Vitamin D is one of the most essential nutrients out there. While everyone knows the importance of vitamins C and E, vitamin D is growing in popularity.
This key nutrient has the following benefits:
- Strengthens bones
- Builds muscle
- Supports the immune system
- Boosts oral health
- Aids in weight loss
These are just a few advantages of this vital nutrient. While vitamin D is important at any age, it’s even more crucial if you’re older. Keep reading to learn the importance of vitamin D for seniors.
Vitamin D is Great for Mental Health
Vitamin D is used to treat mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. As a growing number of the senior population suffers from mental health issues, vitamin D can be a beneficial treatment option. In fact, according to a 2017 study that involved 5,600 older adults, low levels of vitamin D and depressive symptoms had a correlation. These seniors reported loneliness, sleep disturbances, and a decrease of enjoyment in everyday life.
While these are interesting findings, more research must be done to further validate these claims. However, there is a growing belief that vitamin D can help treat depressive symptoms.
Vitamin D Can Help Prevent Infection
Ensuring an adequate amount of vitamin D for seniors is a proactive approach to optimal long-term health. In fact, this key nutrient has been linked to the prevention of infection and certain cancers. From the flu to colon cancer, vitamin D can be an effective prevention tool.
This works because vitamin D has the ability to manage immune cells. That said, vitamin D for seniors puts these individuals at a lower risk of developing colon cancer and various blood cancers. Additionally, this nutrient can strengthen the immune system, leading to fewer colds and everyday illnesses. Vitamin D is especially good for your respiratory system.
Beneficial for Bone Health
While a variety of things can happen to our bodies as we age, our bones are especially affected. Luckily, vitamin D is the perfect nutrient for strengthening these areas of the body.
One condition that impacts as many as 16% of seniors is osteoporosis. This is a condition that causes bones to weaken and become brittle. While this can lead to a lower quality of life, it can also cause serious health problems and dangerous situations. Those with osteoporosis are more prone to severe falls and other home safety complications.
Vitamin D for seniors is a useful tool for treating this debilitating condition. This nutrient provides relief by simply defending against bone softening. As an added tip, elders are encouraged to take calcium along with a vitamin D supplement. Studies show that this supplement combination can result in more significant bone growth.
Vitamin D Aids in Weight Loss
Being overweight isn’t ideal at any age, but it can have a more serious impact if you’re elderly. But no matter your weight, adults over the age of 65 are already at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. That said, if you’re an overweight senior, taking vitamin D supplements is encouraged by many health professionals.
Similar to strengthening bones, taking vitamin D with calcium can lead to even more weight loss. Many doctors claim that these supplements taken together help to suppress appetite.
If you’re looking to drop the pounds, taking vitamin D for seniors shouldn’t be your only approach. You should also try the following:
- Burn more calories than you consume
- Limit foods with little or no nutritional value
- Eat more protein
- Stay hydrated
- Practice strength training
If you’re able to combine these activities with an adequate amount of vitamin D and calcium, you’ll work towards losing weight and feeling your best.
Vitamin D Supports Strong Oral Health
Taking vitamin D for seniors can also lead to oral health improvements. Since this nutrient helps our body effectively absorb calcium, it can strengthen our teeth and gums. That said, vitamin D decreases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Some health professionals believe vitamin D has these benefits because of its effect on bone metabolism. These specialists also claim the nutrient has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
It's Easy to Not Get Enough
While vitamin D is found in sunshine and a variety of foods, it isn’t everywhere. Also, it isn’t found in many of the foods we eat every day. This is why many people take vitamin D supplements. If you’ve been spending a lot of time indoors and you don’t consistently eat fish, dairy products, or eggs, it may be wise to take vitamin D supplements. These can be found online or at any health and wellness store.
Not sure how much vitamin D you should consume? While it isn’t advised to take more vitamin D than you need, taking too little can also have some negative effects. The recommended daily dosage of vitamin D is 600 international units (IU) for people aged 1 to 70. For infants, that number drops to 400. For seniors, a daily dose of 800 IU is recommended.
Unfortunately, the average daily diet and time spent in the sun don't usually add up to this recommended daily dosage. In fact, most people will only consume around 300 IU of vitamin D per day. This is why it makes a lot of sense to take supplements of this nutrient, especially for seniors.
Since vitamin D can bring many benefits to your physical and mental health, it should definitely be included in your daily supplement regimen.