Vitamins for older people
Most of us can get all the vitamins and minerals we need by eating a healthy, balanced diet, but sometimes we need a little extra help. So when should we take extra tablets, and when shouldn't we bother?
Should you take vitamin supplements?
Many of us choose to take supplements, because we think we're not getting the right amount of vitamins in our body - but you might not realise that taking a high dosage, or taking them for too long, can do more harm than good, especially if you’re already taking prescription medication.
Not only that, vitamin supplements can be expensive - and unnecessary. Your kidneys will simply flush out what your body doesn’t need, which could mean that your expensive supplements end up going straight down the toilet.
沙巴体育appGP Dr Liz Green says: 'It’s always good to ensure that you take supplements only in the recommended daily allowance (RDA) amounts and discuss with your GP why you're taking them and why they're needed.'
Nevertheless, vitamin supplements can be helpful for some people, so we asked the experts to help us identify the most common deficiencies to look out for in older people, along with some advice on how to prevent them.
Our body makes most of our vitamin D in reaction to sunlight on our skin. It's also found in a small number of foods including oily fish, eggs, margarine, yoghurt and fortified breakfast cereals. However, people over the age of 65 are at risk of not getting enough vitamin D, especially when we’re not exposed to much sun.
The expert view
沙巴体育appBritish Dietetic Association spokesperson Priya Tew says: 'It can be difficult in the UK to meet our vitamin D needs through sunlight and diet alone. For this reason, it's recommended that over-65s take a supplement of vitamin D of 10 micrograms per day. Try to get out in the sun for 10-15 minutes a day without sunscreen, too.'
沙巴体育appYou can buy vitamin D supplements at most pharmacies and supermarkets, but be sure not to take more than 25 micrograms per day, as it could be harmful. Also, while some sunlight is beneficial, remember to cover up or protect your skin if you’re out in the sun for long periods.