Did you know that humans can’t synthesize their own vitamin C? Luckily, taking vitamin C-rich foods (especially fruits and vegetables) can help meet the recommended daily dose of this vitamin. Older adults can also load up on this vitamin by taking supplements such as multivitamins. An ample supply of this vitamin bolsters their aging immune system, protecting them from infections and boosting wound healing. But how much is enough when it comes to supplementing vitamin C among older adults?
Nutritional Needs for Older Adults
Older adults have an increased need for vitamin C due to their susceptibility to illness and disease. They are most at risk of macular degeneration, osteoporosis, heart disease, and other age-related diseases.
Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis, an important component of the connective tissue in the immune, nervous, bone, and cartilage systems. With its contribution to overall well-being, we can’t understate the importance of vitamin C among older adults.
Recommended Vitamin C Amounts
Adults 19 years and older should take 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women daily – this is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). This amount increases for smokers as smoking depletes the vitamin C levels in the body. It is recommended that such adults take an additional 35 mg above the RDA.
It is also essential to be mindful of the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) among older adults. This is the maximum daily intake above which there will likely be harmful effects on health. Adults shouldn’t take above 2000 mg of vitamin C; anything above this level is likely to cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal distress.
Why You Should Be Wary of Excessive Vitamin C Intake
While megadoses of vitamin C aren’t toxic, they can adversely affect older adults. Amounts greater than 3000 mg daily may result in increased kidney stone formation among those with a history of kidney stones or existing kidney disease. Too much vitamin C may also result in elevated uric acid levels, a risk factor for gout.
So, how do you ensure that your loved one gets enough of this vital vitamin daily? Ensuring they eat a balanced diet containing vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables is your best bet.
Using the services of professional caregivers, such as grocery shopping, meal planning, and preparation, can also go a long way in ensuring that seniors get the required dose of vitamin C via diet.