Healthy Aging: Are You Getting the Right Nutrients for Your Age?

Kenneth Knowles, MD
Medically reviewed by Kenneth Knowles, MDAugust 31st, 2021
Grandpa hugging child in kitchen

Healthy Aging: Are You Getting the Right Nutrients For Your Age?

Does your skin seem drier than usual? Are you noticing a paler complexion or brittle nails? Is your hair thinning, or are you noticing more grays? All of these issues are signs you may not be getting enough nutrients. Essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, and a variety of minerals and vitamins are all necessary to live a healthy life. If your body isn’t getting enough of these nutrients, it will often let you know via the health of your hair, skin, and nails.

If you’ve recently noticed the quality of your hair, skin, and nails deteriorating, you’re likely wondering where things went wrong. You’ve been eating and consuming nutrients the same way for years, so why is your body doing this now? The fact is that as you get older, your body’s nutritional needs will change. Your nutritional needs as a child will not be the same as when you hit your 30s, and your needs in your 30s will not be the same as when you move into your 50s and 60s. To help you figure out which nutrients you need and when you need them, here’s a breakdown according to age:

Infancy to Early Childhood

This stage requires more micronutrients and macronutrients than any other stage in human development. This is because the body is still undergoing a lot of rapid cell division as it continues to grow. This cell division heavily depends on sufficient energy, protein, and nutrients.


The average adult requires 25 to 30 calories per kilogram; however, a 4-kilogram (roughly 8-pound) baby requires more than 100 calories per kilogram. This caloric intake, necessary for producing energy, remains high throughout the early years of children. From the ages of 1 to 3 years old, children will require on average 83 calories per kilogram. Thereafter, energy requirements will decline in accordance with height, weight, and physical activity. A great source of energy for an infant is breastmilk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life. Afterward, breastfeeding should be continued as complementary foods are introduced. Breastfeeding can continue for 1 year or longer.


For older infants between 7 and 12 months of age, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is 11 grams per day. Children aged 1 to 3 years old are recommended about 13 grams per day of protein, Finally, children between 4 and 8 years old have an RDA of 0.95 19 grams per day of protein.

Essential Fatty Acids

Fatty acids play a key role in the central nervous system, and infants require more fatty acids on a per-kilogram basis than adults. However, it’s important to remember that saturated fats and trans fatty acids can inhibit pathways in the nervous system, therefore, it’s important that babies and children avoid foods that contain a predominance of those particular fats.

Adolescence to Adulthood

At adolescence (ages 10 to 19 years old), a greater intake of the following is often recommended:

  • Energy

  • Protein

  • Calcium

  • Phosphorus

  • Magnesium

Females in this age group are also recommended to up their zinc intake.


In early adulthood, from 19 to 50 years old, an increase in the intake of vitamins C, K, B1, B2, B3, and choline is recommended for men. Higher consumption of magnesium, zinc, chromium, and manganese are also recommended for men. For women in the same age group, higher intakes of iron are recommended. For both men and women between 51 and 70 years old, it’s suggested they up their intake of vitamins B6 and D.

70 and Up

Due to reductions in lean body mass, physical activity, and metabolic rate, less energy is required for individuals who are 70 years old or older. However, an increase in Vitamin D is recommended in order to reduce the chance of age-related bone loss and fracture.

At-Home Treatment for Nutrition Deficiency

If you’re worried you may be suffering from some form of nutritional deficiency, you should consult a doctor. This can be a challenge if you have difficulty leaving your home—which is where the experts at DispatchHealth come in. We pride ourselves on bringing affordable, in-home medical care to patients who otherwise would not be able to go out to the doctor’s office. To request in-home care, give us a call, use our app, or visit our website, and our fully equipped team of medical professionals will be at your home in just hours to give you the care that you need and to help treat your nutrition deficiency.

For life-threatening and time-sensitive injuries and illnesses, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. DispatchHealth shouldn’t be used in a life-threatening emergency and doesn’t replace a primary care provider.


The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.

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