The Best Nutritional Supplements for the Elderly

Key Points

  • The best nutritional supplements for the elderly ensure that seniors consume the nutrients they need.

  • Malnourishment is due to poor diet, poor digestion, or health conditions.

  • Poor nutrition contributes to many health conditions.

  • If you're struggling with issues like menopause, pelvic health, and low energy, you may benefit from incorporating the best nutritional supplements for the elderly into your daily regimen.

You know the saying: You are what you eat. While eating a healthy diet may become more of a struggle later in life, choosing the best nutritional supplements for the elderly ensures your body doesn't miss out on some key nutrients.

The best nutritional supplements for the elderly are not interchangeable with supplements for those in a younger age bracket. Understanding your body's unique needs is key to healthy, vibrant senior years.

Why Is Nutrition Important for the Elderly?

Good nutrition helps to prevent and manage diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. It also builds strong bones, which reduces the risk of falls. Good food and the right supplements keep you healthy as you navigate the inevitable changes that come with aging, like menopause, loss of energy, and pelvic dysfunction.

Proper nutrition supports healthy body weight and prevents malnutrition. Older adults account for the majority of malnutrition cases, due to factors like reduced appetite, poor dental health, chronic conditions, depression, or living alone. 

Katherine Tucker of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University comments, “Chronic conditions and medications can affect nutrition requirements for seniors.” Always speak with your doctor about your specific nutritional requirements. Proper nutrition often improves your cognitive function and mood.

What Are the Nutritional Needs of Seniors?

As you age, your need for specific nutrients increases while you simultaneously need fewer calories. Every bite you eat needs to pack a healthy dose of important nourishment.

Many nutrients are essential to good health, but the following are a few that are frequently lacking in the diets of seniors. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D supports bone health, muscle health, immunity, and cognition. Your body creates vitamin D when it’s exposed to the sun, but as you age your skin cannot make vitamin D as efficiently. Seniors also tend to spend more time indoors.


Calcium and vitamin D work together to build strong bones. Calcium aids in muscle health, nerve transmission, and hormone secretion.

Vitamin B6

Over 100 different enzyme reactions, including metabolism and immunity, involve vitamin B6. A lack of vitamin B6 may cause anemia, cracking skin around the mouth, depression, or poor immunity.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 aids in DNA creation, red blood cell formation, and nerve function. A deficiency leads to anemia and insufficient red blood cells.


Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. It helps with healthy digestion, feeling full, and preventing constipation and inflammation. It reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.


Seniors need more protein to preserve muscle mass. If you are losing weight, are ill, or facing hospitalization, you need more protein-rich foods.


You need fewer calories as you age. Keep in mind, though, that you still may not be consuming enough to maintain optimal weight. It’s common for older people to lose their appetite. Being underweight increases your risk of bone fractures, weakens your immune system, and increases your risk of nutrient deficiency.

Strategies to Improve Senior Nutrition

It may be overwhelming, but maintaining good nutrition boils down to a few good habits:

Regular Meals

Eat regular meals to stay energized and regulate your digestion. Consistent meal patterns make it easier to consume the foods you need, without over- or under-eating.

Digestive Health

Seniors often experience slower and less effective digestion of the food they eat. Consuming adequate fiber and taking digestive aids to keep your digestive system moving along makes you feel better and maintain a good appetite.

Choosing the Right Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional supplements play an important role in a healthy diet. Supplements add key nutrients that your diet may be lacking.

Supplements contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, herbs or other plants, or enzymes. You don’t need a prescription to buy nutritional supplements.

A warning: Just because supplements are marketed as natural doesn’t mean they are safe. They might have side effects, interact with prescription drugs, or harm you if you have certain medical conditions. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before you add supplements to your diet.

Which Supplements Are Right For You?

When you peruse the supplement aisle at the store the choices may overwhelm you. Narrow your search to a type of product that supports your health goals. 

Most supplements fall into one of the following categories.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are essential for your body to survive and stay healthy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets dietary guidelines for each nutrient, according to your age and sex. 


Plant foods are a good source of fiber that is essential for normal bowel function. Fiber also aids in blood sugar control and weight management. Fiber may also lower your risk of heart disease and some cancers. 

Amino Acids and Protein

Nearly half of older adults don’t get the recommended amount of protein in their diet. Protein is crucial to aging well as it helps maintain muscle mass and heal from injuries and illness. Adults lose 30 to 50 percent of their muscle mass between ages 40 and 80.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. You need 20 amino acids, but nine are considered essential because your body can’t make them. You need to get them from your diet.

Supplements might include a complete protein or a single amino acid. To best meet your protein needs, look for a supplement that contains complete proteins.

Herbs and Plants

Choose supplements made from herbs or plants – especially if you're looking for a natural or lower-cost option.

The following list includes a few popular herbal supplements for seniors, as well as their intended benefits:

  • Ginkgo biloba: Helps with cognitive function and circulation

  • Milk thistle: Supports liver function and digestion

  • Turmeric: Contains anti-inflammatory properties and aids in cognitive function

  • Ginger: Improves digestive function and reduces inflammation

  • Ashwagandha: Reduces stress and improves cognitive function

Please note, though, that these plant-based supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Many are safe when used as recommended, but some could interact with prescription drugs or health conditions. 

Enzymes and Probiotics

Enzymes and probiotics both aid in digestion function, but they do so in different ways. 

Digestive enzymes break down foods in the digestive system. As you age, your body produces fewer digestive enzymes, which can lead to malnutrition and intestinal upset. 

Systemic enzymes operate throughout your body in every organ and system. They aid in reducing inflammation, supporting the immune system, improving circulation, and tissue repair and regeneration.

Probiotics are living microorganisms that live in your gut. This “gut flora,” or microbiome, influences not just your digestion but your heart, lungs, and mental health. Illness, diet, stress, and antibiotics may disrupt your healthy gut flora.

Supplements for Specific Ailments

Many supplements aim to remedy specific ailments or support an area of health. There are supplements to address a wide variety of health goals.

Improve Energy

Several energy supplements may be good choices for seniors struggling with their energy levels. B vitamins, caffeine, coenzyme Q10, creatine, and energy and adrenal support are all great options.

B Vitamin Complex

If you are deficient in B vitamins, a supplement may improve your energy levels. In addition, consciously choose foods that are high in B vitamins, such as eggs, beef, and yogurt.


Many energy-stimulating products contain caffeine. Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant found in coffee, tea, and chocolate. It increases energy levels and improves mental alertness, but too much caffeine may have negative side effects.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 plays a key role in energy production in the body by stimulating the powerhouse of the cell — the mitochondria — to produce more energy. 


This amino acid may improve muscle strength and quickness, which helps you feel more energetic.

Energy and Adrenal Support

Uber Energy Adrenal Fatigue and Adaptogen Supplement from HUM Nutrition contains vitamin B6, L-Tyrosine, and an herbal concoction of energizing extracts (including eleuthero, ashwagandha, and Rhodiola), to support the adrenal system and keep your energy levels consistent as you maneuver through your day.

Menopause Support

Menopause is a time of profound changes throughout a woman’s body.

The decline in estrogen from menopause causes muscle mass and bone strength to decrease. Your diet may ease symptoms by improving your gut health, promoting healthy digestion, and ensuring your body has the nutrients it needs to keep things running smoothly.

HUM Nutrition Fan Club is an estrogen-free, non-hormonal, clinically studied probiotic formula that addresses eleven symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.

Vaginal and Urinary Tract Health

Older adults are more vulnerable to UTIs. As you age the muscles in your bladder and pelvic floor are weaker, leading to urine retention or incontinence. In addition to pelvic discomfort, UTIs may cause delirium, confusion, agitation, and social withdrawal.

To help prevent UTIs, drink plenty of water, use the bathroom frequently, and wipe front to back. Alcohol and caffeine can irritate the urethra and make infection more likely, while cranberry juice makes the urine less hospitable to bacteria.

A supplement like HUM Nutrition Private Party supports vaginal and urinary tract health with probiotic and cranberry supplements.

Choose the Right Supplements For You

Do your research, choose the right supplement for your health goals, and get out there and live your best energetic, healthy life!

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