Vitamins you need to stay healthy

Many chronic diseases are related to poor quality eating patterns so, in many cases, vitamin supplements are necessary.

Many seasoned adults are deficient in some areas nutritionally and here is where vitamins can be introduced to help a body function the way it should. Each vitamin performs a different job and what they do can run-the-gamut from boosting a body’s immunity to providing energy, to helping the blood clot properly.

If people follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA and eat a diet that’s balanced and packed with good stuff nutritionally, then most of the required vitamins needed, will come from food. As folks age, a doctor might recommend, however, additional vitamins, as well as calcium and minerals but it is always best to get fuel from good foods than from pills.

Here’s a little factoid, most older adults do not need a complete multivitamin supplement or mineral if they’re eating right. However, if eating habits are not the best and food choices are way below the recommended U.S. dietary guidelines for healthy eating, then supplementation might be the next best way to go.

According to the National Institute on Aging people over the age of 50 should be meeting the following vitamins and minerals requirements:

Vitamin D If you’re age 50–70, you need at least 600 IU, but not more than 4,000 IU. If you’re age 70 and older, you need at least 800 IU, but not more than 4,000 IU. You can get vitamin D from fatty fish, fish liver oils, fortified milk and milk products, and fortified cereals.
Vitamin B6 Men need 1.7 mg every day. Women need 1.5 mg every day. You can get vitamin B6 from fortified cereals, whole grains, organ meats like liver, and fortified soy-based meat substitutes.
Vitamin  B12 You need 2.4 mcg every day. Some people over age 50 have trouble absorbing the vitamin B12 found naturally in foods, so make sure you get enough of the supplement form of this vitamin from fortified foods. You can get vitamin B12 from fortified cereals, meat, fish, poultry, and milk.
Folate You need 400 mcg each day. However, people who regularly drink alcohol should aim for at least 600 mcg of folate daily since alcohol can impair its absorption. A wide variety of foods naturally contain folate, but the form that is added to foods and supplements, folic acid, is better absorbed. Good sources of folate include dark leafy greens like turnip greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and  broccoli. Other good sources of the vitamin include liver, eggs, beans, peanuts, whole grains and fresh fruits/fruit juices.


Since aging can result in bone loss, calcium is also a mineral that is direly necessary for bones and teeth. Calcium can be obtained from milk, milk products, dark leafy greens like collards or kale, canned sardines, salmon with bones, and fortified juices/products. The calcium requirement for women age 51 and over is 1,200 mg per day and men in the same age group need 1,000 mg per day. Men, age 71 and over, need more of the supplement so their calcium gets boosted to 1,200 mg per day.

According to doctors and nutritionists, many chronic diseases are related to poor quality eating patterns, the Dietary Guidelines provide information that helps Americans make healthy choices for themselves and their families. If you are unsure of your eating habits and feel you lack the necessary vitamins and minerals in your diet that can help keep you healthy and strong, refer to the guidelines.

For more info check out the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.