Prepared by Nutritionist Jade
WHO defines healthy ageing as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age.” Healthy aging is influenced by many factors and some of it, like genetics, are not in our control, while others such as exercise, a healthy diet, regular check-ups, mental healthcare are within our reach. Small changes in each of these areas can go a long way to support healthy aging.
It will be ideal if we can get consume a healthy diet from our daily food intake, but sometimes our food supply or choices are just limited and not the highest quality either. Hence, those approaching or in their golden years may consider consuming dietary supplements to bridge the nutritional gaps.
Let us look at some of the common health supplements for our elderlies.
Calcium - When we reach age 50, our daily calcium requirement goes up. Beside building and maintaining strong bones, calcium plays a role in blood clotting, muscle contraction, and regulates normal heart and nerve functions. If we do not have enough calcium, your body borrows it from your bones to keep things running smoothly, which will lead to brittle bone and increase the risk of bone fractures.
Vitamin D - Our body can only absorb calcium when vitamin D is present. As people age, they may become more prone to vitamin D deficiency due to reduced sun exposure and impaired synthesis in the skin. Research suggests that Vitamin D prevents bone fractures by improving bone mineral density, muscle strength, and balance, which would help prevent falls. Vitamin D3 is the preferred source because of its superior bioavailability.
Omega 3 – Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, have been associated with various health benefits, including reducing inflammation, supporting heart health, and promoting brain function. Omega 3 may also maintain a healthy vision and protecting against age-related macular degeneration.
Probiotics - Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut microbiome. They may help with digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function. A balanced gut microbiome is increasingly recognized as important for overall health and aging.
Before taking any new supplement, be sure to always consult your doctor or check the labels to ensure that they do not interact with medications that you are taking. Supplements should be used in conjunction with a well-rounded diet and lifestyle such as regular exercise and adequate sleep which play vital roles in healthy aging.
Flynn, Albert. (2003) The role of dietary calcium in bone health. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 62.4: 851-858.
Johnson, Mary Ann, and Michael G. Kimlin. (2006) Vitamin D, aging, and the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Nutrition reviews 64.9: 410-421.
Hutchinson AN, Bergh C, Kruger K, Sűsserová M, Allen J, Améen S, Tingö L. (2021) The Effect of Probiotics on Health Outcomes in the Elderly: A Systematic Review of Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Studies. Microorganisms. 21;9(6):1344.