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    50+: Live Better, Longer

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    Vitamin Essentials as We Age

    Why Vitamins are Important continued...

    Older adults have different needs when it comes to vitamins and minerals. Getting the right amount of calcium, for example, can help stave off osteoporosis in women. Vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium, also helps prevent bone loss and fractures in older adults.

    It’s sometimes hard to figure out exactly what you need. But again, if you have a balanced diet, you’re probably doing OK. If you’re still concerned, Robin Foroutan, a nutritionist from New York, suggests you ask your doctor for blood tests that can tell you if you’re falling short.

    If you are, supplements might help.

    Before you head to the store, though, it’s important to know the term “supplements” includes not only vitamins and minerals, but also herbs and other botanicals, amino acids, enzymes and other things. Some are so-called specialty products like probiotics or fish oils.

    Before you take anything, talk with your doctor. Also make sure to read labels.

    Here are some popular vitamins and a mineral that older adults need. You can find them in your diet or on the supplement aisle:

    Calcium: “There really should be no reason that people should be calcium deficient,” says Angel Planells, a dietitian from Seattle. Known for its role in strengthening bones, calcium is found in dairy products like milk and yogurt. Women, especially those at risk of osteoporosis, may consider calcium supplements.

    Vitamin D: This nutrient, produced by the body from sunshine, helps you absorb calcium and phosphorus, so it’s critical in maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Older adults are less efficient at producing it. Supplements can help lower your risk of bone loss and fractures.

    Vitamin B12: This is important for keeping blood cells and nerve cells healthy. Aging affects how well you absorb B12 from foods, so if you’re over 50, it’s probably best to get your B12 from supplements and B12-fortified foods like cereals, meat, fish, and pork.

    Folate: It helps prevent anemia. Spinach, beans, peas, oranges, fortified cereals, and enriched breads can contain it.

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