The use of multivitamin supplements may benefit elderly patients who do not receive adequate nutrients and have unique nutritional needs.
Ms. Terrie is a clinical pharmacy writer based in Haymarket, Virginia.
Many individuals in the elderly populationmay find it difficult or challengingto meet their nutritional needs throughdietary means alone. Elderly individualsare more likely to take multiple medications;various medications may causenutrient depletion, as well as adverseeffects that may lead to decreased appetite,thereby affecting the nutritionalstatus of these patients.
Currently, a wide variety of multivitamin/multimineral nutritional supplementsare formulated to meet the nutritionalneeds of individuals aged 50 andolder. These multivitamin supplementsmay include higher levels of vitamin C,folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitaminsB1, B2, B6, B12, and other nutrients, butnot iron, because individuals aged 50and older require less iron and generallymeet their iron needs through dietalone.1-3 Some studies have suggestedthat high iron stores may contributeto chronic diseases such as cancerand cardiovascular disease; however,research to date is inconclusive.4 Someformulations contain gingko biloba forimproved memory and concentration,and some formulations are gender-specificto meet the individual nutritionalneeds of women and men.
Various studies have investigated thenutritional needs of individuals aged50 and older. Examples of the studiesinclude:
Pharmacists should remind elderlypatients to discuss the use of a supplementwith their primary health careprovider before use to ensure its appropriateness.When assisting patients withthe selection of a multivitamin supplement,pharmacists should assess thepatient's medical history and medicationprofile to determine if a potentialexists for a drug/micronutrient interactionor contraindication. In addition,pharmacists should remind patients totake these supplements as directed andthat no substitute exists for consuminga balanced diet. Pharmacists also canrefer patients to registered dietitianswhen warranted.
For more information relating tonutrition and the senior patient population,please visit the Office of DietarySupplements at the National Institutesof Health Web site at ods.od.nih.gov/index.aspx.
One A Day Men's 50 Plus Advantage Tablets
One A Day Women's 50 Plus Advantage Tablets
Centrum Silver Tablets and Chewables
Bausch & Lomb Ocuvite Adult 50 Plus Eye Vitamin & Mineral Supplement
Nature Made Multi For Her 50+ Multi Vitamin/Mineral Supplement, Tablets
Nature Made Multi For Him 50+ Multi Vitamin/Mineral Supplement, Tablets
Nature Made Essential 50+ Multi Vitamin/Mineral Supplement, Tablets
Nature's Bounty ABC Plus Senior Tablets
Rainbow Light Active One Senior Multivitamin Tablets
Theragran-M Premier 50 Plus High Potency Multivitamin/Multimineral Supplement with Lutein & Lycopene Caplets