Research indicates that adequate vitamin D will help with everything from better brains to better bones!
Vitamin D deficiency can have serious health effects for seniors. Getting enough vitamin D through diet, sun exposure, and supplements can help prevent falls and physical injury. Vitamin D can boost immunity, improve muscle movement, slow mental decline and control high blood pressure. At Warm Valley Lodge assisted living we have nutritious menus, regular exercise, medication and supplement management and trips out into the sunshine!
Studies have found there are several factors that put seniors at greater risk for vitamin D deficiency. Age related changes in skin decreases its ability to synthesize sunlight into vitamin D. Also in the winter months, time spent indoors prevents vitamin D from reaching and penetrating the skin. The body’s ability to process the vitamin D is diminished because the kidney function decreases with age. Research indicates Vitamin D deficiency contributes to hip fractures, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, mental decline, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and general poor health.
Research at the U.C. Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center has found “Vitamin D deficiency in seniors is highly correlated with cognitive decline and impaired performance, especially with memory loss that is associated with dementia. The effect on individuals with low vitamin D declining at a rate three times faster than those with adequate vitamin D levels”.
Some possible symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency;
- General muscle pain and weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Joint pain
- Chronic pain
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Restless sleep
- Poor concentration
- Bladder problems
- Research suggests 10 minutes of sun exposure at least three times a week, without sunscreen
- Supplements, such as a multivitamin, help if approved by a physician.
- Choose foods high in vitamin D such as cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, beef liver, cheese and egg yolks.
- Foods fortified with vitamin D which include milk, yogurt, breakfast cereals and juice drinks.
A recent study by The New England Journal of Medicine found “a dosage of vitamin D varies from person to person; the study showed a daily dose of at least 800 international units of vitamin D will consistently prevent broken bones. This dosage reduced the risk of hip fractures by 30 percent and other breaks by 14 percent.”