It is important that you take the correct vitamins and supplements in your 50s to boost your health and vitality. The choice of supplements is overwhelming and the advice given can be confusing. Looking after your health is important at any age and never more so than in your 50s. In our 50s, we do not digest foods the way we did when we were younger and supplements can play an important role in filling any nutritional gaps.
Which vitamins should I take?
- I believe that there are some fundamental supplements that are worth taking and these include:
- A quality vitamin and mineral supplement
- Probiotics because the digestive system gets sluggish with age
- Omega 3 essential fatty acids since most of us do not get sufficient amounts
- A calcium supplement to prevent brittle bone disease
- A sublingual form of Vitamin B-12
Which vitamin and mineral supplement should I take?
I have always believed that a vitamin and mineral supplement is a fundamental step to health and wellbeing because this will help your body to perform at its optimal level. Without vitamins and minerals, your body cannot produce many of the key enzymes responsible for digestion, energy as well as for cell regeneration. I also believe that food state multivitamins are superior to other multivitamin supplements because the nutrients are naturally combined with food sources which contain phytonutrients that enable greater absorption and utilisation by the body. Supplements such as Alive Once Daily Multivitamin Ultra Potency provide vitamins and minerals in an energising complex to maintain a healthy immune system as well as preventing any nutrient deficiencies. Alive Once Daily Multivitamin is not suitable for vegetarians or vegans.
A good food state multivitamin for vegetarians and vegans would be Terra Nova’s Living Multinutrient Complex which provides vitamins and minerals in a base of digestion enhancing herbs to allow greater absorption by the body.
I think it is important to take a quality probiotic supplement because as we age, our digestive system is prone to become sluggish, to absorb less nutrients and of course we are generally more prone to infections. The trillions of probiotic species in the gut play a vital role in immunity, absorption of nutrients, elimination of toxins and in the manufacture of energising B vitamins required for multiple processes within our body. My recommendation is to take Mega Probiotic ND which is a probiotic supplement containing multiple strains of beneficial bacteria that can reach the gut where they colonise and perform their myriad of functions.
Omega 3 supplements
Another supplement that I believe is a must for almost everyone are the omega 3 essential fatty acids. These are polyunsaturated fatty acids are required for reducing inflammation in the body, for nerve growth and repair, to reduce plaque build-up, to promote joint flexibility and for numerous other processes carried out within the body. They are called essential fatty acids because they are essential to the body and cannot be manufactured by the body. The primary sources of omega 3’s fats are fish and krill oil and these may be obtained from either Lion Heart Omega 3 Fish Oil or Neubria Krill Oil capsules.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, Echiomega capsules offer a better source of omega 3’s than other vegetarian sources such as flaxseed and hemp seed oil supplements which are ill-converted by the body into the active compounds found in fish or krill oil.
Supplements for menopause and digestion?
You may consider taking other supplements listed below if any of these concerns may be applicable to you.
If you are still in the menopause and are looking for an alternative to HRT, then you should take a phytoestrogenic supplement such as Sage Complex. Once you have past the menopause, you can stop Sage Complex or you can choose to continue taking it post-menopause since the hormone mimicking compounds within this formulation may offer some degree of protection against ageing skin, heart and joints in much the same way as oestrogen does.
Our digestive system does not produce sufficient digestive enzymes as we age. Digestive enzymes are required by the body to break down all food groups such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins efficiently so that:
- We can absorb more nutrients from the foods we eat
- Prevent food from stagnating in the gut leading to slower bowel movement and possibly constipation
- Prevent bloating, a common concern for many women going through the menopause and post menopause.
Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes by Life Extension is a digestive enzyme supplement that can be taken either just before a meal or during a meal to ensure complete breakdown of food. These digestive enzymes don’t just have to be taken if you suffer from constipation or a sluggish bowel. Almost everyone can take these digestive enzymes at any stage of their life to enhance nutrient availability to the body.
Bone loss accelerates in your 50s especially among women. If you have a family history of osteoporosis then it would be prudent to get a bone density scan to determine the strength of your bones. You may nevertheless wish to protect your bones and joints using a calcium supplement because although bone loss slows down after menopause, it still continues albeit slowly. Calcium supplements such as Bone Restore with Vitamin K2 provide three types of highly absorbable forms of calcium together with several bone building nutrients including Silica and Vitamin D3.
Finally, I would urge you to go to your GP and get your Vitamin B12 levels checked. Vitamin B12 is required for:
- The formation of red blood cells which carry vital oxygen to all our tissues
- For the manufacture of adrenal hormones involved in stress response and energy production
- To help the optimal function of the nervous system
- For lowering homocysteine levels, a compound we produce that is linked to cardiovascular disease
- Helping to enhance concentration and prevent cognitive decline
- The manufacture of melatonin, the sleep hormone
- For the manufacture of several enzymes including digestive enzymes that convert carbohydrates into sugar for energy
These are just a few of the benefits of Vitamin B12 but unfortunately many of us lose a protein that transports Vitamin B12 from the intestines into the bloodstream called Intrinsic Factor. The inability for many to digest food properly coupled with the loss of this protein may result in Vitamin B12 deficiency so please get your levels checked.
If you are deficient in Vitamin B12, then there is no point in taking oral tablets or capsules since these have to pass through the digestive system. In order to restore Vitamin B12 levels, one needs to take a supplement that by-passes the gastric route such as Methyl B-12 Lozenges which provide the most active form of Vitamin B12, methylcobalamin, which is absorbed sublingually from the mouth directly into the bloodstream.
In summary, although we know that a healthy diet is important, we also know that many of us are simply not getting enough nutrients from our diet alone. This is where the introduction of appropriate supplements will be of great value to maintain the health and wellbeing of our body.