Do seniors need a multivitamin? That depends – Seniors who eat a well-rounded diet may not need a daily multivitamin to fill in any gaps in nutrition, however some older adults do not always eat as balanced a diet as they should which can lead to lack of nutrition and can, in turn, cause deficiencies.
Elderly adults often have difficulty shopping for and preparing nutritious meals. A decreased sense of smell and taste can affect one’s appetite and food preferences. Advanced age can also cause a decrease in stomach acid which may cause a nutritional deficiency, especially in vitamin B12. Low stomach acid can cause vitamin B12 to be poorly absorbed. Vitamin D deficiencies are also common in the elderly population.
Depression, grief and other emotional issues are common causes of appetite loss in seniors. Plymouth University in the U.K. conducted research on appetite loss in seniors and found elevated levels of the hormone peptide YY in elderly women, otherwise known as the “feeling full” hormone. This reduction in appetite can lead to malnourishment and cause unintentional weight loss.
In most cases multivitamins won’t do any harm and can be beneficial to those at high risk for nutritional deficiencies. Still, eating a nutritious diet continues to be the best way to maintain good health along with regular exercise and a regular sleep schedule. As with any new medication or supplement, be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before adding any vitamins or supplements to your daily regimen.