How Vitamin D Supports Senior Health
“The sun is so beautiful today! Let’s walk outside to brighten up and get Vitamin D!” is something you hear during summer or good sunlight days. Technically the sunlight does not directly provide you with the vitamin, it is rather your body that produces it when it is exposed to Ultraviolet Rays.1
The D and Your Bones
In your body, the liver and kidneys convert the inert form of Vitamin D to a form your body can use for better calcium absorption for your bones. Why do seniors need better calcium absorption? Because as you age, bone replacement becomes less efficient and becomes brittle that you get the Osteoporosis bone disease (porous bones). So the more active Vitamin D a senior has in their blood, it improves muscle function, your skeletal muscles. If you don’t get enough, cause calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood to decrease, leading to your body over-mining calcium from bones to help maintain the levels.2
When Do You Know You Don’t Have Enough of the D? How Do You Get More of it?
Not enough sunlight isn’t the only thing that causes Vitamin D deficiencies in older adults. Here are a couple of things to watch out for:
- Weakened Muscles
This is strongly linked to when you don’t have a sufficient amount of Vitamin D. Here, you will often feel heaviness in the limbs, mainly the leg, have a hard time going up the stairs, and become at risk for falls and fractures that can be detrimental. Because Vitamin D is needed for good circulation and calcium absorption, you need it for properly functioning muscles, bones, and teeth.3
- Mood Changes, Cognitive Functions & Fatigue
When a senior or just about anyone feels tired, they often think of it as they have not eaten enough or slept enough or not enough hydration, but not how they might not have enough Vitamin D. This vitamin is converted to an active hormone in the body and regulates the immunity functions and influences moods (dopamine and serotonin levels). So if there is insufficient amount, a senior may lose cognitive function, pain in joints, stabbing pain in ribs, and always feel tired. If going outside often is not an option, get Vitamin D through food.
- So How Do You Get the D?
No, you can’t just sit by the window for sunlight. You need UVB to trigger the synthesis of Vitamin D because commercial glass on windows blocks it. You need direct sunlight so about 10 minutes a day outside is about adequate. As for food, you can get some of it from salmon, egg yolk, exotic swordfish, and fortified food like dairy, juices, cereals, or supplements like Ensure Gold. 5 , 5 and HMB (Hydroxyl methyl butyrate) for preserving muscles and all to fill in the nutrition gaps in adults. Along with strength and resistance training as recommended by a Medical Professional to keep the physical health in shape, a sufficient amount of Vitamin D will significantly keep a senior healthier overall. 1, 3 , 4 ,