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April 27, 2012

The ABCs of Vitamins for Adults 62-plus

With so many kinds of vitamins and multiple ways to get them, it can be confusing as to what mature adults really need. A multivitamin may be a convenient way to make sure you are getting all your nutrients. But if you choose to add one to your diet, select one that provides no more than 100 percent of the Daily Values for at least most of the nutrients listed. Also, if you have recently been ill, had surgery or suffer from other health conditions, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about taking vitamin or mineral supplements. 

However, it can be easy to add the necessary vitamins and minerals to your diet! Read on for a breakdown of six important nutrients and how to work them into your daily routine.  


Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals in the body that may have damaging effects on your cells and tissues. By eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you can absorb all the antioxidants your body needs to fight free radicals. Plus, many foods are already fortified with antioxidant vitamins such as Vitamins C, E and beta-carotene.

Vitamin B

The B vitamins are important for cell metabolism, reducing stress and improving mood. Make sure you are getting all the B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (folic acid) and B12. If you are over the age of 65, you may need a B12 supplement, as it becomes harder to absorb from food as you age. Also, if you are a vegan, you may need a B12 supplement since the vitamin is found in meat, chicken, fish, dairy and eggs. Talk to your doctor or registered dietitian before starting any supplements.

Vitamin C

Much of the Vitamin C you need can be found in fruits and vegetables. Think outside of the (juice) box, though, since orange juice contains many sugars and carbs. Instead try citrus fruits, berries, melon, red and green peppers, dark leafy green vegetables, potatoes, and tomatoes. Remember to speak with your doctor if you are on cholesterol medication or often take aspirin.


Calcium supports bone health and can be found in milk, cheese and yogurt. You can also find it in spinach, collard greens and, surprisingly, sardines. It is healthy to eat the whole fish, as the bones are where the calcium is. It is important to talk to your doctor before starting to take a calcium supplement: Calcium citrate can be taken at any time. Calcium carbonate must be taken with food.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is imperative for healthy bones and muscles. It may be difficult to get the recommended amount of Vitamin D since it is not found in many natural foods, and sunlight (the main source of Vitamin D) can be scarce in Northeast Ohio. Vitamin D, which works with calcium, is important for women as they age to prevent bones from becoming fragile. The Cleveland Clinic recommends taking a Vitamin D supplement at dinnertime.


If you suffer from muscle cramps, migraines or sleep problems, magnesium may help. Halibut, almonds, soy products and pumpkin seeds are good dietary sources of magnesium. Magnesium is typically found in calcium supplements to enhance absorption.

Photo: doublebug 


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