Common Vitamin Deficiencies in Seniors
written by Valerie Michel Buck
It’s a common fact that most American do not eat a well balance diet and that fact is ever more widespread in seniors. Mild vitamin deficiencies are common amongst senior and can cause Anemia, cognitive impairment, and increased propensity for developing infections, and poor wound healing are associated indicators of mild vitamin deficiencies. Irreversible organ damage can be caused by severe vitamin deficiency.
The causes of vitamin deficiencies vary. Many adults do not consume certain foods in adequate amounts. Smoking tobacco, malabsorption disorders, gastrointestinal surgery, H. Pylori infection, alcohol overconsumption, drug adverse effects, and drug-nutrient interaction may contribute to certain Vitamin deficiencies.
In seniors, neurotransmitters that stimulate the appetite or the presence of hormones can decrease the appetite causing seniors to eat less and therefore consume less Vitamins.[i]
This is a brief list of the most common vitamins that seniors are deficient in and what they do:
- Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble essential vitamin. It is essential for the formation of red blood cells and maintenance of a healthy nervous system as well as for the rapid synthesis of DNA during cell division.[ii]
- Folic Acid. Folic acid is one of the B vitamins, and it helps your body make new cells, including new red blood cells. Your body needs red blood cells to carry oxygen. If you don’t have enough red blood cells, you have anemia, which can make you feel weak and tired.[iii]
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is used to form an important protein used to make skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels; heal wounds and form scar tissue; repair and maintain cartilage, bones, and teeth. Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants, antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by free radicals.[iv]
- Vitamin D. Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones because it helps the body use calcium from the diet.[v]
What to Eat:
Common foods to eat to get more of those vitamins you could be lacking.
Vitamin B12. Clams; Beef Liver; Mackerel; Crab; Silken Tofu; Light Plain Soymilk; Fortified Cereals; Red Meat; Low Fat Dairy (Skim Milk); Lamb; Swiss Cheese; Eggs (from Chickens).[vi]
Folic Acid. Dark Leafy Green (Spinach, Collard Greens, Turnip Green, Mustard Greens, Romaine Lettuce); Asparagus; Broccoli; Citrus Fruits (Papaya, Oranges, Grapefruits, Strawberries, Raspberries); Lentils, Peas and Beans (Pinto Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Black Beans, Navy Beans, Kidney Beans, Lima Beans, Split Peas, Green Peas, Green Beans); Avocado; Okra; Brussel Sprouts; Seeds and Nuts (Sunflower Seeds, Peanuts; Flax Seeds; Almonds); Cauliflower; Beets; Corn; Celery; Carrots; Squash (Winter Squash, Summer Squash).[vii]
Vitamin C. Parsley; Broccoli; Bell Peppers; Strawberries; Oranges; Lemon Juice; Papaya; Cauliflower; Kale; Mustard Greens; Brussel Sprouts; Kiwi; Brussel .[viii]
Vitamin D. Cod Liver Oil; Fish; Fortified Cereals; Oysters; Caviar; Fortified Soy Products (Tofu, Soy Milk); Salami; Ham; Sausages; Fortified Dairy Products; Eggs; Mushrooms.[ix]
This information should not be taken as medical advice, please advise your doctor for individualized information on your own Vitamin deficiencies and possible interactions with current medications you take.