To get the nutrients we need, the best way is still to eat a variety of nutritious foods. However, it can be impossible or inconvenient at times. Also, when we get busy or ill, it might be hard for us to ensure we’re getting enough nutrients regularly.
Nutritional supplements for the elderly
It’s especially the case for older adults, who might now be eating too little because their appetite and digestion has become weaker over time. As a result, their overall health gets affected. Their mobility and quality of life also gets affected because of less than optimal nutrition.
To support their diet and ensure older adults still get enough essential nutrients, taking some dietary supplements can help. These supplements (vitamins and minerals) can literally supplement the diet the older adults get daily.
Some of the most common supplements for older adults are:
- Calcium (keeping bones strong and preventing fractures)
- Vitamin D (for healthy and strong bones, reduce risks of developing autoimmune diseases)
- Vitamin B6 (supports immune function and brain health)
- Vitamin B12 (important in healthy red blood cell formation and normal function of the central nervous system)
Are supplements safe?
First, you have to consult your doctor if you’re planning to take nutritional supplements, especially if you have an existing health condition or you’re already taking medications. Supplements might result in side effects, or if in excess than your body can take, can cause serious problems.
For those with disability or severe limitations to their mobility and physical function, nutrients are taken in through tube feed. This means the supplements are in liquid form, which will go directly to a person without the need for chewing or much digestion. For example, Jevity provides complete and balanced nutrition through tube feeding. It can be used as a supplement or a sole source of nutrition, depending on the person’s condition and the doctor’s orders. It should only be used under medical supervision to ensure safe and proper feeding.
When you look for supplements, ensure that they’re safe for the person who is about to take it. Also check possible allergic reactions or intolerance such as against lactose and gluten. This way, people who need the supplement can safely receive the nutrients and aid in recovery or proper bodily function.