By Angela Underwood
Vitamin D, calcium, iron and vitamin B12 are the critical nutrients needed for baby boomers to live a healthier life over the age 55. The AARP Vitamins from A to Z, an informative wellbeing guide for baby boomers, reports “for people over age 50, even the best diet may not provide enough of some important nutrients,” which is why it is essential to assure the proper daily dose of these four.
The vitamin most famous for promoting bone health and preventing osteoporosis also helps in the fight against diabetes and breast cancer. Soaking in vitamin D is the best way to absorb the nutrient. “It is thought that five to 30 minutes of mid-day sun twice a week without sunscreen is enough to get the right amount of vitamin D,” according to U.S. News & Health Report.
If the sun isn’t available, the vitamin can be absorbed in fortified milk and fatty fish or through a doctor-recommended supplement. Adequate amounts of vitamin D have shown to help prevent diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. AARP suggests a 600 IU daily dose for baby boomers ages 51-70 and 800 IU for adults older than 71.
Vitamin D is an essential precursor for calcium because vitamin D is needed to properly absorb calcium, which promotes stronger bones and teeth and prevents blood clotting. When not digested through dairy products and green leafy vegetables, calcium absorption is possible through calcium salts.
It is crucial for baby boomers to maintain the proper amount of calcium in their diet, not only to strengthen their bones but to assure adequate muscle contraction and hormone release. When not appropriately supplemented, the lack of calcium can weaken the bones as it attempts to provide normal cell function in other areas of the body. Calcium supplements come in four forms including carbonate, citrate, gluconate, and lactate.
The daily dose of calcium for men and women over 50 differs. Men up to the age 70 should take 1000 mg and 1200 mg after the age of 71, while the suggested daily dose for women over the age of 51 remains at 1200.
Necessary for healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen and supplements, iron is essential as the body ages, especially for those who are unable to consume enough of it in their diets or because their bodies absorb less. Highly available in meat and eggs, “men and women over 50 generally should not take a multivitamin containing iron unless they have been diagnosed with iron deficiency,” according to the AARP.
Aging takes a toll on the brain, making vitamin B12 an essential nutrient. “If you become deficient, you may experience confusion, agitation or hallucinations,” according to U.S. News & World Report. By supplementing a diet with shellfish, meat and dairy products high in B12, boomers reduce their chance of experiencing neurological disorders.
The recommended daily dose for both men and women is 2.4 mcg.