It’s no secret that as we start to get older, our bodies start slowing down. As much as you’d like to deny it, you’re no spring chicken anymore and you’re probably starting to feel the effects. Vitamin and mineral supplements are everywhere nowadays and all of the retailers boast of the benefits of their various products. In a world full of pseudoscience and fake news, it’s a nightmare to try to work out what is actually going to be good for you and what is just nonsense. We’ve put together a list to make sure your body is getting what it needs and you aren’t wasting your time and money on supplements that do absolutely nothing for you.
Vitamin D is important in your later years because it helps to combat a lot of the problems that develop once you reach the other side of forty. Your risk of diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer is massively increased if you have a Vitamin D deficiency. The best way of getting Vitamin D is from sunlight but most people don’t spend enough time outside for that. Taking Vitamin D supplements is a good way to top up your levels to make sure you lower your risk of age-related diseases. D3 supplements are best because that form is most similar to the vitamins that you get from sunlight.
Most people know that Calcium is good for you whatever age you are, but it becomes more important as you get older. The main benefit of Calcium is that it can help to increase bone strength which is important as your joints start to get weaker. Osteoporosis is a big problem in older people and increased Calcium levels can go some way to reducing the risk. In the past, Calcium supplements have been derived from rock but there are side effects that come with this. It is better to take other forms because AlgaeCal plant calcium side effects are pretty much non-existent. Studies have shown that it is safe for pregnant women and it has no toxic effects at all.
Vitamin C is a very important antioxidant for your skin, bones, and connective tissue. Also known as ascorbic acid, it promotes healing, helps the body absorb iron, prevents scurvy, and decreases total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides. It may also lessen the duration and symptoms of a common cold, help delay or prevent cataracts, and support healthy immune function. Research indicates that vitamin C may help protect against a variety of cancers by combating free radicals.Want to learn more about vitamin C? Click Here for 40 great facts!
If you want to maintain good brain function in your later years, you need to make sure you have a good level of Vitamin B12. In younger people, Vitamin B12 isn’t so much of an issue because you absorb most of it from food sources. When you start to get a bit older your body gets worse at absorbing it so your levels drop a bit. Taking supplements is a great way to make sure that your brain stays healthy.
High blood pressure is a very common health complaint amongst the older generation so trying to fight it is very important; Magnesium is brilliant for this. It also helps your body to better absorb Calcium so combining the two is the most beneficial for you.
Before you start taking any new supplements you should consult your doctor first to make sure that you aren’t going to cause yourself further problems.
French researchers have cast doubt on the value of vitamin D supplements to protect against diseases such as cancers, diabetes and dementia.
Scientists writing in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology suggest low vitamin D levels do not cause ill health, although they did not look at bone diseases.
More clinical trials on non-skeletal diseases are needed, they say.
Vitamin D supplements are recommended for certain groups.
French researchers have cast doubt on the value of vitamin D supplements to protect against diseases such as cancers, diabetes and dementia
Recent evidence has shown it may also have a role to play in preventing non-bone-related diseases such as Parkinson’s, dementia, cancers and inflammatory diseases.
Prof. Philippe Autier, from the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, carried out a review of data from 290 prospective observational studies and 172 randomized trials looking at the effects of vitamin D levels on health outcomes, excluding bone health, up to December 2012.
A large number of the observational studies suggested that there were benefits from high vitamin D – that it could reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by up to 58%, diabetes by up to 38% and colorectal cancer by up to 33%.
But the results of the clinical trials – where participants were given vitamin D supplements – found no reduction in risk, even in people who started out with low vitamin D levels.
And a further analysis of recent randomized trials found no positive effect of vitamin D supplements on diseases occurring.
Prof. Philippe Autier said: “What this discrepancy suggests is that decreases in vitamin D levels are a marker of deteriorating health.
“Ageing and inflammatory processes involved in disease occurrence… reduce vitamin D concentrations, which would explain why vitamin D deficiency is reported in a wide range of disorders.”
According to a new study, healthy adults do not need to take vitamin D supplements.
The study published in The Lancet found the subjects had no beneficial effect on bone density, a sign of osteoporosis.
Experts say many other factors could be at play and people should not stop taking supplements.
University of Auckland researchers analyzed 23 studies involving more than 4,000 healthy people.
The New Zealand research team conducted a meta-analysis of all randomized trials examining the effects of vitamin D supplementation on bone mineral density in healthy adults up to July 2012.
The supplements were taken for an average of two years by the study participants.
Healthy adults do not need to take vitamin D supplements
Bone mineral density is a measure of bone strength and measures the amount of bone mineral present at different sites in the body. It is often seen as an indicator for the risk of osteoporosis, which can lead to an increased risk of fracture.
The trials took place in a number of different countries including the UK, the US, Australia, Holland, Finland and Norway.
Although the results did not identify any benefits for people who took vitamin D, they did find a small but statistically significant increase in bone density at the neck of the femur near the hip joint.
According to the authors, this effect is unlikely to be clinically significant.
Prof. Ian Reid, lead study author, from the University of Auckland, said the findings showed that healthy adults did not need to take vitamin D supplements.
“Our data suggest that the targeting of low-dose vitamin D supplements only to individuals who are likely to be deficient could free up substantial resources that could be better used elsewhere in healthcare.”
Writing about the study in The Lancet, Clifford J. Rosen from the Maine Medical Research Institute agrees that science’s understanding of vitamin D supports the findings for healthy adults, but not for everyone.
“Supplementation to prevent osteoporosis in healthy adults is not warranted. However, maintenance of vitamin D stores in the elderly combined with sufficient dietary calcium intake remains an effective approach for prevention of hip fractures.”
The Department of Health currently recommends that a daily supplement of vitamin D of 10 micrograms (0.01 mg) should be taken by pregnant and breastfeeding women and people over 65, while babies aged six months to five years should take vitamin drops containing 7 to 8.5 micrograms (0.007-0.0085 mg) per day.
Scientists say they can find no convincing evidence to show that taking vitamin D supplements will fend off a cold.
A New Zealand team did the “gold standard” of tests – a randomized placebo-controlled trial – to see what impact the supplements would have.
The 161 people who took daily vitamin D for 18 months caught as many colds as the 161 who took fake pills.
The study was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
However, Professor Ronald Eccles, a leading UK cold expert, said vitamin D was useful.
Prof. Ronald Eccles, of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University, said it can give the immune system a much-needed boost during winter when vitamin D reserves may be low.
He said he takes it every year as a precaution.
“There is sufficient information to indicate that vitamin D is a vital vitamin for the immune system.
“Supplementation might help to support the immune system over the winter when we are short of vitamin D.”
He said Echinacea supplements may also help ward off coughs and colds, but added: “Supplements do not work for everybody because people’s immune systems are different. It’s not a case of one size fits all.”
They are pointless unless you are deficient, he said.
We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight on our skin, but it is also found in certain foods like oily fish, eggs and breakfast cereals.
Most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need by eating a healthy balanced diet and by getting some summer sun.
The study, carried out in New Zealand, which gets more sunshine annually than the UK, found the vitamin D supplements increased blood levels of the vitamin.
But this had no significant impact on the rate or severity of colds.
The vitamin D group caught an average of 3.7 colds per person compared with 3.8 colds per person for the placebo group.
There was no significant difference between the two groups in the number of days missed off work as a result of cold symptoms or duration of symptoms.
Adults catch between two to four colds a year and children up to 10 a year.
British experts have found that vitamin D could help the body fight infections of deadly tuberculosis.
Nearly 1.5 million people are killed by the infection every year and there are concerns some cases are becoming untreatable.
A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed patients recovered more quickly when given both the vitamin and antibiotics.
More tests would be needed before it could be given to patients routinely.
British experts have found that vitamin D could help the body fight infections of deadly tuberculosis
The idea of using vitamin D, also known as sunshine vitamin, to treat tuberculosis (TB) harks back to some of the earliest treatments for the lung infection.
Before antibiotics were discovered, TB patients were prescribed “forced sunbathing”, known as heliotherapy, which increased vitamin D production.
However, the treatment disappeared when antibiotics proved successful at treating the disease.
This study on 95 patients, conducted at hospitals across London, combined antibiotics with vitamin D pills.
It showed that recovery was almost two weeks faster when vitamin D was added. Patients who stuck to the regimen cleared the infection in 23 days on average, while it took patients 36 days if they were given antibiotics and a dummy sugar pill.
Dr. Adrian Martineau, from Queen Mary University of London, said: “This isn’t going to replace antibiotics, but it may be a useful extra weapon.
“It looks promising, but we need slightly stronger evidence.”
Trials in more patients, as well as studies looking at the best dose and if different forms of vitamin D are better, will be needed before the vitamin could be used by doctors.
Vitamin D appears to work by calming inflammation during the infection. An inflammatory response is an important part of the body’s response to infection.
During TB infection, it breaks down some of the scaffolding in the lungs letting more infection-fighting white blood cells in. However, this also creates tiny cavities in the lungs in which TB bacteria can camp out.
“If we can help these cavities to heal more quickly, then patients should be infectious for a shorter period of time, and they may also suffer less lung damage,” Dr. Adrian Martineau said.
The doctors suggested this might also help in other lung diseases such as pneumonia and sepsis.
One in three people have low levels of tuberculosis bacteria in their lungs and have no symptoms, known as latent tuberculosis. However, this would turn to full blown TB in about 10% of people.