Older adults typically eat less than they did in their younger years because of reduced activity levels and a smaller appetite. Aging adults are also more likely to have health conditions that affect their appetite or digestive process compared to younger adults, including issues like:
- Stomach ulcers
- Acid reflux
- Poor sense of taste and smell
- Dental issues
- Mental health disorders
In addition, metabolic processes and muscle mass decrease with age, making it more difficult to absorb vitamins and minerals. As a result of these various factors, older adults are more likely to struggle with nutritional deficiencies.
This is problematic since poor nutrition can compound or cause even more health troubles. Fortunately, the team at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists in Arlington, Virginia, can help.
Our board-certified providers John Huffman, MD, and Talal Ghazal, MD, specialize in age management medicine and treating nutritional deficiencies in older adults. Take a moment to learn about three common deficiencies seniors experience and how we can help.
1. Calcium and vitamin D
Your body uses calcium to keep your bones strong and healthy. Vitamin D plays an essential role in helping your body take up the calcium it needs from the foods you eat.
Unfortunately, as you age, your gut absorbs less calcium. In addition, your skin gets thinner, making it harder for your body to produce the vitamin D it needs. Put together, it’s no wonder that older adults struggle to maintain the proper balance of calcium and vitamin D.
2. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin, helping your body create healthy DNA and red blood cells, and it plays an important role in the functionality of your nerves. This vitamin is absorbed in your gut.
Older people have a harder time absorbing vitamin B12 due to changes in the stomach related to aging, and a higher rate of digestive issues. For example, research scientists believe one reason is the prevalence of a condition called atrophic gastritis in people over 60.
This health condition causes less stomach acid and digestive enzymes, making it more difficult for your body to extract vitamin B12 from the foods you eat.
The right intake of potassium is essential for your health at every age, but especially as you get older. This is because potassium is linked to lower rates of high blood pressure, osteoporosis, heart disease, and kidney stones.
Medical research shows that many seniors aren’t getting the recommended daily allowance of this essential mineral. This is due in large part to the lower intake of fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet of elderly people.
How age management care can help
At Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists, our providers approach aging and age-related health needs through a holistic lens. Our team combines the most advanced therapies to help you enjoy life at every stage.
For nutritional deficiencies, our team creates a personalized treatment plan that may include dietary and lifestyle changes in addition to intravenous (IV) therapy. IV therapy is an easy way to remedy vitamin and mineral deficiencies quickly and effectively.
Food and oral supplements must go through your digestive system to enter your bloodstream. This means you get a reduced dose, making it more difficult to get the nutrients you need.
With IV therapy, you don’t lose any minerals or nutrients to the digestive process, giving you the key elements you need for optimal health.
To learn more about age-related nutritional deficiencies and how we can help, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists in Northern Virginia.