Staying Healthy As The Years Go By
As we get older, we have to get more creative and involved in staying healthy. Planning regular visits to the doctor and getting blood tests can help us stay on top of vitamin deficiencies and other issues that may cause health problems. Fortunately, if you have a B12 deficiency, its relatively easy to get a diagnosis and start a treatment plan.
For other ways to stay healthy, Snug has you covered. Visit our blog for more information on how to stay active, including tips for yoga, tai chi, core exercises, and balance exercises for seniors. Youll find advice ranging from the best vitamins for seniors to tips on recovering from surgeries such as hip replacements and bunion surgery.
We also make it easy for you to stay connected in an increasingly digital world. Discover how to stay in touch with loved ones with the best cell phones for seniors, and learn how to stay connected with online forums. The Snug app is also a free and friendly way to get daily check-ins that can give you peace of mind and freedom. The app will check in with you each day. If somethings amiss, itll notify your emergency contacts.
Why Care About Vitamin D
Vitamin D supports the growth, development and maintenance of bones and helps regulate blood pressure and the activity of immune system cells like macrophages and T cells. It also plays a critical role in promoting cell differentiation. Women who don’t get enough vitamin D may be more likely to develop cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and insulin-dependent diabetes.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need
Despite widespread assertions in the popular and scientific press that many Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, the term “deficiency” isn’t strictly accurate. The official definition of a vitamin deficiency means that specific health problems stem solely from the lack of a specific nutrient. An actual vitamin D deficiency results in bone disease, such as rickets, which is rare in the United States.
On the other hand, lower-than-optimal levels of specific vitamins, including vitamin D, may increase your risk of numerous health problems, even though they are not solely responsible for these problems. “Insufficiency” may be a better term for these lower levels than “vitamin D deficiency”.
So far, the most clearly established benefit of vitamin D is that it helps the body absorb calcium and therefore promotes healthy bones. However, a steady drumbeat of studies beginning in the 1980s started to build a case that low blood levels of D were connected with a variety of chronic health problems, leading to claims by a number of researchers that the RDA for D was way too low. The confusion and controversy surrounding optimal vitamin D intake and blood values prompted the U.S. and Canadian governments to request that the Institute of Medicine review the evidence on vitamin D and calcium and update the DRIs.
To learn more about the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy, read Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
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How Can You Boost Intake
While classic ideas around vitamin D revolve around the sun, Konstantin says that simply having a couple of hours in the sunshine wont be enough to create a good level of the essential vitamin in the body. Nature has come up with a complex mechanism: to produce this micro-element, a person should not only be in direct sunlight from 11 am until 2 pm without any UV protection on the skin, but also needs to be physically active for several hours. When this vitamin is being developed in the skin under ultraviolet radiation, it needs to enter the bloodstream. This is only possible when exercising. If we just lie on the beach and sunbathe, vitamin D is also produced, but then it is instantly destroyed, without bringing any benefit to our body.
This means that the vitamin, as the NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition & Health study suggests, needs to come from other sources. Pareena Patel, Lloyds Pharmacy pharmacist, says that vitamin D tablets should offer the extra boost and shiitake mushrooms are particularly good for increasing vitamin D and lentinan levels in the body. While Uta suggests that, Oily fish is the only true rich source of vitamin D. Liver, eggs and butter provide small amounts.
Vitamin D: What You Need To Know About The Sunshine Vitamin
While some of the health claims around vitamin D might have been exaggerated, the buzz around this nutrient isn’t without reason. Experts agree it’s the one vitamin we should all be taking in the UK, especially during the winter months.
This is because vitamin D plays a key role in our immune and bone health, and we can’t get enough from the sun between October and March. It’s also hard to get enough from diet alone.
Find out why vitamin D is important, how much you need to take, which vitamin D supplements are cheapest and what your options are, and whether it really can boost your immune system.
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What Happens If I Take Too Much Vitamin D
Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body . This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.
If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people.
Do not take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful. This applies to adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly, and children aged 11 to 17 years.
Children aged 1 to 10 years should not have more than 50 micrograms a day. Infants under 12 months should not have more than 25 micrograms a day.
Some people have medical conditions that mean they may not be able to safely take as much. If in doubt, you should consult your doctor.
If your doctor has recommended you take a different amount of vitamin D, you should follow their advice.
You cannot overdose on vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. But always remember to cover up or protect your skin if you’re out in the sun for long periods to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.
Page last reviewed: 03 August 2020 Next review due: 03 August 2023
What Is Your Current Vitamin D Status
If you are already at an optimum level for vitamin D, this personalized maintenance dose will keep you at optimum.
But if you are currently deficient in vitamin D, a maintenance dose is not really enough to overcome your deficiency. Eventually it would, but it might take between six months and a year before you would reach optimum vitamin D blood levels.
That is why we recommend that people who are vitamin D deficient should take a larger dose of vitamin D for 60 days, to quickly bring their vitamin D blood level to optimum. See vitamin D deficiency treatment.
The best way to know your vitamin D status is to take a vitamin D blood test. This is also the only way to be certain of your new vitamin D status once you start supplementing. We recommend a blood test three months after starting supplementation, and thereafter once a year.
If you dont take a blood test, you can estimate your vitamin D status, but because people vary in the way their bodies make and use vitamin D, your estimate may not be completely accurate.
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Are There Any Risks From Taking Calcium And Vitamin D
It is possible to get too much calcium and vitamin D. Older women who take calcium supplements need to be careful that they do not take too much.
The amount of calcium and vitamin D you get every day from all sourcesincluding food, sunshine, and supplementsshould not be more than the amount shown by age in the table below for “upper level intake.” Upper level intake does not mean that most people need this amount or should try to get it. It means this is the maximum amount of calcium or vitamin D that is safe to take.Health Canada recommendations for upper level intake of calcium and vitamin D by age
If you get too much calcium, you may get kidney stones, and if you get too much vitamin D, your kidneys and tissues may be damaged.footnote 1 Too much calcium can cause constipation. Too much vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia which could lead to nausea and vomiting, constipation, and weakness.
Getting too much vitamin D increases the amount of calcium in your blood. If this happens, you can become confused and have an irregular heart rhythm.
Calcium and vitamin D may interact with other medicines. A drug interaction happens when a medicine you take changes how another medicine works. One medicine may make another one less effective, or the combination of the medicines may cause a side effect you don’t expect. Some drug interactions are dangerous.
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.
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The Possible Link Between Vitamin D And Chronic Conditions
Generally, research on the role vitamin D may play in disease prevention and management is murky. Particularly with regard to the benefits of taking supplements, most of the studies have been observational or done on small groups . Until recent years, there has been a lack of large randomized, controlled trials, which are the gold standard for medical research because such studies point to cause-and-effect relationships between factors. The data now coming in from such trials fails to back up previous claims about the benefits of vitamin D supplementation.
But one thing is for sure: The scientific communitys interest in vitamin D clearly isnt waning. Heres what some of the latest research suggests about how the vitamin may affect certain chronic conditions.
Bone Health As mentioned, vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium in the gut. So its no surprise that vitamin D supplements have long been recommended for preserving bone health. However, recent research has found that they dont live up to the hype. A review of more than 81 clinical trials published in November 2018 in TheLancet Diabetes and Endocrinology found that vitamin D supplements dont prevent fractures or falls, or affect bone mineral density to a degree that is clinically meaningful.
How To Calculate Your Personal Vitamin D Dosage
Vitamin D Dosage needs to be tailored to each person. This is partly because the dose you need depends on the vitamin D level you are trying to achieve.
This is what we mean by vitamin D levels
25D Blood levels
The optimum range is where vitamin D most effectively promotes good health and fights disease.
Would you like to learn how to maintain this optimum level? It will take less time than drinking a cup of coffee!
In fact, you only need to know two things
There are two steps.
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Will Vitamin D Prevent Dementia Cancer And/or Premature Death
Several studies have identified an association between vitamin D deficiency and diagnoses such as Alzheimers disease and cancer. In other words, people with these conditions tend to have low vitamin D blood levels.
But an association isnt the same thing as causation, so its not yet known whether vitamin D deficiency causes these diseases. Its also not yet known whether taking vitamin D supplements will reduce ones chance of developing these diseases.
To date, most randomized studies of vitamin D to improve health outcomes have been negative.
Although its possible that low vitamin D levels might be a factor in developing certain diseases, its probably a small effect. Cancer and Alzheimers, after all, generally seem to be the result of lots of little factors genetics, epigenetics, stress, immune function, nutrition, inflammation, toxins interacting over time.
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine concluded: This thorough review found that information about the health benefits of vitamin D supplementation beyond bone healthbenefits often reported in the mediawere from studies that provided often mixed and inconclusive results and could not be considered reliable.
How Does Vitamin D Affect Womens Health
Sometimes a little bit of sunshine is the best medicine. A walk in the park or a bike ride probably puts you in a good mood, and a moderate amount of sun is also good for your physical health. While youre outside soaking up rays, your body is busy making vitamin D. Thats good news, because this hormone thats boosted by exposure to sunlight plays an important role in womens health.
We have known for a long time about vitamin Ds critical role in bone health. More recently, though, vitamin D has been linked to having a potential role in a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, inflammation and autoimmune disease.
Erin Michos, M.D., associate director of preventive cardiology at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, explains why vitamin D is important for womens health and how to make sure youre getting enough.
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Effects Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
When you dont get enough vitamin B12, you may experience deficiency symptoms. These may include confusion, depression, difficulty recalling or remembering information, and tiredness. Chronic deficiency may result in weight loss, loss of appetite, and digestive issues. Left untreated, a vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to , including balance problems, tremors, an increased risk of falling, and numbness or tingling in your extremities.
Chronic vitamin B12 deficiency in blood levels can dramatically affect the brain and nervous system. It may cause nerve damage, and studies show low vitamin B12 levels may be a risk factor for problems in cognitive function such as dementia and psychosis.
Older people who dont get enough vitamin B12 may be at higher risk for anemia and infections. Symptoms of anemia caused by a vitamin deficiency include a sore mouth, diarrhea, and pasty or yellowing skin. Vitamin B12 along with another B vitamin, folic acid plays a key role in producing red blood cells, which deliver oxygen to your organs.
When you dont get enough vitamin B12 or you have a folate deficiency, your organs suffer from a lack of oxygen, meaning they function less effectively. The result is known as megaloblastic anemia, a disorder where your body produces inadequate red blood cells.
Stomach Pain Constipation Or Diarrhea
Stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea are common digestive complaints that are often related to food intolerances or irritable bowel syndrome.
However, they can also be a sign of elevated calcium levels caused by vitamin D intoxication .
These symptoms may occur in those receiving high doses of vitamin D to correct deficiency. As with other symptoms, response appears to be individualized even when vitamin D blood levels are similarly elevated.
In one case study, a boy developed stomach pain and constipation after taking improperly labeled vitamin D supplements, whereas his brother experienced elevated blood levels without any other symptoms .
In another case study, an 18-month-old child who was given 50,000 IU of vitamin D3 for 3 months experienced diarrhea, stomach pain, and other symptoms. These symptoms resolved after the child stopped taking the supplements .
Summary Stomach pain, constipation, or diarrhea may result from large vitamin D doses that lead to elevated calcium levels in the blood.
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Can You Take Too Much Vitamin D
Too much vitamin D can be harmful. It is not possible for the body to make too much vitamin D from sun exposure.
Having too much in the body usually results from taking supplements. However, it is very rare and usually only occurs when people take a very high dose for an extended period, such as more than a year.
The maximum quantity of vitamin D that a person can take before it causes health problems is . Symptoms of having too much vitamin D in the blood include:
Not Getting Enough Vitamin D
We dont need vitamin D from food or sunlight every day. But if you dont get enough over a longer period of time, you wont have enough vitamin D for good health known as vitamin D deficiency. This is very common in the UK around one in five adults and one in six children dont have enough vitamin D.
Some people are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency than others. Supplements and eating foods which contain vitamin D can help.
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