21 Jul 2020

Vitamin VIPs: The Experts’ Picks

We all know that vitamins and minerals are essential for our health, keeping our immune systems strong, our bones sturdy and our energy levels high. Most of us get sufficient nutrients from our food, especially if we eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Occasionally, though, we might need a helping hand, particularly if we’re facing health challenges. This is where supplements come in, boosting the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

At Hickeys’ Pharmacy, we provide medication, advice and wellbeing support to a broad range of people, from office-workers to builders, students to retirees, and every member of the community in between. Our staff are trained in health and wellbeing support, with years of experience in recommending vitamins and minerals - we understand that our patients have varied needs, particularly at different stages in their lives. We spoke to our in-house experts around the country to get their top picks of the best supplements for you, your family, and the busy lifestyles you lead.

1. For Overall Good Health

If you just want to boost your general health, a multivitamin is a great way to cover lots of bases.

High quality formulations such as the Irish made super supplement Revive Active offers a wide range of vitamins and minerals that will help those living active lifestyles. Their 26 active ingredients - including CoQ10, zinc and vitamin C - are specially designed to contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue as well as supporting the immune system, heart health and normal fertility.

Danielle, Supervising Pharmacist at Hickey’s Pharmacy in Tallaght, Dublin noticed that patients are choosing to supplement their wellbeing more than ever. “We’ve had a heightened demand for multivitamins in particular,” she says, noting that people are keen to ensure their natural defenses are in tip-top condition. “Vitamin C and zinc helps to keep the immune system strong so we can put our best foot forward.”

2. To Support Active Lifestyles

Many of us are trying to move more too, whether it’s going for a walk in the park, a cycle on the roads, or even a swim in the sea. That can mean extra aches and pains, particularly if you train a lot, if you’ve had an injury before, or if you tend to get joint stiffness.

Revive Active Joint Complex is an all-in-one solution that can help with this problem: its special formulation includes 10 ingredients designed by experts to optimise joint health. Presented in a powder sachet, the Joint Complex is a super supplement, containing Peptan marine collagen, hyaluronic acid, and other key vitamins and minerals to support cartilage, bones, connective tissue and muscle function. Taken together with a healthy diet and lifestyle, this supplement can help reduce stiffness, ease joint pain and increase mobility, so the only thing holding you back from that swim is the temperature of the water!

3. To Ease Digestive Problems

Stomach problems can really put the brakes on a busy life, leaving us with cramps, bloating and irregular bowel movements. Sometimes the problem is caused by ‘bad’ bacteria (such as in the case of food poisoning) while other times, it’s caused by a lack of ‘good’ bacteria (which can happen after a course of antibiotics or a period of stress).

We need plenty of good bacteria for optimum health, and live bacteria supplements - also known as probiotics or microbiotics - can help to rebalance gut flora, soothing digestion and easing tummy trouble.

At Hickey’s Pharmacy, we stock the award-winning probiotic Alflorex, which contains the unique 35624 bacterial culture, clinically tested by leading scientists and gastroenterologists to help create a healthy gut environment. It’s dairy free, gluten free, soya free, sugar free, and suitable for those following the FODMAP diet.

A pharmacy favourite for gut health is Udo’s Choice Super 8, which has 42 billion ‘friendly’ bacteria per capsule. It contains eight different strains of lacto and bifido bacteria, and is guaranteed to survive passage through stomach acid, so the good stuff gets to where it’s needed most. We keep our Super 8 supplies in a fridge, to make sure it stays potent and ready when you are.

4. To Boost Vitamin D Levels

With so much knowledge and experience in the wellbeing sector, we practice what we preach, and that means taking our own supplements too: “Vitamin D has been a big one over the last few months,” says Laura, Supervising Pharmacist at Hickey’s Pharmacy, Wheaton Hall, Drogheda. “Everyone’s been looking for it lately, and we’ve all been taking it in store as well.”

Vitamin D helps keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy and it supports good brain, lung and heart health. If we don’t have enough of this vitamin in our systems, we can run into trouble with our immune systems, our energy levels and perhaps even our moods too. Most of us get sufficient vitamin D from two places: a healthy diet and direct sunlight. Oily fish, red meat, egg yolks and fortified cereals are all good sources. If you don’t eat these foods regularly, your vitamin D levels may be running low.

In normal circumstances, we would usually get plenty of vitamin D from sunlight during the summer months. However, many of us don’t get outside as much as we’d like to, so we might not be getting enough of this hugely beneficial vitamin.

Mylan’s Vitamin D3 2000IU is made in Ireland and is available in Hickeys’ Pharmacy. It’s a high-quality food supplement that supports the health of our bones, our immune systems and our normal muscle function. It’s just a one-a-day tablet, so it’s easy to make it part of your regular routine.

It’s important not to exceed the recommended levels, though - talk to any member of our staff if you’d like to know more about the ‘sunshine vitamin’.

5. For Your Kids’ Health

Most of the time, children get all the vitamins and minerals they need from a healthy diet, an active lifestyle, and plenty of time outdoors. If they’ve been unwell or if you just want to give their overall health a boost, a supplement can really help. As anybody who’s spent time with children knows, they can be picky eaters, and it’s not always easy to get them to eat their greens!

Vivioptal Junior is specially formulated for small tummies, containing child-appropriate levels of vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and antioxidants. The expert blend includes vitamins A, D and E, the vitamin B complex and folic acid. Designed to support rapid growth and brain, bone and muscle development, Vivioptal Junior is suitable for children of all ages from one and up. Plus, it comes in handy liquid form, with a delicious orange flavour your little one will be happy to enjoy with their breakfast every morning.

Our Experts are There for You

Choosing the right products for you and your family can be a challenge, especially as many vitamins and minerals have similar names - it sometimes feels like wading through alphabet soup!

All Hickey’s Pharmacy staff are trained so they can offer personalised, qualified advice on health and wellbeing. If you have a question, want to check some information or aren’t sure where to start, they’d be delighted to chat with you.