The Unique Vitamin Needs of African Americans over age 50

Because of the increased number of diseases in African Americans over age 50, there are a number of critical vitamin and mineral deficiencies that may be contributing to the increased disease and the premature deaths that we see. 

As we age, our bodies need more attention, as well as compensation for, in some cases, the many years of neglect. Data shows that the older generation, those over age 50, didn’t exercise as much as the younger generations and currently still fall short with much less activity.  The older generation was also much less likely to take vitamin and mineral supplements when they were younger. This means any deficiencies we see have been present for many years.

If You Have High Blood Pressure, You Need More Vitamin D and More

Three out of four Black Americans at age 55 have high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is associated with vitamin D deficiency, magnesium deficiency, and potassium shortages.  Untreated high blood pressure leads to heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure leading to dialysis. All of which are HIGHEST among African Americans.

As we age, any vitamin or mineral deficiencies we have become more critical.  Because older African Americans tend to live in urban areas, they get much less sun.  This effect, coupled with lactose intolerance (not tolerating milk), makes vitamin D deficiency a fact of life.  A majority of Black Americans have vitamin D deficiency, and the lack of vitamin D is even more important in African Americans over 50. 

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Four of five Black Americans have insufficient vitamin D levels and low vitamin D is associated with:

Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with a higher risk for depression and schizophrenia

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African Americans Need More Zinc

Zinc deficiency has been linked to poor immune function (fighting infections), including the increased rate of HIV, COVID-19, the common cold, and more.  Older individuals tend to eat diets less fortified with zinc and are more likely to get an infection that results in hospitalization and/or death. 

Zinc also improves the health of your skin and is critical in a number of essential bodily processes.

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Up All Night Urinating?

For older African American men, zinc deficiency is linked to prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. Many of my Black male patients report getting up multiple times a night in order to urinate. This is most likely related to an enlarged prostate blocking the complete emptying of your urinary bladder.  Since you cannot fully empty your bladder, and your body is continuing to make urine, you have to wake up multiple times a night in order to not to feel full. Not having enough zinc has been linked to prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. These prostate problems occur more in Black men.

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But don’t go crazy because too much zinc can cause trouble too! You need just the right amount to help and not too much to hurt.

Black Men Should Avoid Calcium

Calcium is an important mineral for strong bones, but for older African American men, it could increase their risk for prostate cancer. Yes, several studies have confirmed this link between calcium and prostate cancer and Black men have the HIGHEST risk for this cancer as well as the highest death rate. Another study from the University of North Texas showed that while Blacks consume less calcium overall than Whites, those that did take added calcium (alone or in a multivitamin) had a four-times increased risk for death from prostate cancer. Does your current multivitamin have any calcium in it? Read the label.

Beware of Interactions with Your Current Medications

Older African Americans are also more likely to take prescribed medications, so being aware of interactions is very important. Anything can react and interact with your prescribed medications, so it is always important to confirm the safety of a supplement with your physician. NEVER stop your medicine in the hope that a supplement is going to be better . . . that is almost never the case. Simply inform your doctor of what you are taking (bring the bottle with you) and confirm that it is safe.

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for Over 50

Important Points:

  • If you are Black and live in or near the city, you likely have vitamin D deficiency. That deficiency puts you are greater risk for a host of health problems. African Americans need 2000 IU of vitamin D daily just to maintain a normal vitamin D.
  • Zinc is an essential mineral and helps a number of health problems and bodily functions.  Too many older African Americans don’t get enough zinc in their diet.
  • Calcium intake is related to increased prostate cancer, so older Black men should actively avoid calcium supplements as well as regular milk and dairy consumption.
  • Never stop a physician-prescribed medication and start a supplement in the hope that it will work better or is safer . . . that is usually not true. Always consult your primary care doctor before making any changes like this!! And if you don’t have a primary care doctor, please find one. 

Vitamin D Deficiency is Associated with Stroke Risk in African Americans

Recent studies have found a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and stroke risk as well as stroke severity. A study just published found that people with the highest vitamin D levels had fewer strokes and if they had a stroke, it was less severe.  People with low vitamin D levels had more strokes with more severe symptoms. 

As you know, we get most of our vitamin D from the sun, but urban living, colder/cloudy weather, and lactose intolerance (so we can’t drink “Vitamin D Milk”) have all resulted in wide-spread African American vitamin D deficiency.

African Americans Have Low Vitamin D Levels

Four of five African Americans have low levels of vitamin D, and we also have the highest rates of heart attack, stroke, and circulation problems. Risk factors for low vitamin D levels include older age, darker complexion, obesity, and limited sun exposure.

Studies have shown that hemorrhagic stroke patients (those strokes caused by a bleed rather than a blood clot) often suffer from low vitamin D levels. Another study suggested that putting stroke victims on vitamin D helped their recovery somewhat.

Biologically, vitamin D reduces total cholesterol and fat in blood as well as improves inflammation which helps your blood vessels stay healthy.

A Direct Effect Has Not Been Shown

To be clear, there has yet to be a study that showed taking a vitamin D supplement led to fewer strokes. These research studies are only able to find correlations and from these associations, they “suppose” that raising your vitamin D level will lead to better health.  Some researchers believe that poor health leads to low vitamin D levels and that is the reason sicker people have low vitamin D. 

Vitamin D levels have been positively associated with improved cardiovascular health, especially with reduction of stroke risk. Until the controversy is settled, everyone agrees that leaving a low vitamin D alone is not a reasonable option. 

Vitamin D is best increased through natural means . . .  sun exposure, a healthy diet, etc. Foods high in vitamin D include salmon, herring/sardines, cod liver oil, tuna, mushrooms, and fortified beverages (milk, orange juice, and cereal).

Good Vitamin D Levels Help in COVID Patients

Another study looked at COVID patients and vitamin D deficiency and found COVD illness directly related to vitamin D level.  COVID-19 is greatly associated with increased stroke and heart attacks so having a normal vitamin D level was somewhat protective against severe COVID disease.  Obviously the absolute best way to avoid COVID-19 is through getting an approved vaccination.

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans have a science-based formula to best replace deficiencies in the Black community. Go to for more information on the multivitamin that is best for you.

Multivitamins May Help African Americans Avoid Alzheimer’s Dementia

A new study is showing benefit from taking a multivitamin once a day in slowing the progression of dementia in older individuals.  It has long been known that vitamin D deficiency is directly linked to Alzheimer’s Dementia and African Americans have the highest rate of vitamin D deficiency as well as Alzheimer’s Disease and some have called it a “silent epidemic.”

Research suggests that Alzheimer’s disease may be two to three times higher in older African Americans when compared to Whites. Studies also show that the disease progresses much more slowly in African Americans and people with it live significantly longer.  These curious facts lead doctors to think that the cause for the mental decline may be different.

Alzheimer’s occurs in African Americans at a comparatively younger age and robs too many older adults of their independence, dignity, and resources.  It has been linked to hypertension (high blood pressure), depression, diabetes, smoking, and some genetic factors.  In fact, the risk for Alzheimer’s Disease is 44 percent higher if you have a close relative with dementia.

There are also studies that show a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables, taking cholesterol-lowering medicine, and high social engagement may help ward off dementia.  A Mayo Clinic article addresses the connection between vitamin deficiency and dementia and given the widespread deficiencies we see in the Black community, there is certainly no harm in taking the right amount of vitamin D. 

The article also outlines that the National Institutes of Health recommends adults age 70 and younger need 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily, and adults over age 70 need 800 IU daily.  These recommendations are too low for African Americans who need much higher doses to achieve normal vitamin D levels.

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans contains a much higher amount of vitamin D more closely aligned with what the Black community needs. Sequence also replaces deficiencies in vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and zinc that are widespread in the Black community.  Go to or purchase the multivitamin for men over 50 at Amazon or the women over 50 on Amazon here.

Displaced: Why African Americans Need Their Own Multivitamin.

As descendants from Africa, African Americans were genetically conditioned to best survive in a hot, sunny, mineral rich land.  The continent of Africa is known for its fertile land and renowned as the “richest continent in the world” in terms of natural resources. The days are sunny and generally consistent in length throughout the year.  Living in a mineral rich land, your body adjusts its absorption of vitamins and minerals according to it’s exposure in the environment.  In Africans, their absorption is blunted because the environment is so fertile with sun, nutrients and minerals. When relocated to North America, with its variable daylight, urban dynamics, and processed food and water, African Americans are now displaced from the environment that their system was best designed to thrive.

Low Vitamin D and Increased Health Problems

With vitamin D generally coming from the sun, the shift from Africa to North America was dramatic . . . and so was the drop in vitamin D in Black Americans.  Low vitamin D has been linked to more severe COVID illnesses, increased diabetes (type 2), increased prostate cancer, increased colon cancer, worsened asthma, and more.  The graph below from a study done at the University of California at Berkeley shows significantly higher vitamin D levels in both men and women in Africa and Jamaica that are consistent with those of white Americans . . . whereas the levels in Chicago Blacks were much lower.

Low vitamin D levels in African Americans
Vitamin D levels in people of African ancestry living in 4 cities compared to white Americans

Blacks in America need vitamin D supplementation to offset the significantly decreased vitamin D we get from the diminished sun in North American cities. It is proposed that the added vitamin D will help to offset some of the worsened diseases we see in African Americans.


Africa has also been known to have high zinc reserves. In fact in some mining areas in African, the mineral content of “heavy metals” in the water was too high.  From a biological perspective, the people living in these high mineral content areas needed to develop a way of decreasing their absorption of too much minerals, including zinc.  In a study done looking at prostate cancer tissue in Black Americans versus whites, researchers found significant fewer zinc absorption (“transport”) channels in the prostates with the more aggressive cancer, and this decreased zinc transport occurred much more often in African Americans than whites.  Overall, zinc has the highest concentration in the body in the prostate, and scientists report that the high zinc in the prostate acts to suppress tumor formation.  The graph below shows the higher prostate cancer incidence in green as well as the higher mortality (red) by race/ethnicity.

Increased prostate cancer in Black American men
Prostate Cancer Incidence & Mortality

African American men should take zinc daily.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has long been known to benefit a number of health conditions including boosting immunity (your ability to fight infections), slowing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), decreasing gout attacks through lowering uric acid levels, as well as improving lead clearance from the body.  Taking vitamin C on a daily basis either in the form of high vitamin C foods or supplements is highly recommended.

Avoid Vitamin K

Increased blood clotting in African Americans
A blood clot in an artery.

It has long been known that African Americans have a higher tendency to form blood clots.  These increased blood clots can lead to several problems:

Vitamin K promotes blood clotting. While biologists have insisted that vitamin K doesn’t cause “too much clotting” there have been no studies in African Americans to confirm this.  Given the lack of vitamin K deficiency in the US, there is no reason for an African American to take added vitamin K.

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans

I developed GNetX Sequence Multivitamins with these and many other facts in mind.  It is the first science-based multivitamin for African Americans and uses research, population data, and 25 years of treating Black patients as evidence. Sequence Multivitamins were developed for men, women, men over 50, and women over 50.   

MD Newsline just featured GNetX Sequence Multivitamins on their website as a game-changing approach to nutrition in the Black community.

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans have increased vitamin D, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and zinc to compensate for the migration from Africa to North America and the dramatic adjustments that many of our bodies are still making! And it leaves out vitamin K to potentially avoid an increased risk for blood clots.

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