As you age your body's nutritional needs change. Your metabolism slows, it&rsquo;s easier to gain weight, and you begin losing bone and muscle. Proper nutrition can help to slow your body's aging process, though it will not halt it. Ensuring your body gets the right vitamins can be helpful, along with eating a healthy diet. Always check with a physician before you start any new supplements.
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All of the B vitamins are important, but folate, niacin and pantothenic acid are especially critical for women age 40 to 50. Take 200 micrograms of folate twice daily, a minimum of 15 milligrams niacin twice daily and 150 micrograms pantothenic acid twice daily. Pantothenic acid helps your body convert food into energy and to make hemoglobin, neurotransmitters, lipids and steroid hormones, according to Harvard Medical School. Niacin also aids your body in converting food into energy, is needed for forming healthy blood cells, and promotes brain, skin and nervous system health. Folic acid may lower levels of homocysteine in your body. This is an amino acid in your blood. Having levels that are too high is related to increased risk for heart disease and stroke, notes the American Heart Association. Folic acid also may reduce your risk for breast and colon cancers if you consume alcohol.
The antioxidant vitamins&mdash;think ACE&mdash;help your body in several ways. Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene along with C and E boost your immune system and combat the free radicals that are released during normal body metabolism along with stress, pollution and smoking. The optimal intake for vitamin A is 4,000 IU. This vitamin helps to minimize age spots and wrinkles, protects against heart disease, and promotes good eyesight along with healthy skin, bones and teeth. Take 75 mg vitamin C daily. This helps your body produce collagen and helps to lower cholesterol. Taking 30 International Units of vitamin E will minimize signs of sun damage, help lower cardiovascular disease risk, and help your body form muscles, tissues and red blood cells. Vitamins C and E can help boost health if you are using hormone supplementation&mdash;especially if you suffer from diabetes, report M. Naziroglu and M. Simsek, authors of a 2009 study published in Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy. Hormone replacement therapy can contribute to onset as well as progression of kidney and thyroid and abnormalities in women who have type 2 diabetes. Taking vitamins C and E may prevent this problem by strengthening your body&rsquo;s antioxidant defense system.
Vitamin D will increase your calcium absorption, leading to strong teeth and bones. Your bone mass peaks between the ages of 25 and 35. At about age 40 you begin to see a bone loss of about 0.3 to 0.5 percent annually. This can accelerate during menopause because your female hormone&mdash;estrogen&mdash;helps you to maintain bone density, and estrogen production slows then stops as you go through menopause. Some women can even lose 20 percent of bone mass during the years immediately following menopause, reports health and fitness expert Denise Austin. Take 500 International Units of vitamin D3 twice a day. Also make sure to take the mineral calcium in three 600 milligrams doses per day. Your body can only absorb 600 mg calcium at a time, so taking one daily dose that's higher is ineffective.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- &ldquo;An Invitation to Health;&rdquo;Dianne Hales; 2006
- &ldquo;Fit and Fabulous over 40;&rdquo; Denise Austin; 2002
- PubMed: &ldquo;Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy;&rdquo; Effects of hormone replacement therapy with vitamin C and E supplementation on plasma thyroid hormone levels in postmenopausal women with Type 2 diabetes; M. Naziroglu and M. Simsek; 2009
- American Heart Association: What Is Homocysteine?
- Harvard Medical School: Listing of Vitamins