Vitamin supplements: Do we need them as we age?

Dr. Jim House, researcher who lectured in the Senior Lecture series sponsored by the University Of Manitoba, began his presentation with Mahatma Ghandi’s quote: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow; Learn as if you were to live forever”.

He then invited us to consider how vitamins and scientific knowledge about vitamins have effected the treatment of such diseases as pernicious anaemia. In 1925, as many of us learned in Downton Abby, pernicious anemia was a fatal disease. Since 1956, when the structure of vitamin B12 was revealed, the disease can be treated.

We learned the difference between water soluble (vitamins B & C) and fat soluble (A, D, E, K) vitamins. We learned that vitamin B12 supplement is recommended as we age because the Intrinsic Factor (IF) needed to absorb vitamin B12 decreases as we age. The other important vitamin supplement to take as our bodies age is Vitamin D. Most healthy adults, who follow the recommended dietary amount (RDA) of food should not need supplements.

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