Ask Gerda: How Do Nutritional Needs Change with Age?

Ask Gerda: How Do Nutritional Needs Change with Age?


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Supported by Science

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There’s sound science and published research supporting this concept.

Gerda Endemann

Gerda Endemann, our senior director of science and research, has a BS in nutrition from UC Berkeley, a PhD in nutritional biochemistry from MIT, and a passion for cherry-picking from our wellness shop. She spends a lot of her time interpreting research—established and emerging. You’ll find some of her deep dives into health conditions in our growing library of articles called goop PhD. You can send your own questions for Gerda to [email protected].

Dear goop, I’m in my forties, noticing some changes, and wondering if my nutritional needs are changing, too. Are there any nutritional hacks I should know about? —Drea

Hi, Drea. Yes, there are, because nutritional needs do change as we get older. Multiple body systems aren’t running quite as maintenance-free as they did in our twenties. We may be a little more tired. Our immune systems aren’t quite as efficient. Our hormone levels change. Our brains change: We are wiser and more knowledgeable but may lose a little processing speed. Our guts may not function perfectly anymore—perhaps antibiotics and alcohol have thrown them off-balance.

  1. Low energy levels might have a simple solution. If you menstruate, you lose iron every month, and this could be catching up with you over the years, especially if your periods have become heavier or if you don’t eat a lot of meat. You need iron for energy and strength. If you’re low in energy or just curious, ask your doctor to check your blood ferritin. goop’s high-quality, rigorously tested multivitamin protocol The Mother Load contains iron. Happily, it also contains calcium for your bones.*

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  2. Also crucial for energy and strength is vitamin B12. With aging, some people make less stomach acid, or we take antacids, which may result in our not absorbing as much vitamin B12 from foods. Stomach acid is often portrayed as undesirable, but it’s there for good reason—digesting and absorbing calcium, protein, and vitamin B12. This is particularly impactful for vegetarians, since their diets are naturally low in B12. The Mother Load has plenty of this vitamin, as do all of goop’s vitamin protocols. Or if you prefer, a daily capsule of B Famous can do the trick.*

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  3. The other vitamin to be aware of is D—for immunity and strong bones—since it’s made in our skin and production slows down in older skin. There’s not much vitamin D in food. And when we try to prevent aging of our skin by using sunblock, we block the rays needed for vitamin D production. The Nue Co.’s Vitamin D Spray is an easy solution to this conundrum.*

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  4. The immune system slows down as we age. It’s complex and depends on all nutrients, not just a few, so the best support is from a well-rounded whole-food diet. Key nutrients to look for include vitamins A, D, and C; niacinamide; and zinc. goop’s multivitamin protocol Balls in the Air—which is targeted at immunity—provides generous amounts of these. Niacinamide is also particularly valuable for maintaining healthy skin.*

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  5. Speaking of immunity, shaking up the (not so) exciting world of nutritional scientists, a reexamination of the data on vitamin C requirements came to a startling conclusion. The amount of vitamin C we need for collagen formation and for healthy tissues and scars looks to be higher than the daily forty-five milligrams recommended by the WHO. And the US RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of seventy-five to ninety milligrams may be borderline—especially if it’s not consumed every single day.*

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  6. The average age at menopause in the US is fifty-one, and it’s not abnormal to begin experiencing symptoms of perimenopause before age forty. Another of goop’s stellar multivitamin protocols, Madame Ovary, provides nutritional support for mild hot flashes, mood changes, and stress-related fatigue. I particularly appreciate that lutein and zeaxanthin are included for eye and skin benefits. Like goop’s other multivitamins, Madame Ovary contains plenty of B vitamins to support the production of neurotransmitters and energy. If you aren’t sure which of our vitamin protocols is right for you, check out this previous Ask Gerda column.*

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  7. Our poor guts deal with years of mistreatment: We take course after course of antibiotics, we don’t eat enough vegetables to feed our flora, and we drink too much alcohol. I know it’s confusing to choose from the many products targeted at gut support, so I much appreciated it when goop’s nutritional scientists formulated the Gut Microbiome Superpowder. It’s a powerful product that addresses multiple aspects of gut health with prebiotic food for gut flora, my favorite probiotic in a clinically validated dose, digestive enzymes, and glutamine to nourish intestinal cells. The powder is unflavored, simple to incorporate into a daily routine, and—like all our products–is manufactured in a facility using current good manufacturing practices (CGMP). You can read more about goop’s quality-control procedures and how to evaluate supplements in a previous Ask Gerda column.*

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  8. Even if you aren’t yet at an age where you’re thinking about your brain power, you may know someone who is. Scientists at MIT developed a unique form of magnesium, magnesium L-threonate, designed to support optimal levels of this mineral in the brain and, in turn, to support memory and cognition. Preclinical research and a clinical study demonstrated that participants had improved memory after taking this supplement for six weeks.*

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  9. And: Add a bit of chicness to organizing your daily routine with this sleek navy-blue pill box.

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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.

*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.



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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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