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Support healthy muscles and bones with four supplements – expert

Dr Ellie on why people should be taking Vitamin D supplements

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With the New Year many of us will have made health-related resolutions. Whether eating more fruit and vegetables or getting more steps in every day, the dawn of a fresh year gives many people the motivation to make certain lifestyle changes. But to see the best results, it could be worth combining these with specific supplements, a pharmacist has said.

Boots pharmacist Bina Mehta shared advice about which vitamins can support some of the most common New Year’s health resolutions.

She said: “The New Year is a great time to set some new health resolutions.

“While everyone’s goals will be different, there are some common ones that come up in conversations with patients in the pharmacy, so here’s how vitamin supplements can play a role.”

One such resolution is exercising more.

To help protect and support your muscles and bones while doing so a combination of vitamin D, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium could be helpful.

Ms Mehta said: “You may need more protein if you exercise more, so depending on your exercise goal it may be worth considering protein powders if you are vegetarian or not getting enough protein from the food you eat.

“Protein requirements vary according to age, weight, activity levels and training goals.

“Vitamin D, calcium and magnesium can support muscle function to help maintain an active lifestyle and calcium and vitamin D can also help maintain healthy bones while vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of bones and cartilage.”

Going vegan

She said: “For those trying Veganuary, it’s important to plan your diet to ensure you are still getting all the necessary nutrients.

“Pay attention to alternative sources of protein, omega 3 fats, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc, selenium and iodine.

“As many of these sources come from meat, fish, dairy and eggs, you may want to consider taking a supplement to support a vegan diet.

“For your vitamin D supplement, do check it is suitable for vegans as not all are.”

Improve your sleep

“Several lifestyle factors might help, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, making sure your bedroom is dark, avoiding alcohol and cutting out caffeine close to bedtime and exercising regularly,” Ms Mehta said.

“If you are still tired after a good sleep, magnesium, iron and B vitamins can support tiredness and fatigue.”

Healthy skin

She added: “Staying hydrated is absolutely key. It’s also important to make sure you are getting enough vitamin A and B2, B3, B7; iodine and zinc.

“Vitamin C is really important as it contributes to normal collagen function.”

A healthy pregnancy

“If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, the NHS recommend you take a 400 micrograms folic acid supplement every day from before you are pregnant until you’re 12 weeks pregnant, as this helps support normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy and reduces the risk of birth defects, such as spina bifida,” she said.

“Vitamin D is also recommended– all adults should be taking a vitamin D supplement at this time of year and that’s especially true for women trying to get pregnant and to support a healthy pregnancy.

“It’s also important to note that certain supplements including cod liver oil and vitamin A should be avoided in pregnancy.”

If you are unsure about what supplements are best for you, ask a pharmacist or doctor.

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