Tag Archives: vitamins

Health: Why Vitamin D is a daily essential

A recent government report has offered some new guidelines about the amount of Vitamin D we should consume on a daily basis.

As a general rule, everyone, all adults and children over the age of one should consume 10 micrograms of this essential vitamin every day. But why? The experts at Vitamin D supplement retailer, Pharma Nord, explain what this essential vitamin does and why it’s so important.

What does vitamin D do?

This vital vitamin is important as it helps the body to absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet. Because calcium and phosphate are essential for maintaining healthy bones, teeth and muscles, it’s essential that we keep our vitamin levels at the optimum level.

Only 10% of our daily intake of this vitamin comes from our diet and the other 90% must come from sunlight. Because we predominantly rely on sunlight for Vitamin D, it’s often difficult to get the amount that we require during autumn and winter. This is because sunlight doesn’t contain enough UVB radiation between October and early March in the UK. Instead, many people take supplements  to try and up their vitamin intake and prevent a deficiency occurring.

vitamin d

What happens if you don’t get enough vitamin D?

If your vitamin levels drop too low, you will have a deficiency.

Vitamin D is crucial to the health of bones and teeth, without this, calcium cannot be effectively absorbed by your body. A vitamin deficiency can result in bone and muscle pain, poor bone mineralisation and a greater risk of osteoporosis and fractures as we age.

Vitamin D can stimulate the body’s production of anti-viral and anti-bacterial proteins, making it an effective nutrient to boost immunity and protect against colds and flu. People with low levels of this vitamin are 40% more likely to visit their GP with respiratory infections. Deficiency is also associated with increased risk of auto-immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

Who is effected by vitamin D deficiencies?

Some people are more at risk of vitamin deficiencies than others. Those at greater risk include babies from birth to one year old, children aged between one and four and the elderly.

Vitamin D synthesis is also inhibited by lack of sunshine or covering up with clothes. Pregnant and breast-feeding mothers and people with darker skin pigmentation may also have inadequate UV exposure.

can Vitamin supplements help?

Public Health England has recommended that everyone considers taking vitamin D supplements in autumn and winter to ensure they get enough of this essential vitamin.

vitamin d

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Putting Pharma Nord supplements to the test

With what’s being called the “Liverpool Lurgy” sweeping across the country in recent weeks, I’ve felt it prudent to step up my vitamin intake. The Liverpool Lurgy is a nasty lingering virus which is knocking people for six, and I can do without that right now. I’m a big believer in taking Zinc to ward off colds and when I was asked by Pharma Nord, Northern Europe’s largest manufacturer of pharmaceutical grade vitamins and supplements if I’d like to sample some of their supplements, top of my list were their Zinc lozenges. 

The lozenges are Pharma Nord’s Bio-InfluZinc + C supplement (the pink box below). They contain Zinc and a natural source of vitamin C taken from Acerola cherry extract. Zinc and Vitamin C contribute to the normal function of the immune system. The Zinc lozenges deliver the active ingredients to the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat, you dissolve them slowly in the mouth and you can take 3-6 of them a day. They suggest that a high intake of Zinc may be useful for brief periods of 7-10 days if you feel a cold coming on. Zinc can reduce the length and severity of your cold.

pharma nord

The Bio-InfluZinc + C supplement costs around £7.99 for a box of 90 tablets. You don’t have to take them every day, just when you feel you might be coming down with something and also whilst you have your cold. You can chew or suck these lozenges, whichever suits you. They have a mild and pleasant orange flavour and they’re not chalky in texture, so I quite enjoyed taking them. 

About 10 days ago I started to come down with a cold, whenever I get a cold it tends to fairly quickly turn into tonsillitis, something I’m understandably keen to avoid. As soon as I started to feel unwell I started to take the lozenges. I was pleasantly surprised when after three days my sore throat just disappeared and didn’t turn into something nasty. I can’t be absolutely sure that the zinc lozenges helped, but it’s the first time in a couple of years I’ve not ended up on antibiotics. I’ll definitely be keeping a box of the Pharma Nord Bio-InfluZinc + C supplements on hand in future.

Pharma Nord also let me try their Bio-MSM + Silica tablets. These came in a box of 120 tablets and retail for around £12.95. The Bio-MSM + Silica tablets contain MSM (methyl sulphonyl methane) and Silica. MSM is a naturally occurring organic sulphur-containing substance, which is found in grain products, legumes, eggs and red meat. Vegetable Silica, an extract of the herb horsetail grass, is a natural source of the essential trace mineral silicon.

The MSM +Silica tablets are taken to help the formation of bone and collagen in connective tissue and for healthy skin, hair and nails. MSM and silica help maintain the flexibility of joints and arteries. As someone with a bad back and the general aches and pains which come with age, I thought these would be a good supplement to take, plus I’d heard they could be helpful in reducing period pain, something I do suffer with. These tablets are suitable for vegans and vegetarians which is fantastic for me as a lot of supplements with these benefits are not vegetarian.

Pharma Nord

You take two  of the Bio-MSM + Silica tablets each day. They’re a good shape for swallowing and I had no problems taking them. I often find I gag on large tablets but these were not too big for me. You take these with water and I didn’t find they left an aftertaste or anything like that. 

I always find the effects of taking vitamins and supplements very difficult to quantify, they generally take a month or so to take effect. It’s hard for me to say for certain what has changed for me over the last month of taking the tablets. I have a vague feeling that skin and eczema are a little better and that my period pain was less than in the previous month. I suspect I’ll have to take the tablets for a little while to really notice a difference, but I’m feeling positive that small improvements are on the horizon.

Pharma Nord supplements are pharmaceutical grade and their effectiveness has been rigorously tested. I’m cautious about making any claims, but I will continue taking the Bio-MSM + Silica and I’ll see how I get on with them, and I’ll be keeping a box of the Pharma Nord Bio-InfluZinc + C supplements close at hand from now on.

You can see the full range of Pharma Nord supplements on their website.

I was sent these Pharma Nord supplements to try out for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own.

Review: Seven Seas Perfect7 Supplements

This year I’ll be 40 and although I try and look after myself as best I can, I’m well aware that I’m starting to age. I hate taking loads of tablets so I was looking for a good all rounder, something that would suit someone of my age and something that would help me fend off creakiness for a little while longer. I was sent some Seven Seas Perfect7 to try out.

Seven Seas Perfect7 comes in two different kinds, one for men and one for women. I tried the Seven Seas Perfect7 Woman which contains a blend of Marine Oil with Omega-3, plus essential multivitamins and minerals. The specially developed formula encourages the effective absorption of nutrients to support you from the inside as you get older.

Seven Seas Perfect7

Seven Seas have identified 7 key needs for women and have developed Perfect7 Woman to try and meet those specific needs. Perfect7 Woman has been scientifically designed to support:

  • Skin & Nails – Zinc helps to maintain normal skin and nails
  • Hair – Biotin contributes to the maintenance of normal hair
  • Energy – Magnesium contributes to energy yielding metabolism
  • Brain – DHA contributes to normal brain function
  • Vision – Vitamin B2 contributes to maintenance of normal vision
  • Heart – EPA & DHA contribute to the normal function of the heart
  • Hormonal Activity – Vitamin B6 helps to regulate hormonal activity

Seven Seas Perfect7 comes as a 30 day duo pack. It contains two different tablets to take each day with water. There is one slightly squashy marine oil tablet and one brown speckled tablet. They are shaped like little bullets and although they’re not small, I managed to swallow them easily. I hate taking tablets and often gag them back up, but these were fine for me.

I’ve been taking the Seven Seas Perfect7 for a little over 3 weeks now, although it’s probably too early for me to notice much of a difference, I have noticed that my normally brittle and flaky nails are a bit stronger than they have been for a while and my skin is glowing a bit more, several people have commented about that recently. 

I find the tablets easy to take and as they are a good all rounder, containing the following vitamins and minerals. 

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B12
  • Biotin
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Selenium
  • Chromium
  • Iodine

The marine oil tablets contain both fish oil and gelatin making them not suitable for vegetarians which is a shame. I would like it if a vegetarian version of these supplements were available so veggies could take advantage of the benefits of Perfect7.

For me Seven Seas Perfect7 is worth sticking with, in two tablets I can get pretty much everything I need to supplement my diet and hopefully see me into middle age in a more sprightly fashion.

You can find out more about Seven Seas Perfect7 on their website.

Kids Health: The Smart Kids range from Bioglan

Like most parents I have a niggling worry that despite his love of broccoli that somehow my boy is lacking the essential nutrients he needs in order to thrive. Last October he had to take a week off school and was really quite poorly, he had a very nasty ear infection and spent the week on the sofa looking miserable. I’m keen to make sure he’s as healthy as possible so his body can fight off future infections. I was interested to try the Smart Kids range of supplements and to see how my boy liked them.

bioglan

We were sent the full range to try, here’s what the small boy thought…

Smart Kids Omega 3 Brain Formula
These supplements contain Omega 3, B Vitamins and Iron which all play a vital role in transporting oxygen to the brain and the rest of the body, as well as contributes to the normal cognitive development of children. I tried these first and they are little gummy  capsules which you chew and they have a squirty liquid inside which tastes of citrus. I really didn’t think he’d like these very much, but once he’d bitten into one he enjoyed it. Half the battle is getting kids to take the tablet and this is a little bit different.

Smart Kids Fussy Eaters Multi

These  multivitamins have been designed for fussy eaters, they contain a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals. The tablets are small, chewy and taste of red berries, they’re also a bit fizzy in your mouth, these were my favourite. I warned the boy that they were fizzy and he made that lovely “sherbet face” you get when you eat something slightly sour. I’d be very happy to take these and I think he would too.

Smart Kids Happy Tummies
These were his very favourite, though he was skeptical at first. They are strawberry yoghurt balls designed to boost your child’s live culture intake and provide their tummies with the good bacteria they need. He loved these so much he would happily eat them as sweets and kept demanding more, which we didn’t give him obviously.

Smart Kids Superfood Shake

This is a very different product and I was looking forward to trying it out with him. I don’t know a child who doesn’t love a milkshake so this is potentially a great way to get some extra nutrients inside them without much fuss. The milkshake is apparently packed with lots of hidden fruit and veg. It’s simple enough to make, just mix it with milk, but it doesn’t dissolve like normal milkshake powder so you do need to whisk it. He did drink it and say it was yummy, but he did take his time over it and I thought it smelt a bit veggie. I’m not sure it’s something he’d drink every day, but as an occasional boost when he’s run down I think it would work well.

bioglan

I like the fact that the Smart Kids range from Bioglan has thought about different ways to help supplement and boost kids’ diets. I’d like to see more of the yoghurt ball style of supplement because that’s what our boy likes the best, but all kids are different and differently fussy and I think there is something for everyone in this range.

Bioglan supplements are widely available from a range of retailers.

Note: We were sent this selection of Smart Kids supplements for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.