According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are a number of steps to take to stay healthy and prevent common health conditions as you reach 50 and beyond. Getting regular physical activity and quitting smoking are key, but another important step is making sure you're getting the appropriate nutrients.
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Best Vitamins for Men Over 50
Jeffrey Landsman, MD, a family and geriatric medicine specialist with Mercy Personal Physicians in Lutherville, Maryland, says that men over age 50 risk deficiencies in certain specific nutrients.
"Vitamin D is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies that I see in most of my patients, and vitamin B12 deficiency can be common as well," Dr. Landsman says. "Vitamin D is helpful for keeping our bones strong. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia (low blood count), fatigue and memory issues."
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, for men age 50 and beyond, calcium is another critical nutrient to preserve bone health as you age. Getting more potassium is also important for keeping blood pressure at a healthy level. High blood pressure can become an increased risk in men as the years pass.
Magnesium is another important mineral for men over 50. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, it's involved with body processes such as muscle and nerve function, blood sugar control and regulating blood pressure.
How Much Do You Need?
When it comes to the specific amounts of each of these essential nutrients needed at age 50 and beyond, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) recommends the following:
- Vitamin D: 15 micrograms or 600 international units (IUs) a day for men ages 51-70 and 20 micrograms or 800 IUs a day for men over 70. Limits matter: Don't take more than 100 micrograms or 4,000 IUs a day.
- Vitamin B12: 2.4 micrograms each day.
- Calcium: 1,000 milligrams a day for men ages 51-70 and 1,200 milligrams a day for men over 70. Don't consume more than 2,000 milligrams a day — keep track of your intake if you eat a lot of calcium-rich foods.
- Potassium: 3,400 milligrams a day.
- Magnesium: 420 milligrams a day.
Diet or Supplement?
There are a number of different ways to make sure you're getting enough of these five essential vitamins and minerals later in life. Whenever possible, however, Dr. Landsman recommends relying on a healthy, balanced diet to provide the majority of your nutritional needs. "Ideally, I recommend patients get most of their vitamins through their diet by eating a large variety of colorful fruits and vegetables," Dr. Landsman says.
When it comes to what other foods to focus on, the NIA recommends the following:
These foods can help you meet your vitamin D needs:
- Fortified dairy products.
- Fatty fish.
- Fortified cereals.
For a good daily dose of vitamin B12, NIA says your best bets are:
- Fortified cereals.
You'll get calcium from:
- Dark leafy green vegetables.
- Dairy products.
Potassium is in a variety of foods, including:
Magnesium is found primarily in:
- Whole grains.
- Leafy green vegetables.
Though diet is Dr. Landsman's primary recommendation for getting your daily doses of vitamins and minerals, he acknowledges that some people may fall short of hitting their daily goals with food alone. "We know that it's not always the case, so I often recommend taking a daily multivitamin," Dr. Landsman says.
People who follow a strict meat-free diet may be candidates for a B12 supplement in particular, Dr. Landsman notes. "Vitamin B12 deficiency can be especially common in someone who is eating a mostly vegetarian or vegan diet," he says. "Patients should consider asking their doctor to check their vitamin B12 level. If low, this can usually be treated with an oral vitamin B12 supplement."
Read more: 5 Top Vitamin Brands You Can Trust
- Cleveland Clinic: “Men’s Health: Lifestyle Tips for Men Over Age 50”
- Jeffrey Landsman, MD, family and geriatric medicine specialist, Mercy Personal Physicians, Lutherville, Maryland
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Nutrition for Older Men”
- Office of Dietary Supplements: “Magnesium”
- National Institute on Aging: “Vitamins and Minerals for Older Adults”