Dietary supplements for older people
As we get older, both our nutritional needs and our lifestyle change, which also affects what we should feed ourselves every day. In this article, we have put together some common problems that can occur in upper-middle age, and tips on supplements you can choose for this purpose.
- Memory and concentration
- Joints and bones
- Eyes and eyesight
- Older men and women
It is important to stay active throughout life.
Memory and concentration
With increasing age, it is common for our cognitive ability to change and our memory to deteriorate. Short-term memory in particular gets worse as we get older. By providing the brain with the right nutrition, we can provide the brain with better conditions to cope with aging.
Coenzyme Q10 is a well-known, vitamin-like substance that is abundant in all of the important organs, especially the brain and heart. Q10 has an antioxidant effect and helps counteract cell breakdown. Natural production of Q10 takes place in the body, but this production decreases sharply with age, starting from when we’re in our 30s. Low levels of Q10 can cause low energy, tiredness and difficulty concentrating.
Lecithin is another well-known substance found in supplements that are marketed for memory and concentration. Lecithin is a phospholipid (fat), found in all cell membranes and in vital organs such as the brain. Lecithin in supplements is mainly extracted from sunflower or soy.
Joints and bones
Stiff joints and fragile bones are common among older people. A fragile bone structure means that the skeleton becomes increasingly weak, which in the long run can lead to injuries such as bone fractures. It is important to stay active throughout life, as exercise and activity strain the skeleton and reduce the risk of a weak bone structure. Proper nutrition is also important, for which calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K are three important components.
Calcium is a mineral that helps build up bones and teeth. Calcium is found in abundance in dairy products and dark green leafy vegetables. However, it is also important to get a sufficient amount of vitamin D, as this helps with the storage of calcium. Vitamin D also contributes to a normal immune system, and a higher intake of vitamin D is recommended for people over 75 years, as with age the skin no longer has the same ability to form vitamin D from the sun.
Vitamin K contributes to bone mineralization. In addition, it is important for normal blood coagulation. A combination of vitamin D and vitamin K is the very best way to ensure the intake of both of these vitamins.
Stiff joints can occur for various reasons, and certain nutrients are of particular interest for joint mobility. MSM is a natural sulfur found in the body's bones and connective tissue. MSM can also be combined with hyaluronic acid and glucosamine.
Collagen is another well-known substance that has become particularly popular as a dietary supplement in recent times. Collagen is a protein that occurs naturally in all of the body's connective tissue, including joints and cartilage, where it is responsible for maintaining structure. As collagen is also found in skin and hair, it is also commonly found in supplements for skin, hair and nails.
Rosehips are rich in vitamin C which contributes to collagen formation, and also contain galactolipids that have been studied for their effect on joint mobility. Rosehip powder and rosehip extract are common, including as a dietary supplement for racehorses whose joints are subjected to lots of wear.
Eyes and eyesight
Impaired vision affects almost everyone with increasing age, often beginning as early as middle age. You've probably heard that eating carrots is good for your eyesight, and the reason for this is their vitamin A content. Vitamin A is best known as the vitamin for eyes, as it contributes to normal vision and mucous membranes, including night vision.
Blueberries are also talked about due to their nourishing content for the eyes, and this is due to the rich amount of antioxidants found in blueberries. Antioxidants counteract the aging of cells, and lutein and anthocyanins in blueberries also help with the normal functioning of the retina.
Older men and women
Many of the issues women and men experience are the same, but there are some factors that differ. Women experience a reduced production of the hormone estrogen after menopause, which causes many changes and discomfort in the body. Taking isoflavones may be helpful for some of those struggling with menopause. Isoflavones act as phytoestrogens and are extracted from soy, among other things.
Dry mucous membranes are another common problem that can affect both men and women. Omega-7 is a fatty acid that helps counteract dry mucous membranes. Omega-7 is an unusual fatty acid found in sea buckthorn, among other things.
With age, men may experience prostate problems and an impaired bladder function. You may find that you need to get up many times a night to go to the toilet, which in turn disrupts your sleep. There are supplements and herbal remedies for these issues, which usually contain extracts from pumpkin or garden angelica.