Supplements and vitamins on a plate being cut with a knife and fork

Dietary supplements

I eat a pretty balanced diet – in fact, I pride myself on this – yet I still enhance my diet with a number of dietary supplements.

I am certainly no expert in this area. I’m not even sure I’m really the expert of my own body! But l am pretty attuned to my body and I take full responsibility for the choices I make in this area.

So, what do I take and why? I share more about this below.

I’m apparently not alone in taking dietary supplements – there is a significant market in the UK alone.

 

UK market growth

The UK nutritional supplement market is booming. It’s expected to reach £1.2 billion by 2023, growing at 6% per year. Increasing awareness about the importance of healthy lifestyles, sports nutrition and healthy eating are partly fuelling the growth of the market. A rise in the number of new product- launches and the consequent rise in awareness, are also major drivers.

Doing some simple google searches, there is an abundance of info on the internet that can be hard to digest and interpret. There is also a lot of conflicting information, which can be confusing. How do we know what to believe? And, how do we know what’s relevant for us, as individuals?

Assuming I’m not a completely atypical forty-something female, maybe take a look at what I take and why.

 

My daily supplements

MOA

The MOA drink “contains the most complete blend of ingredients that exist in terms of super foods”!

I drink a ‘shot’ of this each morning and I love the idea that this small amount of goodness is setting me up for the day. I’d love to make fresh juices and smoothies each day, but that would take time (and cost) that I simply don’t have. Not to mention potentially missing out on certain key elements as each super food is quite specific in what it provides. At least MOA gives me a comprehensive blend.

I already had a good immune system prior to taking this, but I know others have noticed a significant positive improvement in their immunity from taking MOA.

If you’d like to know more about MOA, get in touch with Leanne to learn more.

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose Oil is exceptionally high in Gamma-Linolenic Acid or GLA, an Omega 6 fatty acid which fulfils an essential role in the production of certain hormones (prostaglandins). This regulates many bodily functions such as blood pressure and the reproductive cycle.

I started taking Evening Primrose Oil when I noticed changes to my mood after coming off the pill. I’ve been taking this for over 6 months and I have noticed a positive change. Although I’m not yet menopausal, I’m hoping this will also help me when I get to this life stage.

Multivitamins and Iron

 I’ve taken multivitamins on and off for years. Maybe I don’t need them due to eating a balanced diet, but I rely on my body to make that decision for me, using what it needs and dispelling what it doesn’t.

I started taking multivitamin “with iron” about a year ago. I felt I may be slightly anaemic, not eating much meat and lacking energy at times. This is a simpler, cheaper, more palatable way of topping up my iron levels, than alternative iron supplements. I have tried to increase my iron from food too. This NHS guide is simple and easy to digest.

Glucosamine Sulphate

Glucosamine Sulphate plays a vital role in building cartilage, and many people take it as a supplement to treat arthritis and osteoarthritis. It occurs naturally in the fluid around the joints, in animal bones, bone marrow, shellfish, and fungi.

I take this partly because there is arthritis in my family – on both sides – and as a keen (amateur) sportsperson, I’m not immune to the old niggle from my joints, particularly my knees.

I take two 1000mg tablets daily throughout the year and I opt for the shellfish version!

Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin B complex (a mix of B vitamins is essential to help release energy from food. This is often included in the ‘women’s vitamins’ so not sure if we need more or use it differently from men.

I do notice a difference in energy levels with this one and sometimes also boost it with an effervescent one. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps us to absorb calcium and phosphorus from our diet and use these minerals to keep our bones, teeth and muscles strong. This helps prevent falls as we get older.

Vitamin D may have other roles in the body’s immune system and heart health too. A lack of vitamin D can cause bone problems such as rickets (which causes bowed legs) in children and muscle weakness and painful or tender bones in adults.

To make vitamin D, we need sunlight on your skin. From April until the end of September it’s possible to get enough vitamin D by spending time outside. However, in the UK, we don’t get enough vitamin D from sunlight between October and March, because the light doesn’t contain enough UVB rays. During this time, we need to rely on getting enough vitamin D from food, and possibly supplements.

The guidelines in the UK are that everyone should consider taking a vitamin D supplement in the winter, especially if we’re more likely to have a deficiency.

Skin, hair and nails supplement

This is my most ‘vain’ supplement and probably the most indulgent.

I take a complexion capsule containing collagen, hyaluronic acid, vitamins A and C. This is specially formulated for skin, hair and nails, it contributes to natural collagen formation for the normal function of blood vessels and the protection of cells, liable to oxidative stress.

I started taking this a while back as parts of my skin started looking, well a little crepey. Maybe it was the light, maybe I was being overly critical, maybe it was just a sign of getting older. I found these online and they definitely make a difference. The daily dosage is supposed to be 2, I took 2 for the first month and now when need a boost e.g. after Christmas and after holidays. Otherwise, one a day seems to be enough. I’m banking on the ‘cumulative effect’ here.

Why do I take this? I put all kinds of things on my skin, but surely that’s somewhat superficial. I wanted to see what I could do from the inside out.

 

Reflection

On writing this blog, I’ve been pondering about a number of different questions.

Seeing as I am part of an ever-increasing population of dietary supplement takers…

Do we really need dietary supplements due to the additional requirements we are putting on our bodies? At least some of us start taking them for ‘performance’ reasons, but do they really make a difference?

Are we somewhat ‘wasting’ our money (as our bodies typically naturally reject anything we don’t need)?

Could we even be damaging our bodies? Overloading them with things we don’t need?

Are we ultimately widening the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, or the better informed? Is this an example of Darwin at work?

I’m not sure any of us truly know the answer, but I’m sure may will have opinions!

 

Wrap up

I eat a pretty balanced diet yet I still enhance it with various dietary supplements. I’m no expert, but I am attuned to my body.

For now, I’m not planning to stop taking any supplements, but I may do some ‘controlled experiments’ e.g. stopping one for a couple of weeks at a time (all other things being as equal as they can) and seeing what differences, if any, I notice in the short-term. If only I had a crystal ball for the long-term effect.

 

Thank you for reading! For more on Age Life Balance, browse the blog at www.agelifebalance.com to find out  more.