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Seniors and Vitamins II – 5 Popular Supplements


Last week I started a series on seniors and vitamins, sharing what many experts believe to be the nutrients most needed by older adults. My intention this week was to faithfully plow ahead with a list of supplements seniors may need. Based solely on my cursory research, it looks like the medical community is split on who does and does not need daily supplements. As we age, how we absorb nutrients changes naturally. It’s different for everyone, especially if someone smokes, takes medication or suffers from a debilitating disease.


Kathleen Doheny, a freelance journalist specializing in health, fitness, and behavior, found that while many adults do take supplements, only a small number really need them. Most, she found, could obtain their daily needs better just by adhering to a healthier diet. Furthermore, the cost of supplements puts their use, for many, out of reach. Still, there are a number of seniors who could benefit from supplements. With this information firmly in hand, it might be best to first consult your physician before blindly gulping down something you don’t need or could cause more harm than good. I’m not drowning in quicksand yet, so let’s, cautiously, look at five supplements considered to be beneficial.


  • SAMe – S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is found naturally in the body, but synthetic versions can be found in the U.S. and Europe. It can also be prescribed by a physician. The Mayo Clinic has long known that it can be used to effectively treat depression, osteoarthritis, and liver disease. However, it can interact adversely with antidepressant medications.


  • Probiotics – These are good bacteria that can help keep your digestive tract healthy. A recent article in Consumer Reports though says there is not enough data showing that additional doses are beneficial.


  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – Web MD reports this enzyme occurs naturally in the body but as a supplement can be useful. Studies suggest it can not only help lower blood pressure but also treat some heart conditions. Additional research has shown it can be used to combat cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s disease and a host of other conditions. None of the research though has been conclusive.


  • Melatonin – is a hormone produced naturally in the brain’s pineal gland. As reported for the Mayo Clinic by Liza Torborg, it’s primary function is to help regulate sleep. Taken as a supplement, it can improve the quality and length of sleep. Though the side effects are few, it can interact adversely with some prescription medications, especially those dealing with blood clotting, diabetes, and high blood pressure.


  • Fish oil – Known to contain healthy Omega -3 fatty acids, fish oil is known to, reports Sonya Collins, a freelance journalist specializing in healthcare and biomedical research, help in the fight against heart disease. Other studies claim it can also aid in combatting “rheumatoid arthritis pain, high cholesterol, asthma, depression, and ADHD.” While known to be beneficial, there can be with the supplements some unwanted side effects including nausea, stomach pain, and diarrhea.



I’m not sure how much help I’ve been, and it could be that if you are taking any of these supplements you may now be upset that I have spoiled your regimen of taking health supplements. I’m not here to say that these or any other supplements are bad. No, there are definite benefits and some of us probably do need to be taking them. Like anything else though, it would behoove you to do some research or, better, consult your physician.