taking certain vitamin and mineral supplements might be the right course of action for people with complex medical issues. for example, adults older than 50 years of age or younger adults already at risk may take vitamin d to prevent osteoporosis. but high intakes of some nutrients can result in over-supplementation, with little evidence of any benefit if the individual taking them had no previously reported medical condition. for example, the study found that, while niacin is not a nutrient older adults need to worry about, 14.7 per cent of individuals took too high an amount as a supplement. this can trigger unwanted reactions, such as flushing.
another problem is not enough supplementation. although it is recommended that older adults take vitamin d supplements, only 64.6 per cent of older people in the study reported taking the right amount of vitamin d.
what it means
to avoid over-supplementation, an individual’s dietary intake and medical issues should be looked at when taking mineral and vitamin supplements. the findings highlight the importance of a multidisciplinary health care approach to supplements for older adults with complex medical conditions. health care providers in medicine and nutrition should collaborate to help decide which supplements older adults need. this could help ensure that older adults with complex medical conditions take the right supplements and in the right amounts, and prevent the harmful results of taking more than they need.
this article was written
for the canadian society for exercise physiology by katherine l. ford, derek j. jorgensen, eric j.l. landry, and susan j. whiting. this article summarizes the study ford kl, jorgenson dj, landry ejl, whiting sj. vitamin and mineral supplement use in medically complex, community-living, older adults.
applied physiology, nutrition and metabolism.
published on the web 10 january
this summary was written for the canadian society for exercise physiology and has been reviewed by the csep knowledge translation committee.