The 5 Best Multivitamins for Older Adults

Livestrong.com may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
Multivitamins are a great way for older adults to supplement their nutritional needs.
Image Credit: LightFieldStudios/iStock/GettyImages

Your nutritional needs evolve as you age — your body will require higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals and lower amounts of others. That's why the best multivitamin for older adults looks different than a daily vitamin a younger person might take.

Advertisement

Here's a look at recommended multivitamins for older adults, along with tips about what to look for in the vitamin aisle.

Video of the Day

Video of the Day

Our Picks

  • Best Overall:‌ Equate Complete Multivitamin Adults 50+ ($13.77, Walmart)
  • Best for Men:‌ Nature Made Multi for Him 50+ ($13.59, Amazon)
  • Best for Women:‌ Thorne Women’s Multi 50+ ($48, Walmart)
  • Best for People Going Through Menopause:‌ Nature Made Multi for Her 50+ ($12.89, Amazon)
  • Best Gummy: ‌Kirkland Signature Adult Multivitamin Gummies ($16.99, Costco)

A Note on Language

Here at LIVESTRONG.com, we typically avoid language that implies sex or gender are binary in favor of more inclusive language, but because vitamin manufacturers still largely market their products to women and men, we've used that terminology where it applies here.

How We Chose

The FDA doesn't closely regulate supplements as it does medications, so we spoke with a dietitian and reviewed relevant research to recommend the supplements below. (You can learn more about how we review products here.)

We also looked for products with Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations enforced by the FDA as well as compliance or verification from one of the three main independent quality control groups that test and review supplements:

Warning

Even though dietary supplements are readily available over the counter, they can be harmful when mixed with certain medications, per the FDA.

For instance, taking both warfarin and vitamin E can increase the risk of internal bleeding or stroke, as both act as blood thinners. And, people with kidney disease should speak to their docs before taking a multi because there are special multis developed for them, says certified gerontological specialist Phyllis Famularo, RD, an adjunct assistant professor at Rutgers University.

Always talk to your doctor before adding a new supplement — especially if you're taking medication.

1. Best Overall: Equate Complete Multivitamin Adults 50+

The highly rated Equate Complete Multivitamin Adults 50+ contains more than your daily value of vitamin D, with 1,000 IU, and also provides potassium and calcium, which are important for older adults.

Advertisement

And it's a close match with popular brand-name multis at a lower cost. "While Centrum Silver is a household name, a generic multivitamin will be much less expensive and have almost the same composition," Famularo says.

2. Best for Men: Nature Made Multi for Him 50+

This once-daily multi is a USP-verified pick for older men. It claims to support muscle and bone health, immunity and energy.

Advertisement

Each pill contains more than your recommended daily value (DV) for vitamins C, D and E, as well as B6 and B12. It also contains 12 percent of the DV for calcium.

3. Best for Women: Thorne Women’s Multi 50+

This multi from a reputable brand provides 18 percent of your DV of calcium, which helps to keep bones strong. It's also a good source of magnesium.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Many Americans do not get enough of this mineral. People who are 51 and over should get between 320 and 420 milligrams per day, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). This multi has 180 milligrams (or 43 percent of your DV).

4. Best for People Going Through Menopause: Nature Made Multi for Her 50+

This once-a-day multi is another USP-verified pick. It has 24 percent of your DV of magnesium and 15 percent of your DV of calcium. It has 1,000 IU of vitamin D (more than your recommended daily allowance).

Advertisement

Plus, it does not contain any iron, a mineral that most people get enough of through their diets after menopause, per the ODS.

5. Best Gummy: Kirkland Signature Adult Multivitamin Gummies

If swallowing large pills is a struggle for you, a gummy is a good way to go. But the problem with these chewable supps is it's hard to get them right: Many gummy vitamins' nutritional makeup doesn't match what's on the label.

Advertisement

This tasty pick is USP-verified and contains 100 percent of your DV for vitamin D as well as more than a full DV of vitamins B6 and B12.

Nutrients Older Adults Need in a Multivitamin

Vitamins geared toward older adults typically contain more vitamin D and vitamin B12 and less iron, according to Harvard Health Publishing. They might also contain herbs targeted toward memory and energy.

Advertisement

While the best multivitamin for you depends on your lifestyle and health status, here are some of the vitamins and minerals that are particularly important for older adults.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is, hands down, one of the best vitamins for older adults. That's because, with age, many are unable to absorb it from food, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They can, however, absorb this important vitamin when it's present in fortified foods or supplements.

Advertisement

Aim to get 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily.

Vitamin D

Most of the vitamin D in your body is made when your skin is exposed to the sun, according to a February 2023 article in StatPearls. But with age, your skin's ability to make vitamin D declines, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.

Adults ages 50 to 70 should aim for 600 IU of vitamin D per day. Adults 71 and older should aim for 800 IU daily.

Calcium

Calcium and vitamin D go hand in hand. The two nutrients work together to keep your bones healthy. Some research suggests the combination may reduce the risk of fractures in older adults, according to the NIH, but more research is needed.

The recommended dietary allowance (or RDA) for calcium is 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams per day for adults between 51 and 70 and 1,200 milligrams for adults aged 71 and older, per the NIH.

How to Choose a Multivitamin for Older Adults

The supplement industry isn't very tightly regulated, making it difficult to navigate. It's important to make sure you're getting a high-quality supplement that actually contains the amount of each nutrient as stated on the label.

The American Cancer Society provides some guidelines on how to choose the best multivitamin for older adults and stay safe when taking supplements:

  • Look for reputable brands.‌ Consider the name and reputation of the manufacturer or distributor and do some research on whether or not there have been any claims made against them.
  • Check the label for third-party certifications.‌ Look for supplements that have USP or NSF on the label. This means that the manufacturer of the product followed quality standards set for supplements by these organizations.
  • Follow dosage instructions‌ — either from the label or from your doctor.

Decide Whether You Need Supplements

Most older folks following a regular, healthy diet probably get enough nutrients from their diet, according to Harvard Health Publishing. But there can be exceptions.

If you have an unbalanced diet or don't have a very good appetite, supplements can help bridge the gap between what you're getting from your food and what your body needs to stay healthy. Older adults who have trouble absorbing nutrients may also need the higher doses of vitamins and minerals that you get from supplements.

If you're unsure about what route is best for you, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian — these experts can help guide you and develop a healthy supplement regimen for you if you need one.

Advertisement

Advertisement

references

Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...