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Vitamins and dietary supplements are a big business, but do we really need them? According to the Journal of Nutrition, Americans spend more than $30 billion dollars every year on pills and powders that promise to improve health and wellness. These supplements claim to support everything from brain health to joint pain, and many seniors turn to them in an effort to encourage healthy aging.
But before you head out to buy the latest pill, do you know if these supplements work as intended? Are they safe for you, and worth the money? In this post, we’ll explore a few of the most common misconceptions about dietary supplements for seniors.
Sometimes it can be tricky to separate fact from fiction when it comes to adding vitamins and minerals to your diet. Here’s what the research tells us.
Dietary supplements are not intended to treat any health issues. Supplements are not considered medications or miracle cures, and you should consult with your doctor if you have a chronic condition like heart disease or diabetes before taking any supplements. Some can interact with prescribed medications, leading to side effects or worsening symptoms. Unlike medicines, supplements can’t claim to prevent, cure or treat a disease.
Seniors shouldn’t rely on supplement tablets alone for optimal health. You still need a well-balanced, healthy diet to absorb the vitamins and minerals from foods that your body needs to function. The goal of taking additional vitamins and minerals is to help us fill in nutritional gaps when it’s hard to find them in food. For example, the best source of vitamin D is sunlight – which can be a challenge during the winter months. When you rely on supplements too much, you run the risk of overdosing, which can be harmful to your health. This leads us to Myth #3:
Taking too many vitamins and minerals can be hurtful. For example, too much vitamin C and zinc could cause nausea; too much vitamin A can increase your risk of osteoporosis; and too much selenium can lead to hair loss and fatigue. When you have an excess of nutrients in your body, they can build up and lead to vitamin toxicity. If you’re already eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and fortified foods, you may not need vitamins or individual supplements at all.
Before beginning to supplement your diet, it’s suggested to discuss your options with your doctors. Any supplements you take should be recommended specifically for you after a review of your bloodwork and a conversation with your doctor. It’s important to discuss everything in advance, so you can find a supplement regimen that works for you.
At Peabody Retirement Community, you’ll find nutritious, delicious meals served each day in our restaurant-style dining venues. Our skilled and trained in-house chefs prepare residents’ meals using the finest ingredients and seasonal menu items for your optimal health and nutritional needs.
We look forward to helping you reach your wellness goals here at North Manchester’s vibrant senior living community. For more information, contact us today at (260) 982-8616 and schedule a tour of our Billie Jane Strauss Wellness Center, which features personal training programs, fitness classes, aqua therapy and the latest cutting-edge equipment for rehab and wellness in a 7,000 square-foot complex. Our senior living options offer the warmth and vitality that inspire the ageless spirit and make residents feel right at home.