Five best supplements for the over 50s
Your health needs change as you get older, and taking a daily health supplement can help support your energy levels and wellbeing in a number of ways. Here are five supplements good for the over 50s.
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1. Vitamin D
The body loses some of its ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight as we get older, which means that those over the age of 65 have an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Boots Pharmacist Angela Chalmers says: "In the body, Vitamin D has many regulatory functions, one of the most important of which is balancing our calcium and phosphate levels, which helps to maintain healthy bones and teeth.
"The main natural source of vitamin D is from sunlight on skin, so it's also advisable to make sure you get natural sunlight exposure on your face, neck and upper arms everyday where possible. 15-20 minutes exposure each day is adequate, taking care to avoid sunburn if it's a really sunny day.
"To help maintain Vitamin D levels, you can buy Vitamin D supplements from healthcare retailers including your local pharmacy and you can take up to 25mcg per day.
"Current guidelines recommend Vitamin D supplement use to prevent deficiency among at-risk groups. These include infants and children aged under 5, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people over 65, people who have low or no exposure to the sun, and people with darker skin."
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include sweating when you are at rest, muscle/joint pain and weakness, bone pain and possibly fractures, tiredness/fatigue and even low mood and depression. If you feel you have these symptoms, see your GP who may offer you a blood test and treatment.
BUY: Boots Vitamin D Gummies (£3.99)
2. Soya isoflavones
Symptoms of dropping oestrogen levels, often suffered by women going through the menopause, include hot flushes, sleep disturbance and low mood. If you find menopausal symptoms a problem, Angela recommends taking soya isoflavones.
"Soya isoflavones are essentially plant extracts that exert actions that mimic oestrogen. Common isoflavones are genistein, daidzein and glycitein, and they are available in tablet or multivitamin presentation."
BUY: Boots Menopause Support Plus (£13.99)
3. Glucosamine & Chondroitin
Joint pain is something that affects many people as they get older. Some studies have shown that taking glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can offer modest improvement to joint pain.
"In the human body, Glucosamine is an amino acid sugar, found in normal healthy cartilage around the joints. Naturally occurring chondroitin in the body helps cartilage retain water to help with cushioning and lubrication," says Angela.
"When used as an ingredient in supplements, Glucosamine is derived from shellfish, while chondroitin is either made from the cartilage of animals or synthetically in a lab. Some studies have shown that supplementing the diet with glucosamine and chondroitin can help those who have joint discomfort, but they don't work for everyone.
"They come in varying strengths and formulations, speak with your pharmacist about the available options. Do not take if you suffer from shellfish allergy or take anticoagulants."
BUY: Boots Glucosamine Sulphate & Chondroitin Sulphate (£16.35)
4. Pumpkin seed extract
As you get older, an overactive bladder or frequent and urgent urination can become more of a problem. Pumpkin seed extract is a traditional herbal medicine that may help.
Angela says: "Pumpkin seed extract is used in some remedies for overactive bladder and frequent and urgent urination.
"For many years people have taken pumpkin seed extract for overactive bladder and associated incontinence. It is also believed to boost nitric oxide, which can help relax the smooth muscle which may reduce bladder hyperactivity and increase bladder volume.
"Check with your GP first about any underlying causes of bladder and urination issues. You can then speak with your pharmacist about the products available."
BUY: Urostemol Prosta Capsules - 40 capsules (£29.99)
Taking a multivitamin specifically designed for over 50s can be a good idea.
Angela says: "This is a good all-rounder as it tends to contain vitamins A-Z and minerals tailored at a level that is optimal for the requirements as we get older.
"It will contain Vitamin D amongst other supplements, it is best taken in the morning with breakfast so that you get optimal absorption of the fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K.
"Always check with your pharmacist that supplements are suitable for you as there is the possibility for drug interactions with medicines and medical conditions. This is especially important if you are taking anticoagulants."
BUY: Boots A - Z 50+ (£7.15)