Supplements for Seniors

As you age, it seems more and more products and medications are marketed to you. It’s not entirely fair. And it’s not even necessary. But not all supplements are worthless.

Here are a few to consider. As always, talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have, or possible interactions with any medications. Most of the items on this list could be covered with diet, but sometimes it’s hard to get in everything your body needs with food.

Joint health

It’s true that the older you get, the more worn down your joints will be. It makes sense that if you’ve been using your knees for sixty years longer than your grandkids, they won’t be in quite the same shape. But you can make the best choices for what you have to work with.

Glucosamine and Collagen OR bone broth

Our cartilage needs to stay hydrated. It’s not as simple as drinking water. (Although you should be drinking plenty of that, too!)

Glucosamine works to draw the water you’re consuming into the cartilage. It keeps the cartilage as padded as possible, and helps keep your joints lubricated. It’s kind of like when you brine a turkey for thanksgiving. Soaking the meat in a salt and sugar mixture helps the turkey retain moisture even though it’s being cooked for hours.

Collagen helps rebuild tendons, ligaments, muscles and membranes.

You can take a pill for this, or you can simply add bone broth to your diet. It’s easy to make, and a great use for bones and the parts of vegetables you’re less likely to eat in your salad.

Probiotics OR fermented foods

You’ve likely heard something to the effect of your gut being a second brain. That’s not too far off. Our gut (stomach, large and small intestines) is where we digest everything we eat and drink. It’s where we absorb (or don’t absorb) all the nutrients our bodies need to function properly. If our gut is out of balance, it won’t matter how many vitamins or supplements we throw at it. It stands to reason, then, that diet plays a huge role here. Avoiding highly processed foods, sugar, and inflammatory foods are essential at any age. But adding in probiotics may help if you’re experiencing digestion issues or can’t seem to absorb enough nutrients.

Again, you may get this in pill form, or add fermented foods to your diet. Kifer, Kombucha, and any number of vegetables can be fermented.

Omega 3s

This one is a little confusing. Walk any grocery aisle and you’ll find lots of items boasting about their omega 3 content. But what your body really needs is a balance of omega 3s and omega 6s. It’s easy to get the omega 6s. They're in everything. The problem lies when you start getting your omega 3’s from a source higher in the 6’s (such as cereals and breads) Omega 3s reduce overall inflammation, which is vital for reducing the risk of heart disease, some cancers, pain from arthritis, and joint pain. The best way to get a good balance of both is to eat less processed foods and grains, and eat more fatty fish.
If you don’t like fish, or don’t eat it often, fish oil is a good supplement. I personally prefer the liquid over the capsules, but both are readily available.

Vitamin D

This vitamin, like most vitamins, is about more than the vitamin itself. Low Vitamin D levels make it hard for your body to absorb calcium, and that can lead to bone loss. The best way to get vitamin D is to just go outside with some skin exposed for ten minutes. This is the cheapest and most enjoyable form of vitamin D. But if you’ve had a skin cancer scare, or are unable to get sunlight for some reason, a supplement may be necessary. Keep in miind, this is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it should be taken with a meal that includes healthy fats. You could even buy a fish oil that contains Vitamin D.