Answer: Americans age 50 and older can benefit from a multivitamin and mineral formula (MVM) that is slightly different than those created for younger folks, and takes into account unique nutrient requirements based on guidelines recently published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The major recommendation differences are for the amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin K, iron and calcium.
There are systemic changes in our body that occur with aging, even if we are in good health. For example, the internal environment of the stomach becomes less acidic, decreasing the efficiency of activities like digestion and nutrient extraction, therefore limiting nutrient availability. Also, production of intrinsic factor, a substance necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12, may decrease. Poor B12 status can lead to deficiency and is associated with early cognitive decline.
Vitamin D is another very important micronutrient that newer evidence is linking to total body health and disease prevention. For most, exposure to sunlight leads to vitamin D production. However, the risks associated with prolonged sun exposure, such as skin cancer, may outweigh this method. Additionally, it appears that vitamin D production declines with age and may simply be genetically poor in some individuals. Recent data is linking poor vitamin D status with increased death rates from ALL causes by as much as 24-40%. Needless to say, it is an important nutrient and one that is receiving a lot of attention.
Vitamin K is involved with calcium regulation, ensuring that calcium stays in bones and out of arteries (a condition called arteriosclerosis), and maintaining good cardiovascular health. If you’re taking blood thinning medications, be sure to discuss vitamin K intake with your physician.
Iron intake is notoriously poor in Americans of all ages, and many older individuals avoid the best food sources in an attempt to limit calories and follow a healthy diet.
Lastly, calcium is important for bone health and together with vitamins D and K, works to maintain bone mass and prevent osteopenia (soft bones) and osteoporosis (brittle bones).
As we age, our body and its functions change at many levels and these changes affect nutrient requirements. There is no magic age when you should start taking a "senior" vitamin, but age 50 is about right for most everybody (and certainly won't hurt anyone).
*If you are very active and have been for some time, then the dotFIT ActiveMV would be the ideal choice, as its nutrient profile better meets the needs of active individuals. This formula would be used until the age of 65, when the dotFIT Over50MV would be introduced.
Click here to see our dotFIT MV recommendations for every member of the family.