Ruth Overstreet opened Ruth’s Health Foods in 1999, and in 2021 she’s selling all kinds of supplements that can help people of all ages — she notes many are of particular interest to senior citizens.

The first thing Overstreet mentioned is the benefit of a multivitamin.

“There’s a lot of controversy on whether you should take vitamins or not; doctors will tell you eat from the food groups, but hey, who does anymore? And sometimes you can’t, and as you get older you don’t eat liked you used to eat,” she said. “So, every other day, two or three times a week just kind of covers their basics.”

Vitamin C is always good to take and helps boost the immune system, Overstreet said.

“I cannot tell you how many customers tell me when their allergies flare up they say all they do is increase their Vitamin C,” she said. “You can take, especially if you’re fighting something, anywhere from 500 to 10,000 (milligrams) a day, just depending on what’s going on. And of course you know with COVID that’s one of the things I recommend taking is the C to keep your immune system up.”

B12 is one that several senior citizens have mentioned to Overstreet as working for them. She recalled one customer, a very active woman, who was having trouble going up steps without getting sore. B12 helped.

“So B12 helps with the muscles, gives you energy,” she said. “B12 is also one of the ones that does not store up in your system, so hence the need to take it every day. B is sold in micrograms, so most people take like 1,000 micrograms, but you can take more than that if you want to. I even had some call it their energy pill.”

Fish oil is an anti-inflammatory that works great for the memory and help with focus and concentration, Overstreet said.

“As we age, we lose that ability to concentrate or to focus on more than one thing at a time, and so your fish oils have two main components, and they’re long words that stand for something acid,” she said. “One is EPA. That is the component that works well for the cardiovascular system, for the lungs. Most people that have heart problems take the fish oils. It helps with cholesterol and a number of things. The other one is another word for something acid, starts with a D. DHA. That is the one that works with the brain to help us focus, concentrate, remember. I can tell when I take mine, and when I don’t; it works that well.”

Something to remember with supplements is they can take a little longer to work than medicine, Overstreet said.

“If we get a headache, we take Excedrin, Tylenol, something like that, and those work right away; it just masks the symptoms,” Overstreet said. “Whereas in the natural field, it kind of gets to the underlying cause, so it may take just a little bit longer before you see results... and then the other thing to your supplements is finding the one that works well for your system. You can get a prescription, works great for one person and won’t do anything for the next. That’s why there’s so many out there that do the same. Same way with your herbs, your natural supplements — find the one that works well for your system. Some will work better than others.”

The highlight of supplements is that they don’t have side effects, Overstreet said.

“Prescription drugs do, and sometimes people can take them better than prescription,” she said. “But I never tell them to stop taking them; that’s a decision they need to make themselves. And then the whole point of your supplement is to make it a better quality of aging. The body quits doing what it did when we were younger, and it breaks down. So it just helps us to function a little bit better, things like that. So that’s the highlight of your supplement, and eating is always a plus, but then like we said sometimes we can’t eat like we should, so it just helps us to accomplish what we need to do and make it a better quality of aging.”

Ruth’s Health Foods is opened Wednesday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays until noon. They offer a 10 percent discount to those aged 60 and above and take cash or check as payment. The store is located at 101 N. Adams St. in Carthage.

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