Vitamins and Minerals: What are the requirements for Elderly People?

Vitamins and minerals are necessity for a healthy and a working body because these contribute in almost all the life processes taking place within the body. It includes maintaining bone health, boosting of immunity, healing of wounds, repairing of the cellular damage and obtaining energy from food.

Both vitamins and minerals are extremely important for the body and as the body ages, factors like loss of appetite, decreased physical activity and degradation of body processes lead to deficit amounts of vitamins and minerals in the diet consumed. This leads to several diseases and disorders. To combat these, your food should contain an optimum quantity of vitamins and minerals. Let us see the requirements of vitamins and minerals for an elderly person in details.

Vitamins for Elderly People

Vitamins can be defined as nutrients that are organic in nature and required by our body in minute quantities because they cannot be synthesized by the body. The body requires a range of vitamins but an elderly person need certain vitamins more compared as to a young adult. Such vitamins required by elderly people are:

  • Vitamin A: With the advancement of age, the blurriness in vision increases thus daily intake of vitamin A is required to help in proper vision. It also helps in normal functioning of other organs. The natural sources that are rich in vitamin A are green leafy vegetables, carrots, bell peppers, mango, pumpkin, etc.

Recommended daily dosage for older people: 700 to 900 micrograms

  • Vitamin B12: One of the consequences of aging is its affect on weakening of brain and spinal cord. Vitamin B12 helps in maintenance of nerve cells, brain and spinal ord. It also aids in production of red blood cells and DNA. Vitamin B12 can be obtained from lean meats, fish, cereals, etc.

Recommended daily dosage for older people: 25 to 100 micrograms

  • Vitamin C: Aging process leads to increased amounts of free radicals within the body that degrades the body progressively; however, vitamin C has the ability to protect the body from the damage caused by free radical. This results in quick and healthy healing of the wounds. Vitamin C is also known to cure cold. All citrus fruits are rich sources of vitamin C; other than these, potatoes and strawberries are also rich in vitamin C.

Recommended daily dosage for older people: 75 to 2000 mg

  • Vitamin D: The most visible damage done from aging process is the decrease in bone health of the elderly people, to prevent this vitamin D is necessary. It helps in absorption of calcium in the body there by maintaining the bone density. It is also known to prevent cancers and heart diseases but as a drawback of aging, the capability of body to synthesize vitamin diminishes thus supplements are required to maintain right levels of vitamin D in the blood. The natural foods to obtain vitamin D are yoghurt, eggs, fish, raw milk, etc.

Recommended daily dosage for older people: 600 to 800 IU

Minerals for Elderly People

Minerals can be defined as inorganic nutrients that are devoid of carbon and are required by the body for the required growth and health but in very small quantities. Similar to vitamins, there are many types of minerals needed for the health of the body but there are certain minerals, requirement of which is crucial in elderly people. Such minerals are:

  • Calcium: It works in coherence with vitamin D and helps in maintaining of strong teeth, sturdy bone health and high bone density. It also helps in the process of blood clotting and conversion of food to energy. The food that are rich in calcium are sardines, broccoli, green turnips and dairy products.

Recommended daily dosage for older people: 1000 to 1200 mg

  • Potassium: Potassium is required by the body to maintain and regulate the fluid balance in the body. Hence, it plays an important role in reducing and maintaining the blood pressure as well as minimizing the occurrence of kidney stones. However, one must ensure that it is consumed in right amounts in diet, neither deficit nor excess. The potassium surplus foods include green beans, peanuts, bananas, orangs, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, etc.

Recommended daily dosage for older people: 4700 mg

  • Magnesium: Magnesium helps in bolstering the immunity of the body. It also helps in releasing of energy by the body, preparation and maintenance of genetic material and aiding in digestion. It is known to contribute in the proper functioning of around 300 physiological processes. Magnesium rich food include cashew nuts, avocado, figs, dates, raw honey, wheat bran, etc.

Recommended daily dosage for older people: 300 to 400 mg

  • Iron: Proper levels of iron in the body is required for formation and maintenance of red blood cells, transportation of oxygen throughout the body. The amount of iron levels in the body is measured in terms of the hemoglobin content. Foods rich in iron are liver, beet root, lentils, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, almonds, beans, etc.

Recommended daily dosage for older people: 8 mg

What happens if there is a Deficiency of Vitamins and Minerals?

Lack of vitamins and minerals within the body can lead to severe symptoms and disorders. The disorders caused due to their deficiency are:

Vitamin Deficiency:

Vitamins Deficiency outcome
A Deficiency of vitamin A is known to cause night blindness, along with loss of appetite, lower immunity, dry eyes and rough skin.
B12 Deficiency of vitamin B12 leads to pernicious anemia. Also for individuals suffering from malabsorption as well as elderly folks, its deficiency leads to nerve damage.
C The prime sign of deficiency of vitamin C is bleeding of gums and easy bruising, severe case of which is called scurvy. It also cause weakness in the muscles.
D Deficiency of vitamin D causes weak and brittle bones. This condition leads to rickets in children while osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults.

Mineral Deficiency:

Minerals Deficiency outcome
Calcium Cramping of muscles, impairments in proper functioning of brain, osteoporosis and osteomalacia in adults while rickets in children.
Potassium Deficiency of potassium usually occurs in patients suffering from diarrhea leading to muscle weakness, increased irritability, anorexia and nausea.
Magnesium Deficiency of magnesium is known to cause cardiac arrhythmias while the other problems that occur are muscle cramps, twitching and weakness along with nausea and increased amount of irritation.
Iron Low amounts of iron in the body causes anemia which results in paling of skin, headaches, fatigue, and restlessness, shortness in catching of breath, cracked lips and brittle nails.

Conclusion

Vitamins and minerals, both are extremely important for the proper functioning of the body because these maintain numerous physiological processes in coherence with each. Since, these cannot be synthesized by the body hence, a regular intake of them is crucial, else it may lead to various disorders. In cases of elderly people, the advanced age makes the intake of vitamins and minerals even more important because the progressive damage caused in the body directly or indirectly hampers the physiological processes. To add on, the increase in age also leads to lower physical activity and low appetite; hence, an incomplete diet which fails to meet the daily requirements of vitamins and minerals can bring in further damage to the body. Therefore, it is advised to administer multivitamin supplements in old age to ensure that the normal body processes are not hampered. However, these dosages should be taken under medical supervision only, because excessive levels of vitamins and minerals can also cause several disorders.

Also View: Note: This information is only for reference and is not a substitute of a medical care in any form. Kindly consult with a Healthcare Professional for detailed diagnosis, treatment and follow up.

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