Most American adults don’t follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which means they’re not getting all of the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy. That’s troublesome because there is significant evidence that these nutrients can improve health and longevity.

Here’s a rundown of the vitamins and other supplements you might want to take after age 50 to boost your nutritional health. As always, check with your health-care provider before adding any supplements to your regimen.

Multivitamin. Taking a ­multivitamin daily for more than 20 years can improve heart health, according to a large study of more than 18,000 physicians in 2016. Dose: Take one-half a men’s or women’s over-50 multivitamin in the morning and the other half in the evening. Since water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C leave the body in our urine, this will ensure a more steady level of the nutrients in your body. Any brand of multivitamin will do since most of the ingredients are made by one of three manufacturers. Caution: Don’t also consume beverages or foods that have added vitamins—you may end up getting too much of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A and E, which don’t flush out of the body in the urine and can be toxic if they accumulate.

Vitamin D. This essential vitamin is critical for improving immunity, bone, brain and heart health. But our bodies don’t create enough vitamin D simply by sitting in the sun, especially as we get older. Example: One small study conducted at Boston University ­Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine and published in The Lancet found that young people have three times more vitamin D in their blood after being exposed to UV light than do older adults. Dose: After age 50, take 1,000 IU daily of a D-3 supplement. If you are over 65, bump the dose up to 2,000 IU daily…and to 4,000 IU after age 75.

Omega-3s. Fish oils such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) can improve brain function and protect our eyes and heart. Dose: Take a DHA/EPA combination. Caution: A generic brand may not contain active DHA. Instead take a high-quality brand such as Nordic Naturals or Jarrow Formulas EPA-DHA Balance, both available at

Coenzyme Q10. This coenzyme boosts energy production and may reduce risk for heart attacks, diabetes and high blood pressure as well as improve brain function. Also: If you are taking a statin to lower your LDL (or Apo-B) cholesterol level, CoQ10 may help protect against the common side effect of muscle soreness. Dose: 200 mg a day.

Probiotics. Probiotics increase the diversity of good bacteria in your gut, improving digestion and immunity and decreasing risk for urinary tract infections and bone loss. Dose: Alternate between two or three different products such as Culturelle, ­TruBiotics, Digestive Advantage and Align so that you get as many different strains of good bacteria as possible.

Avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASUs). This vegetable extract made from avocado and soybean oils has been shown to counter the discomfort of osteoarthritis and improve joint function. Examples: Three trials—conducted by Lapeyronie Teaching Hospital, Montpellier, France, Erasmus University Hospital of Brussels, Belgium, and Hôpital Cochin, Paris, France—found that taking an ASU supplement daily for three to six months reduced joint pain and stiffness, as well as the need to take an analgesic. Another study out of France published in Annals of Rheumatic Diseases found that use of an ASU supplement for three years slowed the progression of joint damage. Dose: 300 mg a day. 

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