HEALTH: Vitamins for older people

Most of us can get all the vitamins and minerals we need by eating a healthy, balanced diet, but sometimes we need a little extra help. So when should we take extra tablets, and when shouldn’t we bother?

Age UK has an excellent guide to vitamins on its website – Below is their advice on vitamin D, but the article covers much more than that and is well worth a read:


Vitamin D

Our body makes most of our vitamin D in reaction to sunlight on our skin. It’s also found in a small number of foods including oily fish, eggs, margarine, yoghurt and fortified breakfast cereals. However, people over the age of 65 are at risk of not getting enough vitamin D, especially when we’re not exposed to much sun.

The expert view

British Dietetic Association spokesperson Priya Tew says: ‘It can be difficult in the UK to meet our vitamin D needs through sunlight and diet alone. For this reason, it’s recommended that over-65s take a supplement of vitamin D of 10 micrograms per day. Try to get out in the sun for 10-15 minutes a day without sunscreen, too.’

You can buy vitamin D supplements at most pharmacies and supermarkets, but be sure not to take more than 25 micrograms per day, as it could be harmful. Also, while some sunlight is beneficial, remember to cover up or protect your skin if you’re out in the sun for long periods.

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