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What Vitamin Supplements Should a Vegan Senior Be Taking?

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Our society is becoming more health-conscious, which results in a number of possible lifestyle changes. One such change many people of all ages are turning to is a vegan diet. If your senior loved one is vegan, some vitamins may be difficult to obtain in proper amounts. To avoid deficiencies and help prevent health complications, Palm Beach in-home care experts suggest your loved one take these supplements.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is responsible for keeping nerve and blood cells healthy and making DNA material, as well as helping make connections in the brain related to memory. This vitamin is mostly found in animal sources such as meat or byproducts such as eggs. Because of this, senior vegans may find it difficult to maintain a healthy level of B12. Some vegans insist eating unwashed produce or fungi grown in soil enriched by B12 is sufficient, but medical studies do not support this claim. Therefore, taking a B12 supplement every day is suggested for all vegans. B12 is especially essential for seniors because tests have linked low levels of vitamin B12 to memory dysfunction and cognitive decline. Aging bodies can also have a harder time breaking down B12 in food, so a supplement can be helpful even if your loved one is not vegan. 

Niacin (B3)

Responsible for helping blood circulate properly, getting oxygen to all parts of your body, and metabolizing nutrients from carbs and fats, niacin is an important nutrient for all people to have. However, like B12, it’s primarily found in animal products and dairy, so some vegans may not get enough of this vitamin. Not getting enough niacin can be especially serious for your loved one. Studies suggest B3 may help prevent a variety of problems seniors are prone to such as low HDL cholesterol and heart disease. Niacin is found in tomatoes, potatoes, and peanuts, so vegans who eat high concentrations of these foods may not need a supplement. However, unless a blood test determines otherwise, a daily B3 supplement is recommended. 

Zinc

Zinc helps the body make proteins and helps fight off infections. Having a low amount of zinc can be responsible for protein deficiencies and make your loved one more prone to catching an illness. A balanced vegan diet may have enough zinc, but supplementation is still a good idea. Seniors especially need to get enough zinc because their immune systems tend to be weaker and a small illness can turn into something serious in a short amount of time. Zinc’s immune-strengthening properties may help your loved one get sick less often and less seriously.

Looking for other solutions to help keep your loved one healthy? Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers are dedicated to helping your loved one prevent illness and can assist him or her with a wide variety of daily tasks, including grocery shopping, nutritious meal preparation, and medication reminders. To learn more about hourly and live-in home care Palm Beach seniors rely on, call one of our friendly Care Managers at 561.429.8292 today.