When you’re younger, you can get much of the vitamins and nutrients you need for proper body functions from the food you eat. As you age, supplementation becomes more necessary because of a decreased efficiency in absorbing vitamins directly from food.
If you’re over 40, some specific vitamins are an absolute must-have to help slow and prevent severe age-related diseases. Below are the essential vitamins if you’re over 40.
Why You Need It: To prevent age-related diseases like multiple sclerosis, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Foods rich in vitamin D include fish, dairy, cereals, and other fortified foods. The primary source of vitamin D for most people will be through direct sunlight. If you’re in a colder environment, or you’re blocking the rays with sunscreen, supplementation becomes necessary.
Vitamin D deficiencies have been liked to depression, dementia, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Why You Need It: Reduces the risk of many age-related diseases like dementia, depression, and heart disease.
Omega 3 fatty acids play a significant role in maintaining brain and heart health and can slow degeneration of other important body functions as you age. Supplementing with fish oil has also shown to improve memory, abstract thinking, and even weight loss.
Foods are rich in omega 3’s include fish, walnuts, and certain vegetables. If you choose to supplement with fish oil capsules, you’ll want to aim for 500 mg per day and take the pills with food to help with absorption.
Why You Need It: Bone health, muscular and heart function
Calcium is a much-needed vitamin when you’re younger for proper bone development. There is a misconception that calcium will make your bones stronger when you’re older, but it hasn’t been proven to increase bone strength.
The reason you should supplement with calcium is to prevent your bones from weakening, not necessarily to make them stronger. If you aren’t getting enough calcium from food, your body will draw calcium from your bones, and weaken them.
Calcium also plays a role in basic body functions related to your muscles, brain and even your heart.
Why You Need It: Helps with blood and brain function
Foods rich in B12 include meat and animal products like fish, chicken, dairy, and eggs. Typically, most children and young adults will have enough protein in their daily meals to meet the recommended amounts of B12. As you age, your body becomes less efficient at absorbing vitamin B12 from the food you eat, making supplementation more and more necessary as you cross the age of 40.
Most adults will want 2-3 mg of B12 per day. Don’t worry about getting too much B12, or over supplementing, because it’s a water-soluble vitamin and any excess will remove through urination.
Why You Need It: Helps with blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke.
Foods high in potassium include sweet potatoes, beans, lentils and bananas. The recommended daily intake for most adults over the age of 19 is 4.7 mg per day. Unlike vitamin B12 and other water-soluble vitamins, over supplementing with potassium can cause health complications related to your heart and gastrointestinal tract.