Are you taking a daily multivitamin? You don't get a pass on this one, supplementing daily with a good multivitamin is an absolute requirement for masters men over 50. Many items on my personal supplementation list are optional for many, but not the multi-vite, the holy grail of nutritional supplementation.
In fact, the only real debate of merit on multivitamins is what blend of nutrients andhow much of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of each one should be taken.
Okay, so let's say up to this point you've totally missed the boat on multivitamins - why are multivitamins critical to the daily nutritional needs of men over 50? Without turning this into a science course the basics are as follow:
1. We don't get the essential nutrients in our daily diets. By and large, the typical US diet is pretty crappy. The main culprit is processed foods that have been mangled beyond recognition to our bodies.
However, even "clean eating" of whole foods like meats, fruits and vegetables can leave us short due to mass-production techniques requiring low-cost and distribution requirements of durability and long shelf life.
Unless you're growing or raising your own food (yea, right) or buying from trusted local producers, your foods are likely lacking in their full nutritional potential.
2. If you're watching your calories to maintain weight or to lose weight (you should be) then you're on a limited calorie budget for the three main macronutrient categories of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Therefore, due to these calorie constraints, you have limited opportunity to ingest the nutrients your body needs. Multivitamins give us these nutrients without adding calories.
3. Working out vigorously adds nutritional requirements as your body is in a constant state of repair and building (we're going to assume you work out, if not you need to! Know that vitamins and minerals are the substances your body is either made up of or must have to synthesize into what it's made up of.
You can't have a glass of water without water, likewise you can't have a body (or at least a properly functioning body) without nutrients. And the more physical demand you place on your body, the more your body needs it's basic life ingredients.
So the next question is where the real debate starts; what vitamins and minerals should the senior athlete ensure is in their daily multivitamin uptake and how much of the RDA should be consumed?
Really, the consensus and even the science on this subject is all over the board, but my personal philosophy is to err on the high side.
Simple - because research shows much upside promise to larger doses of multivitamins vs. a very limited downside.
That's why I use multivitamins labeled "mega-multi", because I get higher doses that exceed the RDA but have not been found by the FDA to be unsafe. Stick to national brands or store brands from large retailers as these tend to have higher testing levels to ensure purity and dosage accuracy.
Some research has suggested that extreme amounts of certain vitamins can be harmful. These studies, however, are suggestive and not conclusive.
Contrarily, some researchers suggest that extremely high dosages of certain vitamins can address specific health problems. These too tend to be more suggestive than conclusive, but I do personally go much higher overall on vitamins C and B complex (more on that upcoming).
This is what I feel is right for me based on my personal mix of diet and physical demands and what I have found over many years makes me fee and operate at my best, you should talk with your doctor about what's right for you as many medical conditions, especially in senior men, may dictate special requirements.
But I can tell you that personally, my overall approach to health, fitness and wellbeing includes mega doses, and that at 53 I feel as good as at any time in my life and get sick less than ever before.
To be sure, this is attributable to my overall lifestyle, but we are what we eat, and this includes taking the all-essential daily multivitamin!