Vitamin D is typically associated with bone health, but also plays an important role in the body’s immune system.
For most people, sunlight is the most important source of vitamin D, but is a supplement necessary too?
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important nutrients for bone health, but vitamin D deficiency is common among seniors.
Because seniors typically drink less milk and spend fewer hours outside, they aren’t getting all the vitamin D they need.
Sunlight may not be enough.
Researchers have suggested that it takes up to 30 minutes of sun exposure twice a week to make a sufficient amount of vitamin D from sunlight.
According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, most Americans are getting enough vitamin D and calcium, although older men and women may fall short.
Some foods – like dairy products and orange juice – are fortified with vitamin D. Other foods like fatty fish and salmon, beef liver, cheese and egg yolks are also a good source of vitamin D.
How do you know if you’re getting enough vitamin D?
Seniors should talk to their health care professional and check their vitamin D levels before starting a supplement. You may be low on vitamin D if you live in the northern part of the country or spend most of your time indoors.
In general, older people can achieve healthy levels of vitamin D by taking the recommended 800 IU of vitamin D a day.
Vitamin D is critical to bone strength and also aids in muscle movement, regulates cell growth and helps fight infections. Another study indicates that vitamin D may play a role in cognitive function and vascular disease.
Vitamin D also triggers an array of beneficial processes in the immune system. Studies show that higher vitamin D levels equate to lower risk of infection and inflammation
If you start supplementation and begin to feel sick, tired or weak, contact your doctor.
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