When it comes to taking certain drugs or supplements, age matters. According to the US Drug and Food Administration, “As you age, body changes may affect how medicines are absorbed and used. For example, alterations in the digestive system might impact how quickly medications enter the circulation. Changes in bodily weight can have an impact on how much medicine you should take and how long it will stay in your body. The circulatory system might slow down, which might influence how fast drugs reach the kidneys and liver. The kidneys and liver also may operate more slowly, delaying drug breakdown and removal from the body.” Experts show us which medicines and supplements to avoid as we age, warning us about the potential risks of taking them.
1 — Iron
Iron is a mineral that can be found in many multivitamins marketed to women of reproductive age. Iron supplementation, on the other hand, is rarely necessary for postmenopausal women and ladies over 50 who no longer menstruate. When a woman reaches her fifties and stops menstruating, her iron needs drop by nearly 45%. While iron is important for the formation of red blood cells, too much iron intake may impact zinc absorption and induce stomach problems such as constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort.
All of this said, I find it essential to check all patients’ iron levels in order to determine optimal status. While the risk of deficiency is lower in males and females over 50 years old, digestion-related absorption may still be a factor in some cases.
2 — Licorice Root Supplement
According to Dr. Gladd, “High blood pressure affects about half of the population and raises the risk of developing higher blood pressure with age. Adults who have high blood pressure should avoid consuming licorice root, which is a popular herbal supplement that is commonly used to assist adrenal gland function.”
Licorice root, according to studies, might raise blood pressure and interact with existing drugs. Licorice root can also decrease potassium levels, a vital mineral that helps control blood pressure.
“In addition to its benefits on blood sugar control and cholesterol, licorice is beneficial for digestive health because it promotes mild irritation of the digestive lining. Licorice should always be obtained in the form of deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). Removing glycyrrhizin will ensure that the blood pressure-affecting portion of the root is eliminated, and it is frequently safe to take. It’s best to consult with an integrative medicine practitioner who can provide personalized suggestions and help you evaluate risks and benefits of treatments as well as track their effect on your health.”
3 — “Exercise Caution” when Using B-Complex Vitamins
“After 50, I’d be more cautious about taking B-complex vitamins,” says Dr. David Culpepper, MD, and LifeMD’s Clinical Director. When your body tries to get rid of extra fluid by flushing it out through your bloodstream, niacin (vitamin B3) and folate (vitamin B9) in particular can cause problems for the liver. Since many individuals are concerned with only getting enough B12 since it is so beneficial to the blood cells and brain, I suggest taking a vitamin B12 pill alone rather than a combination vitamin.
4 — Pseudoephedrine
“As far as medications, I would advise those over 50 against taking decongestant pseudoephedrine,” says Dr. Culpepper. This over-the-counter treatment is a vasoconstrictor, which means it narrows blood vessels. This might cause increased blood pressure, which can be hazardous for people over 50, especially individuals who have heart disease risk.