Springtime and the Benefits of Vitamin D in Aging

By April 16, 2015Archives

It’s common knowledge that Vitamin D is needed for the healthy formation of bones and teeth. We also know that Spring brings feelings of renewal. So what do these two things have to do with one another?

New flowers, green lawns, and light breezes can all contribute to our sense of well-being but Springtime brings health benefits, too. In fact, your body can make Vitamin D from sunlight!

What is Vitamin D good for?
Maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels is very important for our health. Vitamin D helps conserve integrity of your bones and teeth to prevent osteoporosis and avoid tooth loss. Vitamin D also helps lower blood pressure, prevent diabetes and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, lower your chance of heart attack or stroke. Additionally, it may help to prevent certain kinds of cancer.

What if you don’t have enough Vitamin D?
Many people are deficient in Vitamin D, but the elderly may be particularly affected. A recent study showed that Vitamin D may have a greater influence on the aging body and brain than we thought. Low Vitamin D levels are now thought to be associated with a decreased ability to perform certain tasks in those over the age of 55.

In this study, participants were asked to perform a number of routine activities such as cutting their toenails, walking up and down stairs, getting dressed and undressed, walking alone outside, and using public transportation.

Researchers found that men and women who had low Vitamin D levels were not as able to perform these ordinary tasks, while those whose levels were in the “normal” range, had less difficulty. The scientists were not able to prove that low Vitamin D levels were the cause of the disabilities but did show that Vitamin D levels may have an effect in our ability to perform normal activities as we age.

How do I get Vitamin D?
Vitamin D can be obtained through the diet as many foods naturally contain Vitamin D. You may also take vitamin supplements, but should consult a doctor before adding these to a diet. The good news is that your body can manufacture its own Vitamin D – with sunlight!

Letting your own skin make Vitamin D may be the best way to ensure that you have enough. Just 10 to 15 minutes, two or three times a week in direct sunlight can give you all the Vitamin D you need. You do need exposure to both UVA and UVB rays so you must be in direct sunlight without wearing sunscreen. It is Springtime! Get out, enjoy the sun, and make some Vitamin D. Your body will thank you for it!

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