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How Do I Choose the Best Senior Multivitamin?

Seniors should find multivitamins that specifically address their dietary needs and lifestyle.
Vitamin and mineral deficiences may cause fatigue in seniors.
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  • Written By: K. Testa
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2014
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A senior multivitamin is generally formulated to meet the dietary needs of adults aged 50 or older. Choosing the best product is usually a matter of assessing your lifestyle and your nutritional requirements. You should also consider any medical conditions or prescription drugs that could have adverse interactions with a multivitamin. Another question you might have is which form of multivitamin to buy. Most of them are available as pills, liquids, or powders. Consulting a physician could also help you decide on the right senior multivitamin.

Complete multivitamins typically contain the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of certain vitamins and minerals. Elderly nutritional needs usually differ from those of younger adults. Older men and women can normally choose the same types of multivitamin, because both genders tend to have the same basic dietary needs. Senior multivitamins do not usually contain extra iron, for example, especially since older women who have gone through menopause do not have the same requirements for iron as pre-menopausal women.

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Often, seniors also have a decreased caloric intake because many tend to become less physically active as they age. A senior multivitamin could help make up for a shortage of certain nutrients that is caused simply by eating less. Some physical signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies can include fatigue, hair loss, and skin problems. A lack of calcium or vitamin D is usually the most common type of deficiency. Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones and preventing osteoporosis, and vitamin D might help prevent falls.

While exact formulas may vary, a senior multivitamin also usually contains B vitamins. Many health experts claim that these can aid with conditions such as memory loss, though this has not been definitively proven. Some controversy also exists over whether some added antioxidants, such as lycopene and lutein, which might help protect human tissue, have a measurable effect on senior health.

Before choosing a senior multivitamin, you should also investigate any potential interactions between the product and any prescription medications you take. An additional concern among health professionals is that some drugs can affect appetite, indirectly leading to malnutrition. In this case, a multivitamin or other supplement might be crucial to ensuring that your dietary requirements are met. A senior multivitamin generally comes in various forms, so consulting your physician with specific concerns will typically help you select the right one for your unique needs.

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