Time for Plan Vitamin B


B vitamins have been in the news for over a decade in connection with helping to prevent memory loss and possibly dementia. A friend asked me if they really work – the answer is ‘maybe’. The latest of several studies looked at 271 elderly people with mild memory problems, but not dementia, who took a daily high-dose vitamin B complex (with folic acid, B6 and B12) over 24 months. Those taking the supplement had on average 30 per cent slower brain shrinkage in areas associated with Alzheimer’s disease (one type of dementia) than those taking a placebo, probably because B vitamins are thought to lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid also linked to heart disease. According to NHS UK’s Behind the Headlines report, there is no positive proof but the results are promising.

I take a vitamin B complex daily, as well as omega-3 fatty acid, and vitamin D, in common with many health professionals I know. Try Betrinac by Cobalz, £16.95 for 28 tablets, Power of Krill by LifeFlo, £24.95 for 60 softgels, or D Lux 1000 Spray by Better You, £7.15 for 1000iu (15ml). Read More…

Get an early view of your child’s eyesight


Q: Our six-year-old son is bright and happy at school, but he is not doing well. Could it be his eyesight?

A: Vision problems can often be the reason a child does not perform well at school, says Boots optometrist Carolyn Norman, ‘For instance, because they cannot see the board clearly. Research from Aston University shows one child in 17 aged six to seven has an uncorrected eye problem. By 12-13 this figure is one in ten.’

Children’s eyes are fully developed by eight years old, so it is vital to detect any problems before this.

Some primary schools offer screening. But this is not guaranteed and Carolyn advises booking an eye check with an optometrist before a child starts school, ie, four to five years old.

Common symptoms of eye problems include sitting too close to the TV, looking cross-eyed and holding a book too close to their face when reading. If you notice any of these, book an eye check. Early detection can help ensure successful treatment with minimum impact on the child’s life.

Poor vision is a common cause of tired eyes or repeated headaches. If a child complains of these, it’s worth consulting an optometrist. Read More…

What’s the best way to soothe cystitis?


Q: I have recurrent cystitis for which the GP prescribes antibiotics. I am confused about whether or not cranberry juice would help.

A: It depends on the type of cystitis. I am guessing that it is bacterial cystitis (BC), the most common type.

BC is an inflammation of the bladder caused by bacteria. Possible causes include sexual activity, weight gain, wearing thongs, changes to the vaginal flora (eg, after menopause), diabetes (the increased sugar in diabetic urine encourages bacteria to grow), poor bladder emptying or hygiene and pregnancy.

Symptoms of BC include burning or stinging pain when urinating, frequent need to pass small amounts, feeling of urgency even when the bladder is empty, cloudy urine which may have a strong odour. Read More…