To Your Health
March, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 03)
Antioxidants are also important for mature adults. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E can improve your immune function and play a role in the prevention and treatment of specific diseases associated with age. These two vitamins also can reduce the risk of some types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
These same antioxidants can improve your eyesight as well. A study presented in the Archives of Ophthalmology found that high daily doses of antioxidants (vitamin C - 500 milligrams; vitamin E - 400 IU; beta-carotene - 15 mg) and zinc (80 mg) lowered the risk of age-related macular degeneration by 28 percent.
Another study found that taking a vitamin D3 supplement along with calcium may be a more effective way for older women to lower their systolic blood pressure. The researchers noted that vitamin D3 regulates the body's calcium levels. Calcium, in turn, helps to regulate blood pressure, although the mechanism is not completely understood.
A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that forms of folic acid are co-factors for enzymes involved in a number of metabolic processes, including DNA synthesis. Deficiencies in folic acid and vitamin B12 have been reported to be fairly common, particularly within the elderly population.
You should talk to your doctor about the right multivitamin for you, taking into consideration your age, gender and level of physical activity. You will want to look at additional supplements, depending on your cholesterol level, digestive needs, bone density and other health issues you may be facing.
Consider keeping a journal of everything you eat over the course of a week or two. You may find this very revealing. Review your journal with your doctor.
The bottom line: Combined with exercise and a good diet, nutritional supplements can greatly increase your quality of life and extend your good years.
Reduced Alcohol Consumption
While drinking to your health seems like a great tradition, it has certain drawbacks, particularly for older adults.
Research published in Gerontology found that even light drinking significantly raises blood pressure in middle-aged and elderly subjects (ages 40-69), and only significantly decreases unhealthy cholesterol levels in those younger than 60 years. Heavy drinking at all ages significantly increases blood pressure, despite positively affecting cholesterol levels.
As an easy alternative, consider increasing your intake of filtered water. Dehydration can cause disease. More than one-third of older adults (age 60 or older) have inadequate water consumption. Water offers a number of important benefits. Here are just three: