Exploring the Benefits of Vitamin B12: Dosage for Seniors
As you age, getting the right nutrition can be a challenge. The number of calories needed to support your lifestyle usually begins to decline as your activity level changes, and it becomes even more important for every calorie you consume to also supply the right nutrients to maintain a healthy balance.
One reason nutrition becomes more challenging in your golden years is because your ability to taste food often declines, which reduces your appetite, and some foods become more difficult to chew or digest, making eating less enjoyable. Additionally, your body naturally begins to have more difficulty absorbing certain nutrients. There are many important nutrients that may be impacted by absorption issues, including vitamin B6, zinc, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, omega-3s, potassium, fiber and vitamin B12.
Why is Vitamin B12 Deficiency Common in the Elderly?
A vitamin B12 deficiency is a tricky one to tackle. The biggest question around this health issue is – why is vitamin B12 deficiency common in the elderly? The difficulty in maintaining the necessary levels of vitamin B12 usually occurs because the vitamin is not absorbed as well from food as you age. This problem develops because many seniors have issues with the stomach enzymes and acids needed to process the vitamin. So, even if you eat a diet rich in B12, you may not have the needed levels in your body.
If you think you may have a B12 deficiency, it is important to know what to look for. Symptoms include:
- Memory problems
- Difficulty walking
All of these symptoms can also be related to other health issues. If you have these symptoms, it is a good idea to discuss any concerns you have about B12 with your doctor in relation to your symptoms to ensure the proper measures are taken. For residents of senior communities, such as Stratford Commons Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, they have the benefit of a dedicated medical team with experience recognizing the signs and symptoms of serious medical issues. As part of your recovery journey at Stratford Commons, our team will put a care plan in place to help you reach your health goals.
Vitamin B12 Dosage for Seniors
Wondering how much B12 should an elderly person take? When considering B12 dosage levels for seniors, it is a good idea to consult a medical professional to be sure the amount is accurate for your specific health conditions. However, a good rule of thumb is to follow the National Institutes of Health chart, which recommends 2.4 micrograms (mcg) for men and women aged 19 years or older.
If you have a deficiency of B12, it can be helpful to add foods to your diet that are rich in the vitamin. Foods like poultry, eggs, milk, milk products, fish and meat are all good sources of vitamin B12. If you are one of the many seniors who are not absorbing enough of the vitamin through food, your physician may recommend a supplement or medication.
Once your B12 levels are at a healthy level, there are a number of benefits, such as:
- Improved immune system
- Increased cognition
- Support for bone health
- Reduced healing time after injury
Supporting Healthy Choices
One concern for older adults regarding B12 deficiency is how often this issue is overlooked or misdiagnosed. This can happen for one of two main reasons:
- The symptoms of the vitamin deficiency are overlooked because they are common in older adults and can be easily mistaken for another condition, or attributed to an ongoing health issue.
- Health issues related to a vitamin B12 deficiency progress very slowly and symptoms are often very mild.
Unlike many conditions that affect seniors, a deficiency in vitamin B12 is very treatable. For residents in communities like Stratford Commons, enjoying a healthy nutrition plan, various fitness programs and a closely managed medical treatment plan creates a network of support and comfort. Any changes to your medical needs or status will be addressed quickly as you work with your care team to achieve your recovery goals.