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Surprising Side Effects of Taking Multivitamins After 50, Say Experts

There are both benefits and risks when it comes to taking multivitamins as you age.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

It has been proven that as you age, you often consume fewer necessary vitamins and nutrients. This has to do with a change in how your body absorbs nutrients, as well as a common change in appetite.

The good news is that supplements are a simple way to gain back some of the nutrients you might be deficient in, and multivitamins can help you consume a handful of different nutrients in just one sitting.

And although multivitamins have been shown to help decrease your risk for age-related chronic diseases, it's important to be aware of some of the potential side effects of taking them, especially after the age of 50. Read on to learn more about these side effects, and then don't miss these Side Effects of Taking Anti-Aging Supplements After 50, Say Experts.

It will provide you with the nutrients you may be deficient in


As you age, your body's ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients naturally changes, which is why multivitamins can sometimes help supplement the ones you may need.

"Women are at a greater risk of deficiency for vitamins B6, B12, and D as they age, which are nutrients commonly found in multivitamins," says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and member of our expert medical board.

Another issue that people may face as they age is a decrease in appetite. "Losing your appetite long term can contribute to not taking in enough nutrients," says Goodson, "and multivitamins can help ensure individuals are meeting their micronutrient needs when their diet might be lacking."

They may interact with some medications

white pills
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Although multivitamins can provide helpful nutrients for those who may be experiencing some deficiencies, it is also important to make sure that your multivitamin isn't interfering with other medications you're taking.

"Some medications interact with certain vitamins and minerals," says Goodson, "so those over 50 on medication should consult with their doctor before starting to take multivitamins or any supplements to ensure safety and no negative interactions."

may experience constipation


According to Megan Wong, RD at AlgaeCal, older adults are more prone to constipation because of things like decreased fluid intake and certain medications that cause constipation and other digestive issues as a side effect.

"Two common nutrients found in multivitamins are iron and calcium, which have been known to cause constipation," says Wong, "so check to make sure your multivitamin isn't bringing you above the daily recommended intake (about 8 milligrams of iron per day for adults over 50, and 1,000 milligrams of calcium)."

To help avoid constipation with calcium intake, "you can check to make sure your multivitamin provides adequate amounts of vitamin D3, magnesium, and vitamin K2 to help your body properly absorb and use the calcium," says Wong.

You may have more energy

vitamins in store

"Multivitamins can also provide the individual over 50 with a source of B vitamins to enhance energy and mood, as well as curb fatigue throughout the day," says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements.

According to Harvard Health, people who are experiencing a deficiency in B vitamins will feel a powerful energy boost after they start taking a supplement because of the way these vitamins can help your body create healthier cells in your blood.

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha