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Never Take This After Age 50, Warn Experts

Seven things to avoid taking after 50, according to experts. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Age matters when it comes to taking certain medications and supplements. According to the U.S. Drug and Food Administration "As you get older, body changes can affect the way medicines are absorbed and used. For example, changes in the digestive system can affect how fast medicines enter the bloodstream. Changes in body weight can influence the amount of medicine you need to take and how long it stays in your body. The circulatory system may slow down, which can affect how fast drugs get to the liver and kidneys. The liver and kidneys also may work more slowly, affecting the way a drug breaks down and is removed from the body." Knowing which medications and supplements to stay away from as we get older could make a big difference healthwise and experts reveal to us which ones to avoid and why. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.



assortment of red pills and capsules of iron supplements

Dr. Jeff Gladd, M.D., chief medical officer at Fullscript, and integrative medicine physician tells Eat This, Not That! Health, "Iron is a mineral found in many multivitamins formulated for women of reproductive age; however, iron supplementation is generally not necessary for postmenopausal women and women over 50. Once a woman enters her 50s and no longer menstruates, her iron requirements decline by nearly 45%. While iron plays an essential role in the formation of red blood cells, consuming excess iron can affect zinc absorption and contribute to unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

All of that being said, I find it necessary to test all patients' levels of total body iron to assess optimal status. While the likelihood of deficiency is lower in men as well as women over 50 years old, the intake from the diet and health of the digestive tract for absorption may still be playing a role in deficiency."


Licorice Root Supplement

Ayurvedic herb Liquorice root,Licorice root, Mulethi or Glycyrrhiza glabra root and its powder with its tea for detoxifying the body, soothing spasms, easing menstrual cramps, raising blood pressure.

Dr. Gladd explains, "High blood pressure (hypertension) affects nearly half of adults, and the risk of developing high blood pressure increases with age. Adults with high blood pressure should avoid taking licorice root, a popular herbal supplement often used to support adrenal gland function. 

Research shows that licorice root can elevate blood pressure and interact with blood pressure medications. Licorice root can also reduce potassium levels, an important mineral that helps regulate blood pressure.

Licorice is also used for digestive health, as it provides support for mild irritation of the digestive lining. This should always be in the deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) form. Removing glycyrrhizin ensures that the blood pressure-impacting part of the root is removed and is often safe to be taken by most. It is best to work with an integrative medicine provider who can make personal recommendations and help guide the risks and benefits of therapies as well as monitor their impact on one's health."


"Exercise Caution" Using B-Complex Vitamins


Dr. David Culpepper, MD and Clinical DIrector of LifeMD shares, "After 50, I would exercise caution when taking B-complex vitamins. Vitamin B3 (niacin) and Vitamin B9 (folate) in particular can build up and put a strain on your liver when it tries to flush the excess out of your bloodstream. As many people are concerned primarily about getting enough B12 because of its benefits to the brain and blood cells, I would suggest taking a B12 alone and skipping the B-complex."



arthtritis supplement

Dr. Culpepper says, "As far as medications, I would caution those over 50 against using the decongestant pseudoephedrine. This over the counter medication is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it narrows the blood vessels. This can cause an increase in blood pressure, which can be dangerous for those over 50, especially anyone at risk for heart disease."


Herbal Stimulants

woman taking supplements

Dr. Culpepper explains, "I would offer similar cautions against many herbal stimulants for those over 50. Many of these also cause vasoconstriction and the associated hypertension (high blood pressure). There are many herbal supplements in this category, but some of the common ones are ginkgo biloba, ginseng, Siberian ginseng, guarana, and gotu kola. Many of these are found in energy drinks and other products marketed for an energy boost. Always read the ingredients on such products, and keep in mind that a product touted for its energy boosting properties is likely to cause a boost in your blood pressure as well."


Don't Take Too Much Folic Acid

folic acid

Karin Ashley, an Integrative Women's Health Nurse Practitioner explains, "Folic acid is a synthetic version of folate, also known as vitamin B9. Folic acid, along with other vitamins, is added to a number of foods to fortify them. Supplementing folic acid in addition to the fortified foods can cause an imbalance in metabolism, leading to vitamin B12 deficiency. Older adults are more prone to vitamin B12 deficiency to begin with due to the natural decrease in stomach acid, which is needed to absorb nutrients from food. Risk of over-supplementation can be decreased by eating less foods (mainly breads and cereals) that have 'enriched flour' in the ingredient list."


Read the Label on Your Nutritional Shakes

protein OJ Smoothie

Ashley emphasizes, "It's really important for consumers, especially older adults, to read labels on nutritional supplements. … It is true that older adults may need to supplement protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals, but they should be selective about the source. Many supplement shakes have added artificial sweeteners like acesulfame K and aspartame, which have been associated with an increased risk of stroke and dementia, two things that older adults are at higher risk for. These sweeteners are also added to beverages and foods labeled 'diet' and 'low sugar,' so check those labels!" And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather