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I see lots of vitamin supplements for the "golden years". Are they necessary?

Answer by:
Louise Chang, MD

Internist, WebMD Medical Expert
Medical Editor, WebMD

Our nutritional needs change as we age. 

Many of us don't eat as well, plus certain vitamins and nutrients can be more easily depleted from our bodies as we age. These include vitamin B12 (our ability to absorb it from foods can be reduced with aging); calcium (our needs go up as we get older); vitamin D (our skin doesn't absorb it as well when we are older); and vitamin B6 (which may be needed to keep red blood cells healthy and strong). 

According to the experts at the National Institutes of Aging, any multivitamin that offers the minimum daily requirement will do the trick. 

You also don't need megadoses. In fact, when taken in very large doses some supplements can harm you. Moreover, if you are taking any prescription medications, check your supplement choice with your doctor. Some nutrients may interfere with certain medications.

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