I’m not great at being ill. I haven’t got the time or patience. I certainly am not one for taking tablets if I can avoid it. If I have a cold, I don’t bother to take remedies (unless its really bad), preferring the symptoms to ride out their nature course; for me it seems to get it over with quicker. It’s like I can almost tell myself not to be ill. When I feel symptoms of something coming on, I mentally tell myself I haven’t got the time to be ill right now so go away, it is kinda works to some degree.
Now that I’m a woman of a certain age, I’m conscious things might have a propensity to start getting worn out. Whether its my joints or skin, or hair, or nails, or immune systems, whatever. I have always been a bit cautious around the taking vitamin supplements. I’m not convinced they really work, and they could possibly contraindicate other medication you might be on, and we shouldn’t be self-subscribing chemicals. However, I am aware that taking additional supplements can have beneficial effects for some.
For example, C takes a daily dose of cod liver and glucosamine. Now, I don’t really know if they work, but he seems to think they do. I call it into question when he more regularly wears wrist supports for #bellringing nowadays though.
I’m reading more and more articles in health and wellbeing magazines about the benefits of taking supplements in older age to help with muscle, joint and other ailments. At the moment I don’t appear to have any. So, should I consider starting to take them now, before I get symptoms? Are they as effective after the damage has already been done, so to speak?
So, I’m going to try an experiment. I have bought a bottle of multi vitamins intended for women of a certain age. There are 30 tablets in the bottle and the recommended dose is one per day. I realise that it can take some time for these things to have an effect, but by the time I’ve finished the bottle I ought to be able to tell if there’s been any change in my overall health, vitality, mood etc.
Netdoctor suggests that “When it comes to feeling the benefits, there’s no single answer, thanks to a variety of factors that impact vitamin absorption – from the type of supplement you’re taking to the ways certain nutrients interact with each other in the body.” Biologically vitamins are absorbed in a matter of hours and are supposed to have immediate metabolic effects, but there are a number of reasons why their efficacy may prevent you getting the full benefit:
- Deficiency levels – if you are already deficient it may take longer, or you may need a higher dose of that particular vitamin or mineral;
- Type of supplement – those taken in liquid form are known to work quicker than those in tablet or capsule form as your body doesn’t have to breakdown the casing first;
- Water vs fat-soluble – vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble meaning they need fat to be absorbed and should be taken with food. Water solubles dissolve in water and can have a faster effect;
- Nutrient pairing – many vitamins and minerals are interrelated in how they work, for example vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium so if you have low levels of vitamin D, you’ll likely have low levels of calcium too. But there are those that compete against each other too, like zinc and copper so if taken together you might have a higher intake of zinc because the recommended dose is higher than that of copper;
- Lifestyle and habits – drinking alcohol and smoking can interrupt absorption levels. Caffeine can block vitamin B6, calcium, iron, and magnesium so it is advised not to have caffeine for 45 minutes before or after taking any supplements;
- Health issues – underlying health issues may prevent you being able to absorb properly, such as coeliac, or because you lack the right hormones that are intrinsic to B12 absorption.
Having read that, I need to adjust the time of day I take my supplement as I started taking it in the morning with my coffee. I best hold off for a while!
So how will I be able to tell if any of this is working? Of course, there’s no straight answer. Its dependent on each and every person and which vitamin combination they are taking. It is also dependent on age, gender, digestive health, pre-existing levels, diet, pre-existing medical conditions and more.
It’s more helpful to look for signs of deficiencies, which vary depending on which supplement you’re deficient in. It is unlikely that you will feel or see anything if you’re nutritionally replete – however, you will notice signs of fatigue, poor skin, or nails if chronically lacking nutrients and these are all signs to look out for.
The only symptom I have on a regular basis is tiredness. I can sleep for Britain. I fall asleep very soon after our evening meal, wake up in time to go to bed, then more often than not sleep through until the alarm. I can fall asleep pretty easily at any time of the day, even when I haven’t been up long. I don’t know if I have any other deficiencies. I can’t think of any outward signs.
In 30 days’ time, I’ll see if taking a multi-vitamin for a woman of a certain age has made any difference whatsoever. I’ll try to keep open-minded about it.
One thought on “A woman of a certain age”
I’d rather take a good quality supplement that I have thoroughly investigated that contains natural ingredients than pharmaceutical medication that contain processed ingredients personally. I don’t notice a perceptible change but I do notice if I stop taking them. I’ve actively been told to take iron as I have a predisposition to anemia and that is better absorbed with Vitamin C, but I try to consume a food high in Vit C rather than another supplement. There is a school of thought that if you follow a good diet you shouldn’t need supplements but 🤷♀️. I also take other supplements for ladies of a certain age, but we’ve already discussed that 😉