Recommended Sodium Intake For Older Adults
Sodium is another important mineral. In most Americans diets, sodium primarily comes from salt . Whenever you add salt to your food, you’re adding sodium. But the Dietary Guidelines shows that most of the sodium we eat doesnt come from our saltshakers its added to many foods during processing or preparation. We all need some sodium, but too much over time can lead to high blood pressure, which can raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
How much sodium is okay? People 51 and older should reduce their sodium intake to 2,300 mg each day. That is about one teaspoon of salt and includes sodium added during manufacturing or cooking as well as at the table when eating. If you have high blood pressure or prehypertension, limiting sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, about 2/3 teaspoon of salt, may be helpful. Preparing your own meals at home without using a lot of processed foods or salt will allow you to control how much sodium you get. Try using less salt when cooking, and dont add salt before you take the first bite. If you make this change slowly, you will get used to the difference in taste. Also look for grocery products marked low sodium, unsalted, no salt added, sodium free, or salt free. Also check the Nutrition Facts Label to see how much sodium is in a serving.
When To See A Doctor
Having a vitamin D deficiency could be caused by or cause serious health conditions. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are essential for maintaining healthy bones. A deficiency can lead to inadequate calcium absorption that can cause osteoporosis, osteopenia, or rickets in children.
Rickets can be serious for childrens bone health because it causes soft bones and skeletal deformities. Osteomalacia is the same condition but for adults, which sometimes leads to falls and broken bones that are hard to heal. With osteoporosis, bones become thinner and are therefore more likely to break or cause posture issues.
Sometimes, being deficient in vitamin D isnt just caused by not getting enough sunshine. Certain health conditions affect how the body absorbs or processes the vitamin. Kidney and liver diseases can lower the amount of an enzyme that the body needs to use vitamin D. Celiac disease, Crohns disease, and cystic fibrosis all cause the intestines to absorb less vitamin D. Even being overweight can lead to a deficiency because fat cells store vitamin D, keeping it from being easily used.
What Are Good Sources Of Vitamin D
You can get your vitamin D daily dosage from three main sources: the sun, food, and supplements. While you can spend 10-15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen every day to increase your vitamin D intake, you might be worried about damaging UV rays. Thats why its important to ensure your diet includes plenty of vitamin D-rich foods. Good sources include fatty fish, cod liver oils, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and mushrooms, as well as vitamin D-fortified foods . Finally, taking a vitamin D supplement can fill in any nutritional gaps.
Learn More: How Much Vitamin D Do You Get from the Sun?
The Bottom Line
Vitamin D is important for maintaining bone health, muscle functioning, and immunity. But with up to 40% of U.S. adults having a vitamin D deficiency, you might be wondering, How much vitamin D should I take? The daily dosage depends on a variety of factors , but in general, its recommended that most adults take 15mcg or 600 IU of vitamin D per day.
Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.
Learn More About Vitamins & Supplements:
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice or a recommendation for any specific product. Consult your health care provider for more information.
You May Like: How To Take Vitamin C Tablets
Q: Do Some People Naturally Have Lower Vitamin D Levels Than Others
A: People with darker skin pigmentation tend to have lower levels, as do people who use sunscreen, dont spend much time outdoors, or are overweight or obese. This is because vitamin D is fat soluble, so it gets trapped in fatty tissue and cant be used by the body as it should be. Gastrointestinal surgery, like gastric bypass, makes it difficult to absorb vitamin D. And as we age, we dont absorb vitamin D well, and we produce less.
Sign Up for Our Free Newsletter
One of the best things you can do to protect and improve your health is to stay informed. Your Health is a FREE e-newsletter that serves as your smart, simple connection to the world-class expertise of Johns Hopkins.
Q: Why Is Vitamin D Important
A: Research I have done in this area has found that people with low blood levels of vitamin D have a greater risk of a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, diabetes or high blood pressure later in life. In pregnant women, low vitamin D levels are linked to pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and adverse pregnancy outcomes. No matter your age or stage of life, having adequate vitamin D levels is important.
Read Also: How Is Vitamin C Manufactured
Vitamin D Toxicity: How Does It Happen
Vitamin D toxicity implies that vitamin D levels in the body are so high that they cause harm.
Its also termed hypervitaminosis D.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. In contrast to water-soluble vitamins, the body has no easy way of getting rid of fat-soluble vitamins.
For this reason, excessive amounts may build up inside the body.
The exact mechanism behind vitamin D toxicity is complicated and isnt fully understood at this point.
However, we know that the active form of vitamin D functions in a similar way as a steroid hormone.
It travels inside cells, telling them to turn genes on or off.
Usually, most of the bodys vitamin D is in storage, bound to either vitamin D receptors or carrier proteins. Very little free vitamin D is available (
- Sufficient: 2030 ng/mL, or 5075 nmol/L
- Safe upper limit: 60 ng/mL, or 150 nmol/L
- Toxic: above 150 ng/mL, or 375 nmol/L
A daily vitamin D intake of 1,0004,000 IU should be enough to ensure optimal blood levels for most people.
Blood levels in the range of 2030 ng/mL are usually considered sufficient. The safe upper limit is considered to be about 60 ng/mL, but people with symptoms of toxicity usually have levels above 150 ng/mL.
How Can I Raise My Vitamin D Level Quickly
While it may be tempting to recharge your vitamin D with a bit of sunbathing, Doebrich says this is not the most efficient method to maintain appropriate levels year-round. The sunshine approach is typically recommended only when someone has a fat malabsorption issue, meaning your body isn’t taking in vitamin D very efficiently, explains Emily Clairmont, RD, a registered dietitian with the University of Vermont Medical Center.
Even then, it only takes about 20 minutes in the sun to get the vitamin D you need for the day. Beyond that, sunlight can actually start degrading the nutrient in your skin, according to research published in BMC Public Health.
And, you may suspect what’s coming next: “The increased risk of skin cancer is not worth it when there are other methods of replenishing ,” Doebrich says.
Read Also: Does Vitamin D Cause Nausea
What Is Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as a steroid hormone in the body.
There are two types of vitamin D in the diet:
Vitamin D2 : is found in some mushrooms.
Vitamin D3 : is found in oily fish, fish liver oil, and egg yolks.
D3 is more potent in these two types and raises blood levels of vitamin D by almost twice as much as D2.
A large amount of vitamin D can also be produced on your skin when exposed to UV rays from the sun. Any excess vitamin D is stored in your body fat for later use.
Every cell in your body can absorb vitamin D. This vitamin is involved in many processes, including bone health, immune function, and cancer prevention.
Take A Vitamin D Supplement
If you’re not meeting your vitamin D needs through dietary means alone, the experts say you should speak with your doctor about taking a supplement. There are two types of vitamin D supplements available: Vitamin D2, derived from plants, and vitamin D3, derived from animal sources.
The experts suggest you opt for D3 when possibleand a review of studies published in Nutrients points to why: D3 routinely works better and faster than a D2 supplement at both raising and sustaining the body’s vitamin D levels.
While animal-based D3 supplements may not be suitable for vegans and vegetarians, Clairmont says D3 can now be sourced from sheep lanolin. “Though this is still from an animal, no animal is harmed in the process,” she explains. That said, if you follow a strict vegan lifestyle and want to stick with vitamin D2, this dietitian recommends you speak with your doctor about whether you need a higher dose. For more wisdom into all this, read The 4 Best Vitamin D Supplements Depending on Your Specific Needs, from Registered Dietitians.
Don’t Miss: What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin D Supplements
Check Your Supplements More Isnt Always Better
For Portlanders, moderate deficiency in the sunshine vitamin is about as common as a cloudy day. Since we cant get the daily sun exposure needed to synthesize our own vitamin D year-round, many of us pop a supplement to keep our levels in check and in most cases, thats a good thing. But in some cases, we could be taking too much and that can be a problem.
You need vitamin D to help you absorb calcium, among other benefits. But extra high blood levels of vitamin D may encourage your body to stash extra calcium where its not wanted in your kidneys, for example, which is why high levels of vitamin D make you more vulnerable to kidney stones. Calcium deposits in the arteries are another potential concern. High vitamin D levels also can cause nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, confusion, loss of appetite, dehydration and frequent urination.
When people have too much vitamin D in their blood, its almost always caused by over-use of dietary supplements. That doesnt mean you should stop taking vitamin D altogether, but do take a closer look at how much youre taking to make sure youre not overdoing it.
Enough vs. too much where do you draw the line?
The recommendations may vary depending on your age, health, ethnicity and even whom you ask. But as a general guideline, the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements recommends getting 15 mcg of vitamin D daily from the age of 1 through 70, and 20 mcg from age 71 on.
Two ways we get into trouble
Can Vitamin D Prevent Or Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Cardiovascular Disease Taking vitamin D supplements does not reduce the risk ofheart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease, according to the findings of a randomized, controlled clinical trial involving more than 25,000 participants that was published in the aforementioned January 2019 in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Cancer In the same study, researchers found that vitamin D supplementation was not found to reduce the risk of cancer in participants overall. However, those who had developed cancer and were taking vitamin D were less likely to die early than those who took a placebo. Researchers also found a possible reduction in cancer risk for African Americans, and they called for further study to confirm those results.
Rheumatoid arthritis A small observational study of 44 people with RA and 25 controls found that vitamin D deficiency appeared to be more prevalent among people with RA, suggesting these people may benefit from taking a supplement. But a separate small randomized, controlled trial found that while a vitamin D supplement helped people with RA build stronger bones than the control group, the supplements didnt result in other expected health improvements.
Read Also: How Often Can You Take Vitamin C
Men Or Women At Risk For Fracture Or Osteoporosis
1,200 mg calcium and 2040 mcg of vitamin D
There is evidence of risks of taking too much calcium through supplements. However, postmenopausal women at increased risk for fractures or osteoporosis need more calcium and vitamin D. If a woman with these characteristics is meeting her RDA through food, it is best that she not add a calcium supplement. If she does not eat dairy, she may need a supplement. If she has a balanced diet, she may only need an additional 500 mg of calcium.
When Should People Consider Supplements
While there is some controversy about whether vitamin D supplements are necessary, Jagim said there are some populations who may need an extra source of the vitamin, such as those living in areas with less sunlight, such as northern areas.
“A lot of people will actually fall below the lower range, to the point where they could be classified as vitamin D deficient, mostly because we’re not getting the sun exposure that we do during other points of the year,” Jagim told TODAY. “Vitamin D deficiency in this part of the country can be as high as 40 to 60 percent at certain times of the year.”
Low levels of vitamin D can lead to problems like rickets, hair loss, and osteoporsis. However, Jagim said there is some skepticism about using supplements to bump up vitamin D.
“Some people are really just against dietary supplements in all situations and they think it’s best to always opt for whole foods first, which is a good strategy and I certainly agree with that,” he said. “But there’s the exception with certain nutrients like this, where it’s going to be really challenging to get levels in the right range because we just are limited in terms of being able to get that vitamin from natural sources like the sun.”
You May Like: What Is Vitamin B12 5000 Mcg Sublingual
How Long Does It Take For Vitamin D To Work
Many factors can influence how long it will take for your vitamin D levels to hit a healthy range, such as how well you absorb vitamin D, any underlying health conditions you have, and your initial blood serum levels. For instance, the National Institutes of Health says that the greater your starting deficiency, the longer it will take for levels to improve.
In general, most protocols aim to reach ideal levels within about three months, Clairmont says. But it’s important to stick to your healthcare provider’s plan and get your levels checked until you reach your goal. “Some people see an increase after six weeks,” Doebrich says. “Others need to take supplements for four months before they feel better.”
Ways To Get Vitamin D
You can get vitamin D from sunlight exposure, dietary sources, and supplements.
Getting ample vitamin D through sun exposure can be straightforward, but you do need to make sure you donât get sunburned .
In food, vitamin D can be found in beef liver, egg yolks, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna. There are also many fortified foods, like milk and dairy products, that provide your body with vitamin D.
Recommended Reading: What Vitamin Is Good For
Should Everyone Get Their Vitamin D Levels Checked Generally No
Karl Insogna, MD, director of Yale Medicines Bone Center
Most people should be fine. Testing is important only for certain populations: for people who are institutionalized for patients with a gastrointestinal disorder or osteoporosis those who have had weight loss surgery those on anti-convulsant medications and children who are immobilized and not outside and active. If youre over 70, I recommend getting your levels checked at least one time.
People whose cultural or religious beliefs require them to be fully clothed, especially if theyre living in northern climates, and whose dietary habits include little or no dairy , may also be vitamin D-deficient and should be tested.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need And Are You Getting Enough
As we edge more into winter this year, concerns about being unwell are skyrocketing perhaps quicker than in any other year. But instead of looking to the latest trends to stay healthy, a new study has suggested that turning back to traditional ways to fight off colds and flu could be the answer namely, its vitamin D that has come to the rescue once again.
A new study in BMJ Nutrition Prevention and Health, conducted by a team from NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition & Health in Cambridge and Imperial College London, has analysed data from over 600 adults to look at whether certain vitamins reduce the risk of respiratory infections. It was found that those taking supplements containing vitamin A and D were significantly less likely to report respiratory issues.
Following this, the studys lead authors have concluded that vitamin D supplements are critical in ensuring that people maintain a good level of vitamin D in their diets, as there wont be enough through food alone. Additionally, Shane McAuliffe from the NNEdPro Nutrition and Covid-19 Taskforce has said that due to the low cost and widespread availability of vitamins, they are a sensible solution to solving deficiency during the winter months.
Read Also: What Vitamins Help Lower Blood Sugar
How Much Vitamin D Do I Need
In November 2010, the Institute of Medicine’s expert committee set a new “dietary reference intake” for vitamin D.
Assuming that a person gets virtually no vitamin D from sunshine — and that this person gets adequate amounts of calcium — the IOM committee recommends getting the following amounts of vitamin D from diet or supplements :
- Infants age 0 to 6 months: adequate intake, 400 IU/day maximum safe upper level of intake, 1,000 IU/day
- Infants age 6 to 12 months: adequate intake, 400 IU/day maximum safe upper level of intake, 1,500 IU/day
- Age 1-3 years: adequate intake, 600 IU/day maximum safe upper level of intake, 2,500 IU/day
- Age 4-8 years: adequate intake, 600 IU/day maximum safe upper level of intake, 3,000 IU/day
- Age 9-70: adequate intake, 600 IU/day maximum safe upper level of intake, 4,000 IU/day
- Age 71+ years: adequate intake, 800 IU/day maximum safe upper level of intake, 4,000 IU/day
That’s not enough, says Boston University vitamin D expert Michael Holick, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, physiology, and biophysics, Boston University Medical Center. Holick recommends a dose of 1,000 IU a day of vitamin D for both infants and adults — unless they’re getting plenty of safe sun exposure.
In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that breastfed infants receive 400 IU of vitamin D every day until they are weaned. This doubled the AAP’s previous recommendation.