Here are some tips on improving grandparents health and the some of the benefits and hazards of vitamin supplements for seniors.
If you read the literature available to seniors on which vitamin and minerals supplements are the best to take, you’ll find confusing and often contradictory advice. Some say to take only a multi-vitamin, some say you should take large doses of herbal remedies, some say you’ll get diseases without taking vitamins and others say just the opposite. Who can you believe?
The DSHEA, The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act defines supplements in this way:
A supplement is:
a) A supplement to food
b) Contains one or more dietary ingredient such as a vitamin, mineral, herb or botanical, or an amino acid.
c) Comes in pill, capsule, tablet or liquid form
d) Is labeled as a dietary supplement
Vitamin and mineral supplements are meant to help maintain smooth body function while herbals or botanicals have medicinal properties and target certain body areas such as skin, bones, or organs.
Vitamins and minerals aid a unique body capability such as enhancing eyesight, bone growth, or beefing up the body’s immune system. Deficiencies in these vitamins or minerals can adversely affect the body and may limit the body’s ability to heal itself. Vitamin and mineral supplements are not meant to make up for a poor diet, but they can support health when taken in conjunction with healthy food intake.
Herbals and botanicals are some of the oldest remedies in the world. It is thought that about eighty percent of the world’s population still relies on herbal remedies for most ailments. It can be dangerous, however, to take herbals and botanical products in conjunction with modern day medicines. You need to check with your doctor to see whether or not herbal medicine products are safe to take with your current prescription drugs. They could potentially cause interactions, imbalances and dangerous side effects. Another issue with herbal and botanical supplements is that many are not regulated and may be either stronger or weaker than the packaging indicates.
There are those who believe that many supplements, especially inexpensive ones contain toxins in the ingredients used to bind them together into pill or capsule form. There are others who claim healing properties for certain supplements that are not documented by the medical community. It is generally believed that everyone, including children and senior citizens, could benefit from taking a simple multi-vitamin tablet daily as a support to a healthy diet.
There are special groups of people who may need vitamin supplements to maintain health. Those would include pregnant women, children and teens who are poor eaters, dieters or those on a restricted diet, those with eating disorders and seniors with various problems including chronic diseases and those taking medications which limit vitamin absorption.
Seniors, you need vitamin D for osteoporosis, bone pain, diabetes, heart disorders and other health conditions. You need adequate vitamin A for eyesight and heart health, C for prevention of glaucoma and arthritis, K for healthy blood blotting and prevention of Alzheimer’s and Calcium for bone health. All of these may be obtained in a single multi-vitamin or in over the counter small dosages.
In general here is the best advice. Eat a healthy diet and talk to your doctor about any health conditions you have, the medications you take and which supplements may be of benefit to you. Beware of any information that encourages taking large doses of supplements and anyone who claims to be able to cure health conditions with them. As usual, good common sense is often the best way to arrive at healthy solutions for your senior lifestyle.
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