You should think of vitamins and nutrients as an army which will fight off age – related ailments.
Kristin Kirkpatrick, who is MS, RD, manager of wellness nutrition programs at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute he says that the best way of building this army is by eating a healthy well-rounded diet.
While it is important to eat well always, it becomes especially essential around the age of 40, as that’s when the rules start changing, she says (The Power Nutrient Solution is the first-ever plan that tackles the root cause of virtually every major ailment and health condition today; get your copy now!).
Kristin also says: “Your body probably isn’t working the same way at 40-plus as it was at 20.”
The muscle mass starts deteriorating and we are much more likely to put on weight, menopause may also start, and risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes begins to increase—which means your battle plan needs to start looking a little different.
One solution is getting enough of all the right vitamins and nutrients, which will be possible through healthy eating – and food sources, are typically a better bet than supplements because they are probably better absorbed,
Kirkpatrick said. Here, we are going to present you the key nutrients to look for and the best way to get them.
Here they are:
Once a person turns 40 (and definitely after turning 50), vitamin B12 should be on his/her radar. Kirkpatrick says that this vitamin is essential for normal blood and brain function.
And while children and young adults are likely to get the vitamin they need from food, such as from meat and animal products, including chicken, fish, dairy, and eggs, B12 is more poorly absorbed as the body ages, typically starting around 50, as that is when the stomach acid levels deplete.
Any time after 40 and before turning 50 is the perfect time to start getting this vitamin from a supplement or multivitamin. Kirkpatrick adds that you should aim for 2.4 mg per day (the current recommended dietary allowance), though there’s no need to worry about taking too much.
As it is water – soluble vitamin, you pee out what you don’t need.
It is hard to know what to think about calcium: some recent analysis of 59 studies designed to measure the role it plays in preventing fractures for men and women older than 50 found that increasing calcium intake—either from foods or supplements—was not likely to significantly reduce fracture risk.
Some other research has linked calcium supplements to increased risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiac death for postmenopausal women.
According to Kirkpatrick, even though our bones absorb most of the calcium they need earlier in life the nutrient does play some role in maintaining bone health later in life too.
The nutrient is actually needed for other basic body functions such as muscle contraction, nerve and heart functioning, as well as some other biochemical reactions – and if you are getting enough calcium for your diet, the body will steal calcium from your bones and that will weaken them.
The bottom line is that you actually need calcium at 40 and beyond, but these latest findings tell us that you do not need to go overboard, as more calcium does not necessarily mean more benefit and may even be harmful for your heart health, Kirkpatrick says. Most of the women can get the amount of calcium they need – 1,000 mg a day for women 40 to 50, and 1,200 mg for women older than 50—if they eat a well-rounded diet with calcium-rich foods like dairy, tofu, sardines, broccoli, almonds, and spinach.
Kirkpatrick says that vitamin D is a biggie, especially after 40, as it helps protect against the changes related to age which start kicking in. The deficiency of this vitamin has been linked lo diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and breast and correctional cancers, all of which are more likely to crop up the older the person gets.
Plus, vitamin D is also essential for the absorption of calcium in the body, says Kirkpatrick.
Some of the dietary sources include fish and fortified dairy, grains, and cereals, but generally the D you get from food is poorly absorbed.
The best source of this vitamin is the sun, but not everyone lives close enough to the equator so to be exposed to the strong rays that will deliver the D vitamin that you need, explains Kirkpatrick.
She says: If you’re living anywhere above Georgia, you’re probably not getting enough vitamin D from the sun .Plus, you don’t absorb it with sunscreen on—and you definitely don’t want to be hanging out in the sun without sunscreen (despite any vitamin D benefits)”
Kirkpatrick also recommends a D3 supplement (D3 being the type of vitamin D closest to what you would get from the sun).
One person should be getting at least 600 IU per day (and 800 IU per day after 50), according to current National
Institutes of Health recommendations. The tolerable upper limit (i.e., the amount that will not cause harm) is as much as 4,000 IU per day.
The main function of the magnesium is to help regulate the blood pressure, which is especially important for women who are 40 plus, and are already at risk of high blood pressure, because of aging.
Kirkpatrick adds that the deficiency of magnesium has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and inflammation. Plus it also helps our body to absorb calcium and plays a great role in muscle, nerve and heart function, as well as in the control of blood glucose.
If you think that you might be deficient in magnesium, your doctor can test it. But, you will be likely to get all the magnesium that you will need if you eat a healthy, balanced diet(320 mg a day for women 40 and up) from food, Kirkpatrick says. Magnesium can be found in dark leafy greens, beans, soy, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Too much magnesium in the body does not pose any healthy risk, but it may cause diarrhea, nausea or cramping as well.
Potassium also plays a great role in keeping the blood pressure in check, no matter how old are you, says Kirkpatrick. In postmenopausal women, research has linked higher intake of potassium from food to decreased risk of stroke—though “high” intake was considered approximately 3.1 g, which is still lower than the recommended 4.7 g per day.
The benefits have been seen in those getting as little as 2 g per day, says study author Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, PhD, a professor in the department of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Potassium is definitely a nutrient which you will want to be getting enough of, but unless your doctor prescribes it for some other medical condition, Kirkpatrick cautions against taking potassium supplements.
If there is too much potassium in your body, it may damage the gastrointestinal tract and the heart as well, and can also cause potentially life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.
You can get the potassium by eating a varied, healthy diet which includes bananas, sweet potatoes, chard, beans, and lentils. Kirkpatrick says that you are highly unlikely to get enough potassium in your diet to be dangerous. If your doctor prescribes you some supplements, he/she should carefully monitor how they will affect you.
6.Omega – 3s
Technically not a vitamin, omega 3 fatty acids still deserve the place on this list, because of their myriad health benefits, Kirkpatrick says, and especially because they help counteract some of the negative changes which come with getting older, such as increased heart disease risk and cognitive decline.
Some research has shown that omega – 3 fatty acids help in lowering the blood pressure and LDL ”bad” cholesterol levels, also reduce the risk of heart disease and play a role in keeping memory and thinking sharp as well.
In fact, one recent study has found that people with higher levels of omega – 3 fatty acids in the blood had larger brains and performed better on some memory tests, planning activities and abstract thinking, compared with people who had lower levels – which suggests that omega – 3 fatty acids play a huge role in maintaining brain health in addition to the other known benefits, says the study’s lead author, Zaldy S. Tan, MD, MPH, medical director of the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program at UCLA.
Even though you can get omega – 3 fatty acids from foods such as fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, and leafy vegetables, taking a supplement is also a good way to make sure that you are getting enough. Either way, you should aim for 500 mg if you’re healthy, 800 to 1,000 mg if you have heart disease and 2,000 to 4,000 mg if you have high triglyceride levels. Also remember to ask your doctor about the right dose if you are taking anticoagulant drugs, which can have serious side effects.
Probiotics are actually not technically vitamins or minerals either, but they are in fact important essentials for women of 40 and up, Kirkpatrick says.
Mounting evidence suggests probiotics play a role in keeping the gut healthy and weight down, and even in lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke—all of which is especially important around 40 when muscle mass starts to decrease, making it easier to put on weight and develop insulin resistance.
Even though you can get probiotics in some dairy and fermented soy products like seitan, foods typically will not contain as many strains as a supplement and each of the stain comes with its own benefits, some of them for helping to control weight, others for helping prevent diarrhea.
Plus, as probiotics are actually live and active cultures, you won’t have the ability to get them from foods which are cooked or heated.