Think of vitamins and minerals as an army that can battle age-related illnesses. And the best way to build up this army is by eating a balanced, well-rounded diet, says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. Although it’s always important to eat healthily, it’s particularly important around the age of 40, because that’s when the rules begin to shift, she says.
Your body probably doesn’t work the same way at 40-plus as it did at 20, “she says. Muscle mass is beginning to deteriorate, we are becoming more likely to lose weight, menopause will (or may soon) begin, and the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes is beginning to increase. which means that your battle plan needs to start looking a little different.
One alternative is to get enough of the required vitamins and nutrients that are available by balanced eating and food sources are generally (but not always) a better option than supplements since they are better absorbed, Kirkpatrick says. Here are the main nutrients you need to search for and the best way to get them.
What are the 7 Vitamins & Minerals Required After Age of 40?
Vitamins and minerals are very much necessary for the proper functioning of the body however its requirement and specifications changes with the age. As we age our body is prone to several infections and disorders which need special attention to overcome that. Some of the vitamins and minerals which are essential after the age of 40 includes:
Vitamin B12 should be on your radar until you turn 40 (and certainly after turning 50). It’s important to normal blood and brain function, Kirkpatrick says. And while children and younger adults are likely to get the B12 they need from food such as meat and animal products, including chicken, fish, dairy, and eggs. B12 is more poorly absorbed as the body ages, generally beginning about 50 because that’s when stomach acid levels decrease.
Any time after 40 and before turning 50, it’s a good time to start receiving B12 from a supplement or a multivitamin. Look for 2.4 mg per day (currently prescribed dietary allowance) but there is no need to worry about taking too much, Kirkpatrick adds. Since it’s a water-soluble vitamin, you’re going to pee out what you don’t need.
Vitamin D is a huge thing, Kirkpatrick says, particularly after 40, because it helps protect against age-related changes that start kicking in. Vitamin D deficiencies have been related to diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and breast and colorectal cancer, all of which are more likely to occur the older you become. Plus, D is important to the absorption of calcium in the body.
Dietary sources include fish and fortified dairy products, grains, and cereals, but usually, the D you get from food is not well absorbed. The sun is the best source of vitamins, but not everyone lives close enough to the equator to be exposed to the intense rays that will provide the D you need, Kirkpatrick explains.
It recommends a D3 supplement (D3 is the sort of vitamin D that is like what you can get from the sun). According to existing National Institutes of Health guidelines, you should receive at least 600 IU per day (and 800 IU per day after 50). The tolerable upper limit (i.e. the level that will not cause harm) is as high as 4,000 IU per day.
Calcium is the essential mineral required to maintain healthy bones and teeth. It’s hard to know what to think about calcium: a new analysis of 59 studies designed to assess the role it plays in preventing fractures in men and women over the age of 50 found that increasing calcium intake from food or supplements is likely to substantially reduce the risk of fractures. Other research has linked calcium supplements to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiac death for postmenopausal women.
But even though our bones accumulate much of the calcium they need earlier in life (usually before age 30), the mineral still plays a role in maintaining bone health later in life, according to Kirkpatrick. The mineral is required for other basic functions of the body, such as muscle contraction, nerve and heart function, and other biochemical reactions, and if you don’t get enough calcium from your diet, the body will steal (and weaken) the calcium from your bones.
Magnesium’s main role is to help control blood pressure, which is particularly important for 40-plus women who are already at risk of high blood pressure due to natural aging. Magnesium deficiencies have been related to heart disease, diabetes, and inflammation; Kirkpatrick adds. Besides, it helps the body absorb calcium and plays a role in muscle, nerve, and heart function, as well as in the regulation of blood glucose.
Your doctor can test your magnesium but if you’re eating a safe, balanced diet, you’re likely to get all the magnesium you need (320 mg a day for 40 women and up), Kirkpatrick says. it’s found in dark leafy greens, beans, soy, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Too much magnesium does not necessarily pose a health risk but can induce diarrhea, nausea, and cramping.
Potassium plays a key role in keeping blood pressure under control, no matter the age, Kirkpatrick says. In postmenopausal women, research has related higher intake of potassium from food to lower risk of stroke though “strong” intake was approximately 3.1 g, which is still lower than recommended 4.7 g per day.
Potassium is certainly a mineral that you want to get enough of, but unless your MD prescribes it for another medical problem, Kirkpatrick warns against taking potassium supplements. Too much potassium can affect the gastrointestinal tract and the heart and can cause life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.
Most people can get the potassium they need by eating a diverse, nutritious diet that includes bananas, sweet potatoes, chards, beans, and lentils. You’re very unlikely to get enough potassium in your diet to be unhealthy, Kirkpatrick says. If your doctor prescribes supplements, she can closely track how they affect you, she says.
Technically not a vitamin, omega-3 fatty acids still deserve a spot on this list because of their various health benefits, Kirkpatrick says, and particularly because they help to offset some of the negative changes that come with aging, such as the increased risk of heart disease and cognitive decline. Research has shown that omega-3s help lowers blood pressure and lower LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels, minimize the risk of heart disease.
While you can get omega-3s from foods such as fish, walnuts, linseeds, and leafy vegetables, taking a supplement is a safe way to make sure you get enough, Kirkpatrick says. Either way, target 500 mg if you are well, 800 to 1,000 mg if you have heart disease, and 2,000 to 4,000 mg if you have elevated triglyceride levels. And be sure to ask your doctor for the correct dosage if you are taking anticoagulant medications that could have significant side effects.
Probiotics are not theoretically vitamins or minerals, but they are important for women above 40 years of age, Kirkpatrick says. Evidence indicates that probiotics play a role in keeping the intestine safe and weight low, and also lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, all of which are particularly significant around 40 as muscle mass begins to decline, making it easier to weight and build insulin resistance.
And while you can get probiotics in some dairy and fermented soy products like seitan, food generally does not include as many strains as a supplement and each strain has its advantage, some for weight control, others for diarrhea prevention. And, since probiotics are live and active cultures, you’re not going to be able to get them from foods that are cooked or heated.
Age-related deficiency is very common among men and women however it gets more severe in women than men. During the aging process, our body loses its integrity and inefficient in processing these vitamins and minerals which required special supplements to meet the daily recommended intake and prevent several age-related diseases. “Eat Healthily, Stay Healthy”.