The Importance of Senior Vitamins and Minerals - Assisting Hands - In Home Care Healthcare, Elder Care, and Senior Caregivers

The Importance of Senior Vitamins and Minerals

Changing Your Diet May Help

There is a lot to consider before adding vitamin and mineral supplements to your diet.

Like most adults, you are probably bombarded with information about these types of supplements. So, do vitamins have health benefits? That is a question that is best discussed with your health care provider to determine what would be recommend for you according to any health issues you may have or medications you may be taking. Since each person has different needs, so are their vitamin and mineral requirements.  Here are a few factors to consider.

 Consider Your Nutritional Status

If you are eating a healthy diet, then chances are you are getting all the nutrients you need. According to AARP, multivitamins and supplements are a small bit of extra insurance meant to fill in the gaps in a generally healthy diet. They do not take the place of real food. Of course, there are some exceptions such as poor absorption problems, or poor appetite, or bad diet. For more information visit, AARP.

Seek Your Doctor’s Advice

Before adding supplements to your diet, it is probably a good idea to talk to your doctor first. Although multivitamin and mineral supplements may seem harmless, sometimes they may cause more harm than good. Some vitamin supplements may cause an adverse reaction by increasing side effects or altering the effectiveness of certain prescriptions drugs. In some people, vitamins can exacerbate some undiagnosed illnesses.

Be Aware of Surgery Concerns

Again, let a doctor tell you when to avoid a supplement or vitamin or change your diet. May people are not aware that some vitamin supplements can cause problems after surgery. Vitamin supplements such as Vitamin E should be avoided before surgery because it impedes blood clotting. Herbal supplements such as ephedra, garlic, ginseng, and others should not be taken two weeks before surgery. There is a list of supplements to avoid so be sure to consult with a doctor prior to surgery and provide the list of vitamin and mineral supplements that you are taking.

Consider Your Prescriptions

Long term use of some prescriptions may deplete vitamins and minerals from your body. Make sure to keep up with your routine blood work and consult your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns.

Here are some examples of prescriptions and what vitamins and minerals they may deplete. This is not an exhaustive list, so make sure you ask your primary doctor about your prescriptions and how they may be affecting you.

  • Lasix can rob the body of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Eating foods that are rich in these minerals may be all that is needed. However, based upon your blood work results, your health care provider may feel that a supplement is necessary. Here is a link that will provide a list of mineral rich foods for you to consider. 
  • Statins are used for many people to lower their cholesterol but unfortunately these drugs can also inhibit the production of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) which is a particularly important vitamin. Mild to severe leg cramping can occur when this vitamin is diminished by the statin drug which may be relieved when a supplement of CoQ10 is taken. Learn more information from the Mayo Clinic on this important, antioxidant producing vitamin.
  • Diabetic medications such as metformin can reduce levels of folic acid and vitamin
  • Parkinson’s drugs levodopa and carbidopa (Sinemet) may reduce levels of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid which are also important to your system. If you do not eat meat or dairy products, you may be deficient in B12 due to a vegan diet which is then exacerbated if taking Sinemet. Your doctor can check this with a simple blood test.
  • Anticonvulsants and corticosteroids reduce levels of calcium and vitamin D. According to the Cleveland Clinic, vitamin D is one of many vitamins needed to stay healthy. Read more on the importance of vitamin from the Cleveland Clinic.

Consider Age

As we age our bodies use vitamins and minerals differently. Search the vitamin aisle and you will probably find a plethora of options for seniors.

Of all the research available to find through an internet search, there seems to be just a handful of vitamins and minerals that healthy seniors need. Here is a recommended list of vitamins for people 60+.

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin B6
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR)

For more information on the importance of these vitamins, visit

Consider Assisting Hands® Home Care if you or a loved one needs assistance in the home. Assisting Hands has professional and compassionate caregivers who can help with meal preparation, groceries, shopping, and other services. Find our list of locations by visiting


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