Even with your best efforts to eat well, get plenty of exercise and minimize stress, your body faces changes as you age. From dips in biochemical processes to changes in sleeping patterns, your 50s may bring new wellness challenges, but focused nutrition can help.
Key nutrients can help you fight back against the effects of aging, and nutritional advancements are being made every day! The right supplements can help support your immune system, fill nutritional gaps in your diet, boost energy, support cardiovascular health, sexual health and more.
Getting older may be a part of life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look at feel your best while you do it. Here are our top 10 picks in vitamins & supplements for men over 50.
1. Magnesium for Mind & Body Wellness
Magnesium may be the most critical mineral of them all. It’s involved in hundreds of biochemical processes throughout your body—from energy production to blood pressure and bone development.1 Magnesium is also essential for transporting calcium and potassium across cell membranes, which is vital for the healthy functioning of nerves, muscles and the heart.1
If you eat a lot of fresh produce, you will get some magnesium in your diet. But researchers say magnesium deficiency in our plants is becoming more common because of magnesium depleted soils.2 As a result, about two-thirds of people in developed countries don’t get enough magnesium from their diets.2
Also, when we are stressed or anxious, our cells waste magnesium, which is a compounding problem because low magnesium levels can make you feel even more stressed and anxious!3,4
Getting adequate magnesium may also help you sleep better by encouraging the healthy functioning of GABA receptors, which help your mind stop racing and “shut off” at night so you can get the rest you need.5
Make sure you get enough magnesium in your diet with a highly-bioavailable, chelated magnesium supplement, or try our new Mellow Mag, a delicious magnesium drink that helps you relax and unwind while replenishing your body’s magnesium stores.
2. Vitamin D for Calcium Absorption & More
This “sunshine vitamin” should be on every top supplements list. Research continuously shows its broad application for human health, yet most Americans don’t get enough of this nutrient either.6 Plus, older people are at an even higher risk of developing vitamin D insufficiencies because aging skin doesn’t synthesize vitamin D efficiently, plus older adults tend to spend more time indoors.7
Vitamin D is necessary to help us absorb calcium, and it supports immune function, modulation of cellular growth and more.7 Without sufficient levels of vitamin D, we have a limited ability to absorb calcium, so the body may start taking calcium from stores within our skeletal system, leading to weaker bones.8
Keep your vitamin D and calcium levels up with a combined vitamin D3 and calcium supplement. Experts say vitamin D3 may be twice as effective as other vitamin D supplements for boosting vitamin D levels.9
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Heart & Brain Health
The omega-3 fatty acids—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—found in fish oil are most well known for promoting heart and brain health, but the benefits of omega-3s don’t stop there.10
Omega-3 fatty acids support many areas of health. So many, in fact, that European researchers estimate that nearly 16 billion dollars (or €12.9) in medical costs could be saved if everyone over 55 took an omega-3 fatty acid supplement.11
In addition to heart and brain health, omega-3 fatty acids support healthy eyes, joints, bones, and skin, plus it may help you sleep better and have a more positive mood.10
If fatty fish like salmon and mackerel aren’t regulars on your dinner plate, it's safe to assume an omega-3 supplement could be beneficial. Try it in Swanson Krill Oil, Fish Oil or our award-winning Plant Based Omega-3 supplement, which won the 2018 Omega-3 Product of the Year award from NutraIngredients USA. And learn about the key differences between krill oil and fish oil in the article Krill Oil Vs. Fish Oil: Which Has More Benefits?
4. Vitamin B12 for Energy & Cognitive Health
As we age, digestive changes make it more challenging for the body to absorb and utilize Vitamin B12 from food sources.12 Why is that significant? Vitamin B-12 does a lot to keep our bodies healthy and energized, from supporting cardiovascular health and healthy nerve cells to playing a role in metabolism, blood cell production and more.12 But there’s one area in particular that vitamin B12 levels may affect age as we age—cognitive health.13
Even a mild deficiency in vitamin B12 has been linked to a higher risk of cognitive health issues with age.13 Vitamin B12 is essential for optimal brain function. And because of the body’s decreased ability to absorb naturally-occurring vitamin B12 from our food as we age, experts say that most adults over 50 should take a vitamin B12 supplement or eat fortified foods to get their daily fill.12
The rest of the B-complex vitamins are important for optimal health too! Learn about the full B-complex family of vitamins in the post Your Complete Guide to B Vitamins.
5. Probiotics for Digestive & Immune Health
Speaking of changes in digestion, did you know the health of your gastrointestinal tract is closely linked to your overall wellbeing? Most of your immune system is in your gut, and the digestive process provides the building blocks for vitality, starting with nutrient absorption.14,15 So, keeping your body healthy as you age also means cultivating a healthy gut microbiome, and probiotics can help you do just that.
You’ve most likely heard of probiotics before but you may only relate them to yogurt. While it’s true that some types of yogurt contain probiotics, not all of them do, and you can get higher quality, targeted probiotic support from multiple strains within superior probiotic supplements like Lee Swanson Signature Line Ultimate Probiotic Formula.
Also, check out Trust Your Gut Health: Build a Healthier Gut with Probiotics and Translating the Language of Probiotics to learn about the many unique probiotic strains and their benefits.
6. Amino Acids for Muscles & Much More
Do you think amino acids are just for bodybuilders or fitness buffs? No way! Amino acids are essential building blocks for healthy bodies.16 Our cells, muscles and tissues need them to stay healthy and they’re involved in producing neurotransmitters that boost mind and body wellbeing.16
One important role amino acids may play is to support your body’s production of growth hormone, which, as you might have guessed, declines with age.17 That decline is associated with changes in body composition, including lean body mass, muscle strength and body fat.17
Our favorite amino acid supplements for men over 50 include arginine, ornithine and glutamine.
Swanson Ultra Arginine AKG
This maximum-strength L-arginine supplement supports muscle recovery and energy, plus healthy blood flow for optimal delivery of oxygen and nutrients to cells.
Swanson Premium L-Ornithine Amino Acid
Free-form amino acid L-ornithine is a key player in the urea cycle and helps eliminate excess nitrogen from the body.
Swanson Premium Glutamine
This amino acid supplement has a unique ability to pass through the blood/brain barrier and helps keep your mind sharp while also providing fuel for healthy muscles.
7. CoQ10 for Heart Health & Energy
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a critically-important nutrient for heart health and cellular energy.18,19 Your body produces some of it naturally, but production declines steadily with age.18,19 Low levels of CoQ10 have been linked to cardiovascular concerns, so adding a CoQ10 to your wellness routine in your 50s, or even earlier, is a good idea to help promote optimal health.19 CoQ10 is also a popular supplement for people taking statins because CoQ10 may help reduce the muscle-related effects of statins.19
There are two types of CoQ10 supplements—ubiquinol and ubiquinone. Ubiquinol is the active form of CoQ10 that your body uses, but your body converts ubiquinone into ubiquinol.19 Another CoQ10 factor related to aging is that your body may also lose its ability to make that conversion as you age, so experts say older people may benefit more from taking ubiquinol supplements.18,19
8. Joint Care Supplements
What do you miss most from your younger years? If agility, flexibility and relatively comfortable joints are at the top of your list, you have options! Joint care supplements are great for helping you maintain your level of physical activity with as little distraction or slowing down as possible. They can also be helpful for giving your body the nutrition it needs to stay ahead of future joint health concerns.
Swanson Pure Science Herbals Pure Joint Formula is at the top of our list of joint care supplements. It’s an innovative herbal blend with clinically studied ingredients that have been shown to provide results for joints in as few as 7 days!20
A combination formula of glucosamine and chondroitin is also a great option for promoting mobility and supporting healthy connective tissues.21 Even if your joints still feel great now, you may benefit from adding glucosamine to your routine to help slow the natural breakdown of cartilage that happens as we age.21
Learn more about these supplements in Why Choose Condition Specific Herbs for Energy, Joint, Heart and Brain Health? and Glucosamine Benefits for Joint Health & Beyond.
9. Saw Palmetto for Prostate Support
Gentlemen, it’s no secret your prostate requires attention as you age. Your prostate naturally grows as you get older, and it may start to put pressure on your bladder, which in turn may affect urination.22 What can you do to help support prostate health as you age? Try saw palmetto, a potent herb and the most commonly consumed supplement for supporting testosterone levels and prostate health.23,24
Saw palmetto is a natural source of fatty acids and plant sterols for promoting a healthy prostate, healthy urinary tract flow and frequency, and it may help maintain hormonal balance.24 Try it in Swanson Premium Saw Palmetto.
10. Alpha Lipoic Acid
Help keep yourself feeling young, vibrant and healthy by getting more daily alpha lipid acid (ALA). ALA is an antioxidant fatty acid produced naturally in the body and found in certain foods such as red meat, liver, brewer's yeast and in smaller amounts in some fruits and vegetables.25 It is sometimes referred to as the “universal antioxidant” because ALA is soluble in both water and fat.26
Researchers say the typical Western diet doesn’t contain enough ALA, making ALA supplements our primary source.25 As a supplement, research shows that ALA helps regenerate other antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione, and may help promote everything from heart and liver health to energy metabolism and healthy skin—all keys to aging gracefully (and healthfully).25 Researchers have also studied ALA for its potential to help support healthy nerves, weight, vision, and more.26
Support your health and wellbeing with a superior source of ALA from Swanson Ultra R-Fraction Alpha Lipoic Acid - Double Strength, an innovative ALA formula featuring a 50-50 racemic blend of R and S isomers to give you alpha lipoid acid’s benefits with increased supplement stability.
Wellness for Men Over 50
Complete nutrition is important at every age, and that includes eating a diet focused on real foods, getting plenty of exercise, and taking a Real Food Multivitamin for Men to fill in your nutritional gaps and support prostate health. But since health and wellness needs change during every life-enriching decade, it’s important to stay tuned to what your body needs as it ages and explore specific nutrients, like those listed above, that provide support for a healthier future.
1 Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/ (Accessed 07/11/2018)
2 Magnesium deficiency in plants: An urgent problem. ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221451411500121X (07/17/2018)
3 Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201106/magnesium-and-the-brain-the-original-chill-pill (07/17/2018)
4 Association between magnesium intake and depression and anxiety in community-dwelling adults: the Hordaland Health Study. PubMed https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19085527 (Accessed 2/15/2018)
5 The Magnesium Miracle (Second Edition). Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. Published 8-15-2017. https://books.google.com/books?id=2lBcDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA412 (07/17/2018)
6 Vitamin D deficiency soars in the U.S., study says. Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/vitamin-d-deficiency-united-states/ (Accessed 07/11/2018)
7 Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/ (Accessed 07/11/2018)
8 Calcium & Vitamin D: Important at Every Age. National Institutes of Health. https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/nutrition/calcium-and-vitamin-d-important-every-age (Accessed 07/11/2018)
9 Anderson, David. (2017). Time to Change Vitamin D Guidelines? William Reed Business Media.https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2017/07/06/Time-to-change-vitamin-D-guidelines (Accessed 3/7/2018)
10 17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3 (Accessed 07/12/2018)
11 Omega-3 supplementation could save EU 12.6bn a year in heart disease spending. NutraIngredients. https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2016/05/10/Omega-3-supplements-could-save-EU-billions-in-heart-disease-spending (Accessed 07/11/2018)
12 Supplements to Take in Your 50s, 60s and 70s. AARP. https://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-2015/must-have-supplements.html (Accessed 07/12/2018)
13 Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/ (Accessed 07/12/2018)
14 Probiotics help as 80% of Immune System in your GI Tract. Institute of Health Sciences. https://instituteofhealthsciences.com/probiotics-help-immune-system-in-your-gi-tract/ (07/17/2018)
15 Your Gut Feeling: A Healthier Digestive System Means a Healthier You. NYU Langone Health. https://med.nyu.edu/medicine/gastro/about-us/gastroenterology-news-archive/your-gut-feeling-healthier-digestive-system-means-healthier (07/17/2018)
16 The Amino Revolution. Robert Erdman, PH.D. & Meirion Jones. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=9fTu0wQAzs0C (07/17/2018)
17 Growth Hormone in Aging. National Center for Biotechnology Information.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279163/ (07/17/2018)
18 Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3178961/ (Accessed 03/20/2018)
19 CoQ10: What are the Heart Health Benefits? Cleveland HeartLab http://www.clevelandheartlab.com/blog/horizons-coq10-what-are-the-heart-health-benefits/ (Accessed 03/20/2018)
20 A combination of Scutellaria baicalensis and Acacia catechu extracts for short-term symptomatic relief of joint discomfort associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Journal of Medicinal Food. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/JMF.2013.0010 (Accessed 02/09/2018)
21 Effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate on Cartilage Metabolism in OA: Outlook on Other Nutrient Partners Especially Omega-3 Fatty Acids. International Journal of Rheumatology. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2011/969012/
22 Why the prostate grows with age. Clinical Advisor May 2009 Issue. https://www.clinicaladvisor.com/advisor-forum/why-the-prostate-grows-with-age/article/136874/ (07/17/2018)
23 Fatty Acid and Phytosterol Content of Commercial Saw Palmetto Supplements. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3798925/ (07/17/2018)
24 Saw palmetto: Uses, dosage, and side effects. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318782.php (07/17/2018)
25 Alpha-lipoic acid as a dietary supplement: Molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2756298/ (07/17/2018)
26 Alpha Lipoic Acid. University of Michigan Medicine. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2799001 (07/17/2018)
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.