The human body is a machine. It builds bone, muscle, and skin; monitors and interprets signals that travel along miles of neural pathways; creates red blood cells to deliver nutrients; and fights off viruses and infections when needed.
And that’s just a fraction of its capabilities!But, like all machines, the body needs proper fuel and care to ensure its systems run smoothly. And, the more machines age, the more attention they need.
If you are 40 or older, it’s time to pay careful attention to your diet and your supplements. There’s a good chance you might be deficient on one or more of these crucial nutrients...
Calcium is very important to our resilience and strength, especially as we age. This mineral is used by the body to properly maintain muscle function, build strong bones and teeth, conduct nerve impulses, maintain a normal heart rhythm, allow skin homeostasis (replenish/repair), and much more.
Low calcium can cause:
- Numbness in fingers/toes/lips
- Coarse hair
- Dry skin
- Tooth decay
- Muscle cramps
This mineral is extremely important to our body’s ability to properly function. Foods high in calcium include milk, yogurt, hard cheese, fortified cereal, and kale. To improve absorption, choose calcium citrate supplements and take your supplements with food.
Iodine helps your body synthesize thyroid hormones. A thyroid that isn’t properly functioning can cause many unpleasant issues, including:
- Weight gain
- Dry/Coarse skin and hair
- Hair loss
- Muscle aches
Foods that are rich in iodine include seaweed, seafood, iodized salt, and dairy products. Table salt also includes iodine. However, you’ll want to make sure you don’t go overboard with it, or your cholesterol can take a hit.
This mineral is necessary for over 300 biochemical reactions within the body. It is used to maintain nerve and muscle function, proper heart rhythm, strong bones, and healthy immune systems.
A magnesium deficiency could cause:
- Muscle twitching
- Fatigue and muscle weakness
- High blood pressure
Good sources of magnesium can be found in green, leafy vegetables (kale, spinach for example), nuts, dairy, potatoes, whole wheat, and quinoa. Some supplements contain both calcium and magnesium, decreasing the number of pills you have to take every day.
Iron is a mineral necessary for the proper functioning of red blood cells (RBC). RBCs are responsible for providing the body with nutrition, oxygen, and removing waste. Iron deficiencies that interfere with RBCs ability to perform their functions can cause:
- Pale skin
- Chest pain
- Fast heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
- Poor appetite
To get more iron in your diet, consider beans, lentils, clams, or spinach. It is often difficult to get adequate iron from diet alone, so if your levels are low, consider an iron supplement as well. It’s best to take iron supplements with fruit juice or fresh fruit, as vitamin C improves absorption.
5. vitamin a
Vitamin A plays key roles in our vision, immune system health, and reproductive health. A powerful antioxidant, vitamin A fights cell damage and helps ensure healthy skin.
If you have low vitamin A in your body, you could experience:
- Dry skin
- Dry eyes
- Night vision impediments
- Poor wound healing
Add more sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach to your diet if you think you might be low on vitamin A. Consider eating these foods with salmon or other healthy fish. The fatty omega-3 acids in salmon help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A.
6. vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 helps keep nerve and red blood cell functions optimal and aids in the creation of DNA, the genetic material found in every cell of our bodies.
Signs you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Vision loss
- Numbness or tingling
- Pale skin
Good sources of vitamin B12 include fish, poultry, meat, dairy products, and fortified cereals. Supplements are also a great way to go. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, meaning excess stores are carried out of the body with liquids. Because of this, there is no chance of accidental overdose.
7. Vitamin d
Vitamin D is necessary for the body to be able to properly absorb calcium, helping to maintain strong bones. It’s mostly absorbed from the sun. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get the sunshine we need every day. For this reason, vitamin D deficiency is at an all-time high.
If you have low Vitamin D in your body you could be dealing with:
- Back/Bone pain
- Bone loss
- Hair loss
Good sources of vitamin D include fish liver oil, fatty fish (salmon, herring, tuna), fortified milk and cereal products. You should also try taking daily walks to soak in some much-needed sunshine. The exercises and weight loss are a nice added bonus!
Why do nutrients deficiencies occur more often in older adults?
Our bodies are capable of producing many of the complex vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal performance. However, they can’t do so in sufficient quantities. As we age, our bodies slow down the internal production of necessary nutrients. This is why many older adults are increasingly deficient in vitamins and minerals, particularly those following the standard American diet.
We all know that eating a healthy diet is the easiest way to be sure your body is getting everything it needs. Unfortunately, most of our diets are lacking in several key nutrients. This occurs because diets like the Standard American Diet use the same foods in every meal (i.e. flour, eggs, sugar, American cheese, chicken, beef, and potatoes.)
So why is it so important to address nutrient deficiencies? These deficiencies can advance many health issues, including those typically associated with the aging process such as:
- Decreased energy
- Poor immune system
- Frail, brittle bones
- Sore or aching joints and muscles
- Dull, uneven skin tone
It’s easy to become deficient in a nutrient and not even realize it. For this reason, it’s extremely important to have your nutrients checked during your annual check-up with your doctor. Or, consider having a specialist run bloodwork to ensure your nutrients are balanced.
REady to look and feel your best?
A healthy way to get all the nutrients your body needs is to eat a well-balanced diet that contains a wide variety of options including fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and grains. But, if you think your diet isn’t meeting your body’s requirements, it’s important to speak with your doctor and figure out how your deficiencies can be eliminated.
At Matrix Age Management, we understand the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle. We also know the benefits of pairing them with lifestyle modifications that ensure healthy sleep habits, reduced stress, improved strength and mobility, optimized hormones, and more. Supplements are a big part of how we help older adults stay fit and energetic for years to come.
If you’re ready to live life to the fullest, contact the professionals at Matrix Age Management. Let us show you just how valuable a custom-built age management plan can be to your health and vitality.