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Dietary Supplement Use in Older Adults

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Dietary supplement (DS) use among older adults in the USA is prevalent, and thus, healthcare professionals need to be aware of how to best advise this population. The purpose of this review is to highlight key considerations for assessing the potential benefits and risks of supplementation and for evaluating the quality, safety, and efficacy of supplement use specific to older adults.

Recent Findings

Nutrient deficiencies and risk of malnutrition among older adults can result from decreased appetite with aging, poor dietary intake, and nutrient depletions from medications (among many other factors). Nutrient deficiencies are common in this population and could have a negative impact on neurological and cardiovascular health, mood, immune function, vision, blood sugar control, and bone strength. In certain circumstances, older adults may benefit from supplementation. However, risk of choking and concomitant use of DS and prescription medications (which can increase risk of drug-nutrient interactions) are concerns with supplementation.

Summary

Decision-making around appropriateness of supplementation for older adults should be determined by nutrition screening and based on individual need. Healthcare providers, especially registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), should work with patients to identify quality products and benefits/risks of supplement use.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Correspondence to Stephanie R. Harris.

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Stephanie R. Harris, Kelly Morrow, Brigid Titgemeier, and Dana Goldberg declare they have no conflict of interest.

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Harris, S.R., Morrow, K., Titgemeier, B. et al. Dietary Supplement Use in Older Adults. Curr Nutr Rep 6, 122–133 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13668-017-0198-6

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Keywords

  • Dietary supplements
  • Older adults
  • Quality, safety, efficacy, multivitamin multimineral
  • Drug-nutrient interaction