You service your car, so why not yourself?

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A medical friend once told me that too many people only go to the doctor when they have a problem.

“We book in our cars for regular services to avoid problems, but we don’t have regular check-ups with our doctor. Crazy,” she said.

Her words resonated and since then I’ve had an annual check-up, which includes blood tests, weight and height checks and whatever else my doctor suggests.

The one thing she has stressed in recent years is taking a vitamin D/calcium supplement – every day, not just when I feel like it, as I was doing.

There are mixed messages about vitamin supplements, with some experts advising that if we eat well then supplements are a waste of money. But my GP was emphatic about the need to take vitamin D once I’d hit my 50s.

Jean Hailes dietician Stephanie Pirotta says that bone mineral density usually starts to decrease, particularly in women, once we reach our 50s because of hormonal changes associated with menopause.

“Vitamin D helps to strengthen your bones and assists with calcium absorption,” she says.

“About 20 minutes of daily sunshine (depending on the time of year, where you are in Australia and your skin colour) should increase your vitamin D levels. Otherwise, a vitamin D supplement may be appropriate. And make sure you keep up the calcium too.”

Adequate nutrient intake was next on my doctor’s list.

“Are you eating enough protein?” she asks, explaining that our digestive systems are not as efficient at absorbing nutrients as we age – and our appetites may decrease – even though our nutrient requirements remain about the same.

Jean Hailes naturopath Sandra Villella says that proteins – fish, seafood, chicken, red meat, nuts, dairy, legumes (such as beans, chickpeas and lentils) and seeds – help us to retain lean muscle mass, which is vital in keeping us fit and mobile.

“Protein also promotes feelings of fullness and appetite satisfaction, so we don’t snack excessively on sweets,” she says.

Okay, Vitamin D/calcium, adequate protein, what else?

Zinc, she says, but if you eat enough protein that shouldn’t be a problem. A zinc deficiency can cause difficulties with memory, learning, concentration and decision-making, and increase the risk of depression and mood problems.

And drink more water, be careful with your salt intake, be mindful of how much alcohol you’re drinking, keep up the weight-bearing exercise …

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Written by Janelle Ward

6 Comments

Total Comments: 6
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    If you are taking vitamin D then vitamin K needs to be looked at because it aids absorption of calcium and vitamin D in the prevention of osteoporosis.

    https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/vitamin-k

    • 0
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      Modern farming methods plus no recyciling to the soil result in Borax shortage, also magnesium to a degree and silicon, all three easily available and good bye Osteoporosis.
      Particularly Borax vital to control absorption of calcium.

  2. 0
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    Check and check walk everyday with dogs in sunshine eat protein in yogurt and protein rich milk nuts and fresh food don’t drink alcohol go to gym lift weights and do cardio swim also listen to good music to increase “happy ” hormones” drink lots of water!!! All good a lot easier to be a slob staying fit at any age needs mindfulness and planning … but I love life so it’s worth it all!

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    It is important that the vitamin D that you consume is the D3 type D2 is sometimes used in cheap supplements USELESS. You also need to take Vitamin K2 whilst you are supplementing with D3 You can obtain small amounts in your diet from Cheese and Eggs but it is better to take in capsule form.The MK7 form is the best. Taking Calcium as a supplement is not to be recommended as the calcium has been found to be directed into the blood instead of the bones. Milk,cheese and butter are much better sources. Fortunately the MK7 form of D2 acts as a director of calcium traffic sending it to the bones (US Research not mine) instead of the blood. Too much calcium in the blood is a very serious condition. The fat content of the dairy also acts to distribute the fat soluble vitamins, A and E as well as D. I think that most people know by now that the cholesterol theory which terrified us all into shunning ANY fats was a total myth concocted by a medical researcher who falsified the results to fit with his preformed theories. I do not eat RED meat because I do NOT like it but have never stinted on dairy for the whole of my 88 years. Geoff.Newall Retired Pharmacist Perth,Western Australia

  4. 0
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    Typing error to correct “Fortunately the MK7 form of D2” Should read :-
    “Fortunately the MK7 form of D3”


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