supplementation may be come necessary. Consult with your doctor before starting a new supplement.
Multivitamin and Multimineral
Everyone is encouraged to take a daily multivitamin and multimineral supplement, but especially those with an unbalanced diet or persons with special requirements such as elderly males. These supplements include all the essential micronutrients, including vitamin B-12 and vitamin D. The former is essential for healthy red blood cells and nerve function, while the latter is needed for healthy bones, teeth and immune system. Formulations specifically for older persons are available.
Omega-3 supplements include fish oil, algae oil and flaxseed oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are very beneficial for the elderly. According to the “Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine,” these essential fats can protect against heart disease, cancer and neurodegenerative conditions. In addition, they have potent anti-inflammatory properties and can provide symptomatic relief from rheumatoid arthritis. This condition and the associated reduced mobility can compromise the older person’s quality of life.
It is relatively common that with age, the prostate starts to enlarge. This condition is referred to as benign prostate hyperplasia and can cause incontinence, painful urination and an increased risk of urinary tract infections. The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse reports that more than half of males aged 60 to 70 suffer from benign prostate hyperplasia. Saw palmetto is an herbal extract that can improve the symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia, reported the Summer 2001 issue of “Reviews in Urology.” It is sold over the counter and is not associated with any side effects, apart from the occasional upset stomach.
Testosterone levels get lower with age. This hormone is responsible for muscle growth and libido. Many natural supplements can help to increase testosterone levels, the most common being ZMA and tribulus. ZMA is a formulation of zinc and magnesium, while tribulus is an extract from the tribulus terrestris plant. However, the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of both supplements is conflicting.
- "Manual of Dietetic Practice, 4th Edition"; T. Briony and J. Bishop; 2007
- “Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine, 5th Edition”; M. Longmore et al.; 2001
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Prostate Enlargement -- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
- “Reviews in Urology”; Saw Palmetto Berry as a Treatment for BPH; E. Fagelman, et al.; Summer 2001