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Does Vitamin D Help Your Bones

Sunburn And Skin Damage

Calcium and Vitamin D Help Hormones Help Bones Following Menopause

If your skin is exposed to the sun for more than 10 minutes, always use sunblock or sunscreen. And avoid exposing your skin to direct sunlight in the middle of the day when the sun it at its strongest.

Don’t be tempted to not wear sunscreen for long periods to increase your vitamin D levels. You may do more damage to your skin than good for your bones.

Babies and children have very sensitive skin, so need careful protection.

How Much Vitamin D Do Your Bones & Muscles Need

Similar to our Disease Incidence Prevention chart, the table below, adapted from a paper Sports Health Benefits of Vitamin D by Shuler et al., illustrates the impact of different levels of vitamin D on multiple aspects of the musculoskeletal system. As mentioned above, up to 99% of rickets cases can be prevented at levels of 20 ng/ml , however, additional benefits for bone and muscle health can be seen with higher vitamin D levels. Studies have also shown that maintaining a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml resulted in a decreased risk of bone fracture and stress fracture. Fast-twitch muscle fibers have been shown to be especially sensitive to vitamin D levels, which are important for burst activities and fall avoidance. Overall, cumulative research has shown that peak musculoskeletal performance may occur with a vitamin D level of at least 50 ng/ml.

How Is A Vitamin D Deficiency Diagnosed

Your doctor can order a blood test to measure your levels of vitamin D. There are two types of tests that might be ordered, but the most common is the 25-hydroxyvitamin D, known as 25D for short. For the blood test, a technician will use a needle to take blood from a vein. You do not need to fast or otherwise prepare for this type of test.

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Can Help Lower Your Chances Of Catching The Flu

Research has found that vitamin D might offer protection against the influenza virus. The theory is that vitamin D may boost the immune response to infection to keep you flu-free. Although further studies are needed to confirm whether vitamin D can help you ward off the flu, it is possible that getting enough vitamin D in your system can reduce your risk of coming down with the flu.

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Vitamin D Can Help Treat Hypertension

According to a 2019 review published in the journal Current Protein & Peptide Science suggests that vitamin D may play a role in treatment of high blood pressureone of the markers of cardiovascular diseasesays Newgent. According to authors of the review, even short-term vitamin D deficiency may directly raise BP and promote target organ damage. The researchers went on to add that, “due to the high correlation between vitamin D and hypertension, vitamin D supplementation therapy may be a new insight in the treatment of hypertension.”

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Vitamin Ds Role In The Body

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin is another important player when it comes to bone health. The general physiological functions of vitamin D include promoting strong bones, properly functioning muscles, and encouraging an effective immune system. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones because your body requires it to absorb calcium and acts to prevent hypocalcemia . Further, it is needed for bone growth and bone remodeling.

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What Is Vitamin D

Also known as calciferol, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin thats vital to maintaining your bodys normal processes. As a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D is present in foods containing fats. Vitamin D can also be supplied by certain fortified foods, dietary supplements and sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for helping the body absorb calcium, conduct normal cellular functions and carry out other physiological processes.

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How To Get Enough Vitamin D

As of 2014, experts predicted that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of vitamin D or a deficiency making it one of the most common vitamin deficiencies. If you suspect you are low in vitamin D, you should ask your doctor for a test. This way you can make sure you are supplementing the right levels if you do need more. Always ask your doctor before starting a new supplement.

The recommendation for vitamin D for adults is between 600-800 IU, although that number is up for debate among the science and medical community.

There are three ways to get vitamin D: through food , from direct sun exposure on your skin and through supplements.

Why Is Bone Density So Important

Humans lose 1-2% of their bone density every year after age 501 meaning you can have frail bones without knowing. That’s why a bone density scan is so important. Unfortunately, most people only find out they have bone density issues after suffering from a broken bone. The fact of the matter is that, after age 50, half of all women and a quarter of all men will break a bone due to low bone density. Even worse, 50% of those who break a hip later in life never fully recover, 10% end up in a nursing home, and 33% die within a year. 2

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For Our Readers Explain What Vitamin D Does In The Body How Does Vitamin D Affect Bone Development And Repair In Seniors

Vitamin D is a prohormone that helps our immune system function properly and keeps our bodys inflammation at bay. It is obtained from the sun, milk, shiitake mushrooms, and fortified dairy products. Some milk alternatives are fortified with vitamin D and some are not.

Vitamin D deficiency is quite prevalent due to the fact that is not commonly found in our food supply, and in the northern parts of the country, synthesis is impaired during the winter months. Other factors that increase the incidence of vitamin D deficiency include being obese, as the vitamin becomes sequestered into fat cells, therefore making it unavailable heavy use of sunscreen having dark skin and being over the age of 70.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked with every disease that we know of including, but not limited to, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and many more. In addition, utilization of vitamin D is a two-step process involving the liver and the kidneys. Vitamin D is stored in the liver, and when it is needed for use by the body, it travels to the kidneys to be converted to the active form. If there is injury or disease in either of these organs, it can impact a persons ability to utilize vitamin D.

Vitamin D Strengthens Your Bones

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Vitamin D is famous for its bone-building and strengthening powers. vitamin D promotes absorption of calcium in your gut, which ultimately allows for normal mineralization of your bones,Jackie Newgent, RDN, culinary nutritionist and author of The Clean & Simple Diabetes Cookbook, tells Health. Basically, the calcium that benefits your bones wouldn’t be able to do its job without vitamin D. You need vitamin D for bone growthand to prevent bones from becoming brittle. When teamed with calcium, it can help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that signifies that the density and quality of bone are reduced, she adds.

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Can You Get Vitamin D Through Windows

While sunlight can pass through window glass, the UVB wavelengths in sunlight cannot, according to the NIH.

Because you need UVB exposure to jump-start the vitamin D production process, sunlight that passes through a window cannot increase your vitamin D levels, even if it strikes bare skin.

Bottom line: You won’t get any vitamin D from absorbing sunlight through windows or glass and you need direct sunlight for vitamin D.

How Much Vitamin D Should You Get

The amount you need depends on your age:

  • 600 IU a day for people ages 1 to 70, including women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • 800 IU a day for anyone over 70

Some experts think that these recommendations are too low, especially for people who are more likely to get the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. Ask your doctor how much vitamin D is best for you.

It is possible to get too much vitamin D. Doses above 4,000 IU a day can be harmful for people ages 9 and older. Its hard to get that much from food, but it might happen if you take too many vitamin D supplements.

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How Much Vitamin D Do You Need

In healthy people, the amount of vitamin D needed per day varies by age. The chart below shows the often-cited recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, now the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. It is important to know that these are general recommendations. If your doctor is checking your blood levels, he or she might recommend higher or lower doses based on your individual needs.

If you have osteoporosis, your doctor might suggest a blood test of your vitamin D levels. The amount of vitamin D supplement can be customized for each person, based on the results. For many older patients, a vitamin D supplement containing anywhere between 800 to 2000 IUs daily, which can be obtained without a prescription, can be both safe and beneficial. It is important to speak with your doctor about your individual needs.

People by age

*refers to adequate intake vs recommended dietary allowance of the other age groups.

Food Sources Of Vitamin D

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“Vitamin D naturally occurs in egg yolks, beef liver, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, swordfish or sardines and fish liver oils. Unfortunately, vitamin D isn’t naturally occurring in lots of foods, which is why some foods have vitamin D added to them. Vitamin D is added to cereals, dairy and plant milks and orange juice,” Tolentino says.

Even though you can get vitamin D from food, it’s difficult to get enough from that source on its own since the amount of vitamin D in most foods is pretty small. “It’s not that easy to get your daily recommended intake of vitamin D through food. We’re just not eating large quantities of most of these foods. How much beef liver or sardines are you realistically eating every day?” Tolentino says.

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Vitamin D Intake And Status

Until recently, it was generally assumed that enough vitamin D was synthesized from sun exposure to meet requirements and no recommendations for dietary intakes for adults aged 18-65 yrs were set. However, research highlighting the effects of low vitamin D status has indicated the importance of vitamin D in the diet. Within Ireland, the Food Safety Authority for Ireland has set a wide range of 0-10 g/d for adults while in the UK there is no reference nutrient intake for adults , only for those over 65 yrs and pregnant and lactating women . In the US, adequate intakes are set at 5 g/d and 10 g/d which also correspond with the WHO/FAO Expert Group recommended intakes .

As mentioned earlier, the dietary intake of vitamin D required to prevent vitamin D deficiency and ensure optimal vitamin D status will vary depending on sun exposure preferences. A recent study concluded that to maintain 25D > 25 nmol/L in 97.5% of the population during wintertime the recommended dietary allowances should be set at 8.7ug/d. However, the authors also calculated that a dietary intake of 12.1ug/d would be required to prevent deficiency among sun avoiders . Such intakes are considerably higher than estimated vitamin D intakes in Ireland , the UK , the US and other European countries .

Other Ways Vitamin D Can Help Your Bones

The report from Nutrients also discusses the relationship between vitamin D and one of the biggest risk factors for bone fracture: falling at an old age. This report states that vitamin D can help strengthen muscles and help reduce the risk of falling.

The report also highlights the possibility that vitamin D can help lower inflammation, which in turn can help lower the risk of osteoporosis, although more research still needs to be done.

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It Stimulates The Production Of Endorphins

Endorphins are natural body chemicals that act similarly to opioids but without the negative side effects, reducing pain and elevating mood. According to one 2007 study, the popularity of tanning beds stemmed from the rush of this feel-good hormone that people experienced when exposed to ultraviolet light. Many addictions can be helped by correcting an underlying vitamin D deficiency.

Health Effects Of Too Much Vitamin D

Your bones get plenty of vitamin D from the Sun

As good as Vitamin D is for you, it is possible to have too much of it. For example, you can experience Vitamin D toxicity if you take too much through supplements. “Vitamin D is in a group of vitamins, which are fat-soluble, unlike the more common vitamins like C and B, which are water-soluble,” says Cutler.

If you take too many water-soluble vitamins, they’ll go through your kidneys and be flushed out through urination. However, fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D can get absorbed into your body’s fatty tissue, liver, and even the brain, according to Cutler. So, your body has a harder time removing excess amounts. That’s why it’s important not to overdose on any fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin D.

Signs of vitamin D toxicity include nausea, vomiting, weakness, confusion, and even kidney damage. Cutler says that this really only can happen from taking too many supplements. According to Mayo Clinic, the daily recommended amount of vitamin D for children and adults is 600 IU. A toxic level is around 4,000 IU. Your body will not produce toxic amounts of vitamin D from sun exposure.

Additionally, while some people believe vitamin D has anti-cancer properties, the opposite can be true. A study, published in the International Journal of Cancer in 2019, found a link between high levels of vitamin D with higher incidences of skin, prostate, and blood cancers, but a lower incidence of lung cancer.

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Too Much Of A Good Thing: Overdoing Vitamin D

It’s important to not overdo vitamin D supplements since taking unsafe amounts of it can have negative effects on your health, like kidney problems, kidney stones, or hypercalcemia, a toxic condition where there is too much calcium in the blood. Generally, taking more than 4,000 IU per day is considered too much.

This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor before you take a supplement, and also ask for a test. If you think you get a decent amount of sun, eat foods with vitamin D regularly, and your levels are healthy, your doctor will likely say you don’t need any extra.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

How To Better Absorb Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and dissolves in the fat within your digestive tract. When your body absorbs this fat, it also absorbs the dissolved vitamin D.

Foods high in healthy fat, like fatty fish, avocado and olive oil, can help you absorb vitamin D.

If you have a digestive issue that hinders your ability to absorb fat, you also face an increased risk of a vitamin D deficiency.

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