Are they just a waste of time, or do we really need to take food supplements? Personally I think it’s really important for women to take the right vitamins to supplement their diet as they go through the menopause, and our diet can easily become depleted of vital vitamins due to the methods by which our food is stored before sale. Talk to any nutritionist and they will say the same thing.
Some people will tell you that all you need is a well balanced diet, but even if we eat healthy food the chances are that unless you buy all your food from independent producers it will have been grown or reared under conditions designed for high yields rather than high nutritional content. Then of course we boil most of our vegetables, so many of their important nutrients are either destroyed or they leach out into the water. Anyway, what exactly is a “balanced” diet? How much is one portion of the recommended 5 a day? It can be confusing, so here you will find suggestions for supplements to bridge the main nutrition gaps, with an emphasis on those that benefit women as they hit their 50’s.
Open a booklet on dietary supplements and you can convince yourself that you need any number, and there is much debate amongst nutritionists as to how much we do need. If you are wondering just what nutritional supplements to take to boost your day to day health, then the key ones are shown below.
A word of warning though – beware supermarket brands which might not use the most bio-effective forms of nutrients. Buy from quality suppliers recommended by nutritionists such as Nutrigold or Cytoplan whose tablets have minimal fillers and binding agents to maximize absorption.
Top supplements for general health are:
1. Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Used in regulation of all biological functions (immune, cardiovascular, reproductive, and nervous systems) they help maintain good health, promote brain and vision development and protect against disease. For more information go to the Cod Liver Omega 3 Foundation www.clo3.com
Modern diets are particularly low in Omega 3 (as opposed to 6&9). To boost your intake take Omega 3 capsules as a supplement – but make sure they are fish oil rather than the less effective plant oils. Omega 3 will then make Omega 6 and 9 in your body as required Try: 1000mg EPA Marine Fish Oil tablets (Nutrigold) or High Potency 1000mg Fish Oil tablets (Cytoplan)
2. Baobab powder. This is the new superfood fruit powder, and I swear by it. It reduces tiredness and fatigue, and promotes a healthy immune system and healthy skin. It has a pleasant citrus taste.
3. Multivitamin and mineral supplements. Depleted iron levels make you tired and prone to stress (some 40% of women are low in iron). Zinc (found in higher levels in whole wheat foods) helps maintain your immune system. Selenium helps preserve tissue elasticity, which diminishes with age (brazil nuts are a natural source). You wont get everything in one tablet but a good starting point is Cytoplan’s CoQ10 Multi – with Cytoplex to boost Vitamin B if you feel particularly mentally tired or stressed.
4. Probiotic bacteria live in the gastrointestinal tract and
• assist with food digestion and nutrient absorption
• support the immune system
• help maintain a healthy gastro-intestinal tract
They can help optimize daily health, and are useful if you have had a recent course of antibiotics, suffer from constipation or diarrhoea or you are traveling and thus your diet and water will change. Try: Acidophilus Plus from Cytoplan
5. Glucosamine repairs the wear and tear in connective tissue in cells, which weakens with age so your skin, and connective tissues like cartilage, lose their structure. This is why older skin takes longer to heal. For those with osteoarthritis it’s boost to cartilage tissue regeneration can cause quite noticeable improvements in joint discomfort. Use a product with the newer form of glucosamine hydrochloride such as Joint Support Formula from Nutrigold or Glucosamine HCl from Cytoplan.
6. Vitamin C not only helps maintain a healthy immune system but it also helps form and maintain collagen for healthy skin and tissues, and facilitates growth and repair of tissue. Plus it helps maintain normal cholesterol levels and helps metabolise fat. Use “Food State” Vitamin C which is a concentrated source in a form that most closely resembles that found in food. It is less acidic, you don’t need to take it with food and it is retained in the body much longer than the traditional ascorbic acid. Try Food State Vitamin C with Bioflavinoids (which help Vitamin C absorption) from Cytoplan.