Try as we might to keep it at bay, ageing is a process that is simply unstoppable. And, as we age, our bodies become more vulnerable and fragile, and our minds become tired and forgetful. For those living with dementia into their later years, these signs of ageing may appear more pronounced than normal, with a deterioration at a rapid rate impacting on every facet of their lives. But that’s not to say that the quality of life available needs to suffer; far from it. From lifestyle changes to dietary choices, much can be done to improve standards of living.
One additional area people focus on is choosing the right supplements and vitamins for the elderly. This can be something of a murky area, with misleading information, claims of ‘miracle’ wonder drugs, and lack of regulation all prevalent. But are there vitamins that can help during the ageing process? And can those living with dementia utilise supplements to aid their condition?
What vitamins are available?
It’s widely believed that vitamins B6 and B12 become harder to absorb as we age, with B12 deficiencies often found in elderly individuals. These vitamins – which are found in cereals, meats, eggs and more – play an important role in keeping the nervous system healthy; plus, those with a deficiency are at increased risk of neurological problems including memory loss.
In addition to these B vitamins, one of the most important you need is vitamin D. The ideal source of vitamin D comes from sunlight, with regular exposure helping keep bones and muscles healthy through the effective regulation of both calcium and phosphate. As well as sunlight, foods including oily fish, eggs, yoghurt and fortified cereals will provide a source of vitamin D. But, despite these sources, it can be tough to achieve a suitable level, which is why experts suggest a supplement of 10 micrograms per day.
Why take vitamins?
Many people will be able to obtain the right vitamins for their needs through their day-to-day diet. However, it’s common to supplement these amounts in order to meet the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) which is often quoted for wellbeing. What many may fail to realise is that exceeding this volume or overloading on additional supplements can ultimately do more harm than good, not least if you’re already taking medication.
Discuss with professionals
Many studies are carried out by professionals to determine which vitamins truly do help aid both the elderly and those living with dementia. However, the internet can be rife with misleading claims where so-called ‘research’ simply provides anecdotal evidence that certain supplements will provide effective support. As such, you always ensure that you speak to your GP before taking any additional vitamins or supplements.