Vitamins and Aging: Can Taking Vitamins Reduce Disease Risk?
Recent research has found that increasing vitamin intake may reduce the risk of chronic disease as we age. Whether by consuming a more diverse diet or by taking a high-quality dietary supplement, ingesting sufficient amounts of antioxidant vitamins may reduce the chances of developing myocardial infarction, stroke and other medical disorders. Similarly, getting enough of other important vitamins has been shown to encourage better metabolic health and mobility in seniors.
Vitamins and Aging: Vitamins Help Stave Off Illness as We Age
Numerous studies have presented strong evidence that getting proper levels of certain crucial vitamins can help lower the risk of major chronic disease that comes with age. This research suggests that many health problems could be avoided by simply increasing the amount of vitamins we ingest on a daily basis.
For years, it has been known that sufficient levels of vitamin D, along with calcium, are necessary to maintain strong bones and protect against fractures. At the same time, proper amounts of beta-carotene are necessary to assist zinc and vitamin E in slowing the rate at which macular degeneration (age-related vision loss) progresses. Additionally, vitamin E has been shown to assist lycopene, an antioxidant phyto-nutrient, in lowering the risk of prostate cancer.
These are just a few examples of ways that sufficient vitamin intake can benefit overall health in seniors. Further studies may reveal more important ways that consuming proper amounts of vitamins can benefit health and wellness as we age.
Certain Vitamins Help Post-Menopausal Women Manage Metabolic Health
Previous research has found that estrogen and vitamin D work well together in promoting better bone health, but a new study has found that this duo may benefit women in other ways. In particular, vitamin D and estrogen may help lower the chances of developing metabolic syndrome in post-menopausal women.
Metabolic syndrome is a growing concern that affects both genders, but may be especially destructive to post-menopausal women. Metabolic syndrome involves a variety of health concerns, including obesity, hypertension and uncontrolled blood sugar levels. When left untreated, metabolic syndrome can increase the risks of developing other serious health conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The study, which took place in southern China, involved studying the effects that vitamins had on 616 post-menopausal women, ranging in ages from 49 to 86. As the study began, none of the participants had been taking estrogen or vitamin D supplements. At the start of the study, each women underwent examinations to determine the levels of vitamin D and estrogen in their blood. They were also assessed for their risks of developing metabolic syndrome.
The researchers found that there was a strong link between estrogen levels and vitamin D. Where there was a deficiency of vitamin D, there were also lower levels of estrogen. Conversely, women with higher estrogen levels also had higher levels of vitamin D in their blood.
The study also found a correlation between higher levels of vitamin D and more positive test results. The women with high vitamin D levels had better lipid counts, better regulated blood pressure and lower blood sugar counts. Alternatively, a lower estrogen count was linked to poorer results in determining the risks for metabolic syndrome. Women with lower levels of estrogen also exhibited higher blood pressure and heightened levels of triglycerides. They also suffered from high cholesterol.
The research team concluded that the risk of metabolic syndrome was raised in women with lower estrogen levels. This was especially true for women who also exhibited lower levels of vitamin D. Since the estrogen levels and vitamin D deficiencies are linked, raising vitamin D levels may be beneficial. Women may be able to reduce their risks of developing metabolic syndrome by ensuring that they get enough vitamin D in their diet or by taking a high-quality multivitamin.
Can Supplements Help Improve Mobility Among Seniors?
As people age, one of the biggest problems they face is decreased mobility, defined as the ability to move around independently. It has been determined that 30 percent of seniors do experience mobility problems. Mobility is often inhibited by long-term health conditions, such as lung disease, heart disease and arthritis. At the same time, with age, muscles, bones and tissue deteriorate, inhibiting mobility. Now, recent research into the link between vitamins and aging may have found a solution: A new study suggests an increased intake of vitamin K, commonly found in leafy green vegetables, may help boost mobility in seniors.
Previously, research has found that a vitamin K deficiency can affect the development of cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and other conditions that affect mobility. The latest study, which was led by M. Kyla Shea, sought to look for a more direct link between vitamin K and senior mobility. In conducting the study, the research team examined the records for 635 men and 688 women from data assembled as a part of the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. Approximately 40 percent of the subjects were black and the subjects varied in age from 70 to 79.
It was found that a low level of phylloquinone, which was one of two biomarkers used to measure vitamin K levels, increased the risk of inhibited mobility. The researchers determined that low phylloquinone levels increased the risks of developing limited mobility by 1.5 times. Developing a mobility disability was determined to be twice as likely for seniors with low phylloquinone levels when compared to those with sufficient levels of the compound. The study's authors noted that there was no noticeable difference in results between men and women.
While the research does identify a link between vitamin K deficiency and mobility issues, more research is needed. If a clearer connection can be made between vitamin K and mobility, these findings may help millions of seniors maintain a better quality of life. Vitamin K can be found in broccoli, spinach, kale, dairy products and certain multivitamin/multi-mineral formulas.