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7 Best Supplements to Take If You're Over 60, Doctor Says

Here's what one Yale-trained doctor recommends.

As you get older, the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle tend to come into sharper focus. Things like maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, or quitting smoking—perhaps once on the back burner—become top of mind. For some people, this newfound focus on health also involves taking supplements to fill in nutritional gaps or stave off deficiencies.

Florence Comite, MD, an innovator in precision medicine with multiple specialties in endocrinology and founder of the Comite Center for Precision Medicine & Healthy Longevity, notes that a doctor can help you determine which supplements are right for your particular needs.

"Before I recommend supplements or medications to my clients, I consider their family health history, personal medical history, lifestyle habits, and an in-depth review of their biomarkers through blood tests that will specify deficiencies in vitamins and minerals," says Comite, a graduate and former faculty member at Yale School of Medicine. "There are, however, a number of supplements that most everyone, including those over 60, can benefit from."

Wondering which supplements the veteran doctor most frequently recommends for seniors? These are the seven best supplements to take if you're over 60, Comite says.

RELATED: 12 Supplements You Should Never Take Together, Medical Experts Say.

Vitamin D

Close up of a person's hands holding omega-3 fish oil nutritional supplement and glass of water

Getting adequate levels of vitamin D is crucial for your bone, muscle, nerve, and brain health. It also supports immune system function, helping to protect us from infections and chronic illness. According to Columbia University Medical Center, this includes cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, diabetes, and dementia.

Comite says that's why she regularly recommends a vitamin D supplement to "the vast majority" of her patients.

"Most adults are deficient in vitamin D because it is difficult, if not impossible, to absorb enough through food and sun exposure," she tells Best Life. "I've seen a lot of people who are low on vitamin D because they're not eating much dairy. They are erroneously concerned about a high fat content in dairy foods."

The endocrinologist explains that there are two key types of vitamin D and that your doctor can help you determine which is best for you.

"Vitamin D₃ (cholecalciferol) can be purchased over the counter. Vitamin D₂ (ergocalciferol), which requires a prescription, is often given to people who have trouble absorbing D₃," she explains, noting that 20 percent of the population has a genetic variant that requires prescription Vitamin D₂ to metabolize to D in the body.

RELATED: 21 Surprising Signs You Have a Vitamin Deficiency.

Vitamin K2

A closeup of someone taking two vitamin capsules into their palm from a white bottle

Vitamin K2, found in animal products and fermented foods, has a protective effect on your bone, tooth, and heart health. That's because the vitamin helps your body optimally metabolize calcium, redirecting it away from the heart where it can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease toward the body parts such as bones and teeth, which can put it to productive use.

"I prescribe vitamin K2 along with vitamin D to direct calcium to the bones and inhibit D from being deposited on arterial walls. K2 activates a protein that helps calcium bind to and strengthen bones," explains Comite.

Protein supplements

Closeup of a Woman scooping Protein Powder into Shaker
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Over the age of 30, both men and women experience a drop in the hormone testosterone, Comite says. This can drive a loss of muscle mass as you age, which can in turn put you at increased risk of chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, she notes.

For this reason, Comite recommends taking protein supplements or powders, which can help prevent age-related loss of muscle mass.

"Adults over 60 may have increased protein needs to support muscle maintenance and repair, as well as overall health. Protein intake can help prevent muscle loss associated with aging (sarcopenia) and support healthy aging," she tells Best Life.

The doctor also shares that she incorporates ample protein into her own diet. "I start every meal with a source of protein, such as nuts, cottage cheese, and yogurt, and add protein powder to my breakfast smoothie every morning," she says. "As a supplement, the easiest way to boost protein intake is with a protein powder that can be added to yogurt or mixed into a smoothie."

RELATED: 5 Best Anti-Aging Supplements, According to a Doctor.

Omega-3s (fish oil)

omega 3 fish oil supplements in a clear bowl next to a display of nuts, avocado, and salmon, all on a wood background

Next, Comite says you should consider adding Omega-3 fatty acids, or fish oil supplements, to your regimen. "I recommend supplementing with Omega-3 fatty acids to almost every client because of their proven heart health and brain health benefits," she says.

"Omega-3s help lower triglycerides and reduce the inflammation in blood vessels that contributes to the development of atherosclerosis," she adds, referring to a buildup of plaque in the artery walls.

If you don't like fish oil supplements or cannot tolerate them, you may have better luck with the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the doctor says. She notes that this is found abundantly in walnuts but also comes in supplement form.

Methylated B vitamins

A happy mature woman with short white hair wearing a gray long-sleeved shirt takes a vitamin with a glass of water
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According to a 2018 study on B vitamins and aging, seniors taking vitamin B supplements may see benefits in their overall health and well-being, including improved energy metabolism, synthesis and DNA repair, and proper immune function.

"Deficiency in B vitamins has been linked to neurocognitive disorders, mitochondrial dysfunction, immune dysfunction and inflammatory conditions," the study authors explain.

"In aging populations, B vitamin deficiency has been linked to cardiovascular disorders, cognitive dysfunction, osteoporosis and methylation disorders and can increase the risk of developing degenerative diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease, cognitive diseases and osteoporosis," the researchers write.

Comite says there are eight B vitamins, and they all have essential roles in metabolism. In particular, she recommends taking methylated B vitamins, which are more bioavailable.

"Many people have a gene variant that makes it difficult to absorb B12 and should supplement with methylated B12," she says. "Also, methylated B vitamins are more effective at lowering levels of an amino acid called homocysteine, which can damage the lining of your arteries."

RELATED: The Best and Worst Supplements for Heart Health, Doctors Say.


Closeup of a woman in a denim shirt with white supplements or vitamins in her hand

Many people over 60 will also benefit from taking a magnesium supplement, Comite tells Best Life.

"Magnesium is involved in many physiological processes, including glucose metabolism. Some studies have indicated a potential association between magnesium intake and improved insulin sensitivity," she explains. "Magnesium impacts all the enzymes that activate vitamin D in the liver and kidneys, the researchers say."

Though the doctor says that magnesium deficiency is not a widespread problem, diabetics and people who drink a lot of alcohol tend to be lacking in this important mineral.

Low-dose aspirin


closeup of a senior person's hands taking two aspirin from the bottle

Finally, Comite recommends that people over the age of 60 ask their doctors about taking a low daily dose of aspirin. "Although it is not a dietary supplement, I recommend it to my clients because it can be effective in preventing a heart attack or stroke," she says.

The Cleveland Clinic notes that it's important not to stop or start an aspirin regimen without first speaking with your doctor.

"One baby aspirin per day (81 milligrams) is enough to help prevent heart attack or stroke," their experts write. "Higher doses will increase your risk of bleeding. If you do not have many risk factors for heart disease, are older, or have a high risk of life-threatening bleeding, then aspirin therapy may not be right for you."

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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