Are Supplements Healthy for Older Adults?

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As an older adult, you often wonder if there is anything you can do to improve the quality of your life. You know that you will have to make significant changes in your lifestyle because there are simply things you cannot or should not do any longer. However, there are other things you may want to consider adding to your daily routine in order to optimize your health.

Perhaps you have heard that seniors should consider taking vitamins and other herbal supplements designed specifically with aging adults in mind. In reality, there are some times when those supplements may not be as healthy for you as they once were, but other times you need those supplements that were formulated for seniors.

It is quite complicated to navigate the highly complex nature of supplementation. This is especially true when growing older because the body needs different things. As a result, you might end up thinking supplements are not healthy when this is definitely false.

Let’s look at whether or not supplements are really healthy for older adults. And let’s discuss the most important things you need to remember about the subject.

The Dangers of Taking the Wrong Supplements

One of the dangers inherent in taking the wrong supplements if you are a senior is that they may actually cause more harm than good. For example, many supplements are filtered through the kidneys and as we age, kidney function may suffer due to the fact that we are aging.

According to the National Council on Aging, it is always advisable to speak with your doctor prior to taking any new supplement or OTC pharmaceutical. With that being said, there are vitamins and minerals classified as antioxidants that can help to reduce inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. Some are formulated to help you maintain stronger bones as you age.

Knowing which are safe and which can be hazardous to your health can only be ascertained by your primary provider. Basically, you need to talk to someone that fully understands how your body changes as you grow older. The doctor can give you the data you need and can even help you to make the best possible choices.

Recommendations given by a doctor can be trusted. You can also trust the recommendations given by a qualified nutritionist. This is especially the case when the nutritionist is trained and experienced in dealing with the elderly.

A Word on Kidney Function

Stepping back for just a moment, it might be beneficial to look at how common reduced kidney function is in the seniors. Not only can aging kidneys cease functioning as well as they had when you were younger, but aging adults often notice periods of incontinence because of poor bladder control. Whether you take supplements that will endanger your kidneys or not, being prepared with incontinence pads for your bed might be something you should look into.

Sometimes seniors are prescribed what we refer to as water pills because there is noticeable edema in the lower extremities. If you are taking Lasix, for example, you may notice periods of incontinence which would necessitate using pads on beds and perhaps on upholstered chairs. It is always best to be well prepared for the unexpected. And you should never be ashamed for what the pills do to your body. It is completely normal to have some problems as time passes.

How To Choose The Best Supplements For Older Adults

Supplements can definitely be healthy for the older adult but only if you actually know what you are taking and the effects on your body. Remember that your diet is definitely the most important part of everything since you have to get as many nutrients as possible from what you eat. Besides that, when you want to use dietary supplements, remember this:

  • Be Informed – Learn all you can about the supplement before you take it. You need to talk to a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or doctor for such information since the best supplement for someone else is not necessarily the best one for you.
  • Consider Side Effects – Simply because the label says the supplement is natural does not mean that it will be good for you. Always consider side effects and the interaction a supplement might have with prescribed medication.
  • Discuss Supplementation With Your Doctor – Never take supplements to try to diagnose something and treat any health condition if you did not double check if this will work with the doctor.
  • Be Wise When You Buy – Always choose the brands that the dietitian, pharmacist, or doctor recommended. Avoid those that have supplements that are not needed. And make sure to never assume more is better. You can easily be harmed when you consume too much.
  • Check The Science – There are countless articles making incredible claims about so many dietary supplements. Generally speaking, the more outrageous the claim, the higher the possibility it is fake. You need to be sure that the science behind a specific supplement is actually legit.
  • Stay Savvy – Dietary supplements advertised online, on TV, and in magazines often make promises that you will not get sick, you will live for a longer time, and you will feel better. In most cases, not much science exists to support such claims.

A Gentle Reminder

Very few people like to face the reality that they are getting older and cannot do the things they once did comfortably. As a result, we are likely to take supplements and over-the-counter medications that are no longer good for us. Some things we have always done will cause more harm than good. As a gentle reminder, it is always best to talk to your own doctor before making any radical changes in your lifestyle or, in this case, to continue doing things which may not be as safe and effective for you as they once were. As the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Being older does not mean you cannot enjoy life anymore. You just need to be smarter and informed to choose the best possible dietary supplements for you.




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