5 Vitamin Deficiencies to Look Out for as You Age

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5 Vitamin Deficiencies to Look Out for as You Age

When people think about aging, they often focus on the visible things — like wrinkles, sagging skin, or growing waistlines. However, there’s an important area that needs more attention: nutrition.

As people age, their nutritional needs become more of a challenge. Part of this is because you typically need fewer calories when you get older, making it easier to fall short on the nutrients required to maintain a healthy body. At the same time, the body becomes less effective at absorbing certain vitamins and minerals, leading to dietary deficiencies.

Getting the right nutrients is essential at every age, but it can pose serious health issues as you grow older, such as:

  • Anemia
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Decreased bone density (osteoporosis)
  • Reduced strength and mobility
  • Skin issues
  • Visual disturbances
  • Chronic disease, like diabetes

Dr. Adepero Okulaja offers anti-aging services at The Doctor’s House in Edina, Minnesota, including treatments specific to men and women and, importantly, customized vitamin and mineral supplementation so your body has what it needs. 

Here, she shares five vitamin deficiencies to watch for as you age and how to avoid them.

1. B Vitamins

Eight vitamins fall into this category:

  • B1 (thiamine)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin)
  • B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • B6 (pyridoxine)
  • B7 (biotin)
  • B9 (folate or folic acid)
  • B12 (cobalamin)

Each B vitamin helps specific enzymes in your body do their job, like creating red blood cells and maintaining healthy nerve function. While all B vitamins are important, deficiencies with B6, B9, and B12 become increasingly common with age and may result in various disease presentations such as memory loss, balance problems, mental health issues like depression and anxiety amongst other presentations.

2. Vitamin D

You need vitamin D in your body to absorb calcium and maintain bone density, which helps prevent osteoporosis. Studies show that this vitamin may also help reduce your risk of falls and certain chronic diseases, like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Vitamin D deficiency has also been implicated in diseases like depression, seasonal affective disorder, and also plays a role in cancer prevention i.e. colon breast, and prostate cancer.

Unfortunately, many older adults fall short on vitamin D because it gets produced by the body in response to exposure to sunlight. While eating more tuna, salmon, eggs, and foods fortified with vitamin D can help, supplements could provide more consistent health benefits.

3. Magnesium 

Magnesium is the unsung hero of the vitamin world. This essential mineral plays a role in over 300 different physiological processes, from keeping your immune system humming and your heart in tip-top form to making sure your bones stay strong.

However, nearly 70% of Americans under age 71 — and approximately 80% over that age — don’t get enough magnesium. Many foods contain magnesium, including dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and nuts, but the body often loses a lot of the nutrient during digestion. 

On top of that, magnesium absorption also decreases with age, especially if you take certain medications, like diuretics.

4. Potassium

Did you know adults should get 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day? Your cells need this crucial nutrient to function, but it doesn’t stop there. Studies also show that potassium can help:

  • Keep bones strong
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Lessen your risk of kidney stones

Fortunately, it’s easy to get enough potassium in your diet by including fruits and vegetables with each meal. 

5. Calcium

Do you associate calcium with strong bones? While that’s true, it’s an essential nutrient for every cell in your body. 

This mineral is a signaling molecule, meaning your muscles, heart, and nerves can’t function without it. In fact, your body relies on calcium so much that it stores the excess in your bones. And, if you don’t consume enough, your bones release it — which can lead to osteoporosis, or soft, fragile bones.

People often consume less calcium with age. To avoid problems, include plenty of calcium-rich items in your diet like broccoli, kale, low-fat milk or dairy products, or fortified foods like orange juice.

Improving your health with supplements

While too few vitamins can cause issues, too many can also be a problem. Before recommending supplements, Dr. Okulaja performs a comprehensive assessment and runs blood tests to identify what needs improvement.

The Doctor’s House has IV hydration and infusion therapy and its own in-house, locally produced vitamin line designed to improve how you feel, function, and look at every age, and they use all-natural ingredients.

To learn more about healthy aging and vitamin mineral supplementation, contact The Doctor’s House to schedule a consultation with Dr. Okulaja today.