Taking pills seems to become a daily task for older people. If doctors won’t prescribe them, we will go out and buy them for ourselves.
I have written a lot about the exploits of Pilly Galore whose experience and expectation of GPs are typical of many older people. (Click on PILLS in the TAG CLOUD to see earlier posts).
A whole industry has grown up around vitamin and mineral supplements, and every high street now has a “Natural Health Care” shop. The advice on what to take seems to be as much based on advertising as it is on medical evidence. What you take depends on what worries you have about your health.
One example is calcium supplements which many older women take as a precaution against osteoporosis. Additional calcium is recommended by the Food Standards Agency, who suggest ensuring you get 700 milligrams a day. The problem is that it is impossible to judge how much calcium you consume routinely in milk, cheese and green leafy vegetables. So a pill is the quick and easy solution.
Now for the downside:-
Research from the University of Auckland found that those who took calcium supplements had an 86% increased risk of a heart attack.