Vitamins & Minerals for Healthy Aging
Vitamin D is the main nutrient found animal foods and fortified foods that promotes calcium absorption to help maintain strong bones. Our muscles need vitamin D to move, nerves need it to carry messages from the brain, and the immune system needs vitamin D. It’s safe to say this nutrient has a lot of jobs.
People over the age of 50 have an increased risk for vitamin D deficiency and the risk continues to increase as people age. As we age, our bodies don’t make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight as efficiently and our kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form.iv Because of this, it’s important to ensure you’re getting the recommended amount of daily vitamin D for your age range.
If you are 51 to 70 years old, the recommended daily intake is 15 mcg (600 IU) for both males and females. If you are over age 70, the need increases to 20 mcg (800 IU) per day.v
Food sources for vitamin D includevi:
- Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel
- Beef liver, cheese and egg yolks provide small amounts
- Mushrooms provide some vitamin D
- Most of the U.S. milk supply is fortified with 400 IU of vitamin D per quart, as are plant-based alternatives like soy milk, almond milk and oat milk
- Vitamin D can be found in some breakfast cereals and some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine and soy beverages. Check the labels of products to find out whether they’re fortified with Vitamin D
Magnesium is another mineral that is plentiful in the body and helps to keep us healthy. From helping to regulate muscle and nerve function to making protein, bone and DNA, magnesium plays an important role in our health.xii
Men older than 70 are more likely to have lower intakes of magnesium. In general, people with higher intakes of magnesium tend to have higher bone mineral density, which is important for supporting healthy bones during the aging process.xiii
The recommended daily amounts of magnesium depend on gender and age. Women age 51 and over need 320 mg each day. Men need 420 mg per day.xiv
Good food sources of magnesiumxv:
- Legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains and green leafy vegetables, like spinach
- Fortified breakfast cereals and other fortified foods
- Milk, yogurt and some other milk products
Aging is an inevitable part of life and it’s important to maintain your health through every step. Whether you consume these vitamins and minerals for longevity through food or supplements, they each play an important role in your body. For more great health tips like this, be sure to visit the Learn With Centrum.
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i. Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer/.
iv. Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/.
v. Vitamins and Minerals. National Institutes on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/vitamins-and-minerals/.
vi. Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/.
vii. Calcium Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/.
ix. Supplements to Take in Your 50s, 60s and 70s. AARP Health: Drugs & Supplements. https://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-2015/must-have-supplements.html/.
x. Vitamins and Minerals. National Institutes on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/vitamins-and-minerals/.
xi. Calcium Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/.
xii. Magnesium Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/.
xiv. Vitamins and Minerals. National Institutes on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/vitamins-and-minerals/.
xv. Magnesium Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/.