Why Do We Need Nutritional Supplements

Though it is well recognised that most people should get their recommended daily allowance of vitamins, minerals and protein through a healthy well-balanced diet, there is a huge amount of factual data from many international diet and nutrition studies showing that many people are not getting near the recommended intake and some are even deficient in a number of key vitamins and some minerals. This is even more common with older adults.

One way of ensuring that we get enough of these key nutrients is of course to take regular doses of well-formulated nutritional supplements, such as those within the Prime Fifty range, which has been carefully formulated and targeted for the needs of the over 50s in particular.

In addition to the fact that not everyone will get their daily allowance of some nutrients, it is also well documented scientifically, that some nutrients are not absorbed by older adults as well as younger adults so we may need to enhance our intake of certain nutrients to account for this as we get older.

Prime Fifty has examined data from diet studies including the UK National Diet & Nutrition Survey (over 65’s), the huge USA NHANES study, , the German Nationwide Food Consumption Study from the Max Rubner Institute, internal scientific presentations from Tufts University(USA) and also an extensive review of Micronutrient Intakes across Europe(over 64’s). We have used this array of data to help us understand the needs of the over 50s and have formulated the products accordingly.

One such vitamin is Vitamin B12, which can be poorly absorbed in up to 30% of over 60’s due to lower stomach acid, needed for efficient absorption of this particular Vitamin.

Another is calcium which again is less well absorbed in the older population. Calcium is critical for not only bone health, but also for muscle function, cell division, our nervous system and even our digestive enzymes.

Vitamin D again is a very important bone relevant vitamin, which we mostly get from exposure to sunlight. But as we age, we tend to spend less time outdoors and so supplementation is the only way to up with this very important nutrient. It is now recognized by the NHS that Vitamin D supplementation is a must as we get older.

Other key nutrients that are so relevant to our health as we age include riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and E, selenium, zinc, chromium, potassium, magnesium, folate and more.

Optimal Intakes
So, in some cases, we may have to overcome nutrient deficiencies or at least potential deficiencies….but also, in some cases, higher than recommended intakes or ‘optimal intakes’ can be beneficial, as proven by many scientific studies carried out across the world over the last 20 years or so.

This is where a higher than the recommended dose, has been found in some studies to show additional, long term health benefits for a particular ailment. A good example is a protein, where the long ago established, recommended intake was around 60 grams/day, on average. Though most adults achieve this through their diet, there has been a huge amount of work carried out by eminent scientists, which has shown that a higher protein diet is extremely beneficial to the muscle health of older people. This is to combat muscle loss as we age (sarcopenia) and this benefit has been confirmed by a very impressive, international study called the ‘ProtAge’ study, at which the top protein scientists met and reviewed all the data together and agreed on a clear set of guidelines and recommendations for the ageing consumer re their protein intake.

There is also a long list of many scientific studies which promote the use of micronutrients in excess of the recommended allowance, as the scientific data has proven that these intakes are associated with a whole host of protecting effects.

A written summary report authored by WHO (World Health Organization) in conjunction with Tufts University in the USA promoted the importance of many micronutrients and highlighted their protective role across a whole host of disease states. Some extracts from this report are listed below and highlighted that:

  1. Vitamin C appears to have a protective effect against some cancers
  2. Low intakes of Vitamin E are correlated with increased risk of cancers
  3. Low blood concentrations of folate and vitamin B6 have been linked to an increased risk of stroke
  4. Vitamin D and calcium protects against osteoporosis
  5. Boron, copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc play a role in contributing to bone density
  6. Supplementation with antioxidants such as vitamin B6, zinc, vitamin E, C and selenium can enhance immunity in older adults
  7. Riboflavin/niacin vitamin supplementation was found to reduce cataracts
  8. Mild deficiencies in folate, vitamin B12, C and also Riboflavin were associated with poor verbal reasoning and memory.
  9. Low B vitamin status was associated with the risk of cerebral disease

It is true that some studies require even more research, as nutrient research is highly complex and can so easily be misleading due to flawed experimental design. However, research continues into the prophylactic (disease avoidance/inhibition) use of supplements, in mid to later life, as the overall opinion being, that getting the right nutrients into our bodies regularly contributes to a whole range of health benefits.

We know and accept that healthy nutrition is one of the key drivers of a healthy life, together with regular exercise.

Mega Doses
Having promoted the use of supplements, Prime Fifty is not an advocate of taking single vitamin mega-doses however. Though vitamins and minerals are essential to our wellbeing and the overall healthy functioning of our metabolism, some of these micronutrients can be toxic at extremely high doses and these are best avoided. Some nutrients are easily flushed away by the body whereas others (such as the fat-soluble vitamins) can build up in the liver. One such vitamin is vitamin A which can even cause birth defects in the unborn child if taken at megadose levels.

Therefore it is safe to say that Prime Fifty have done their research and ensured that our understanding of nutrient deficiencies and possible deficiencies in the over 50’s population is factually based. We have also ensured that our products, even taken in combination, are formulated below the set ‘upper tolerable limits’ set by the appropriate authorities.

This understanding has enabled us to ensure we have formulated all of our products that are the most relevant, the most effective and are perfectly safe for the over 50’s.