Dietary Supplements and Herbal Remedies for the Elderly
Herbal Medicine Risks
First things first, what are dietary supplements and herbal remedies? These substances are used to add nutrients to a person’s diet or improve their overall health. Many herbal remedies and supplements contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, herbs, enzymes, or fish oils.
While dietary supplements and herbal remedies are generally deemed safe and are readily available at over-the-counter retailers, they aren’t recommended for everyone. When it comes to the elderly, it is always recommended to participate in an active lifestyle and to eat a healthy diet to get the vitamins and minerals the body naturally needs.
If you are contemplating a dietary supplement, it’s always important to meet with your physician and talk through any potential benefits or harmful side effects.
Herbal and Dietary Supplements for the Elderly
When considering adding supplements to a daily regimen, it’s most important to meet with a doctor. Discuss concerns, explain the changes you’d like to make and talk about your options. Most importantly, before ever starting any kind of dietary or herbal supplement, check to make sure the drugs you are currently taking will not have any negative interactions.
If a doctor suggests a vitamin or mineral supplement, it will most likely be one of the following:
- Calcium – Along with Vitamin D, calcium works to keep bones strong and is especially important for those over 55.
- Vitamin D – Most individuals don’t naturally produce enough vitamin D to stay healthy unless they spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun. Using a supplement or eating foods rich in vitamin D can be important.
- Vitamin B6 – This vitamin is essential to forming red blood cells. It’s common in many foods and available in dietary supplements.
- Vitamin B12 – Seniors need this to maintain nerve health and to keep red blood cells healthy. Some seniors have trouble absorbing this vitamin naturally in food, so it’s important to check with a doctor before adding a supplement.
When it comes to using dietary supplements or herbal remedies as part of a healthy lifestyle for the elderly, it’s important to note that most supplements are not FDA regulated. It does not regularly test what is in dietary supplements and companies are not required to share that information prior to putting them on the market. Also, many of these herbal remedies can be expensive, with no guarantee of any health benefits.
Enjoying a Healthy Lifestyle With McGregor PACE
At McGregor PACE, we make it our mission to help seniors ages 55 and older to find the support and services they need to live a healthy lifestyle. We assist Cuyahoga County seniors with medical, rehabilitative, social and personal care needs.