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Vitamin D for Aging Population

The concern for low vitamin D levels in older adults is well-documented.  Studies have shown that adults over 60 with low vitamin D levels have a greater risk of serious illness and fatality than those with higher levels.

The aging population are often times less likely to spend time in the sun, have fewer ‘receptors’ in their skin that convert sunlight to vitamin D, have diets lacking in the vitamin, and also may have trouble absorbing vitamin D even if they do incorporate it into their diets, due to aging kidneys.  The risk for vitamin D deficiency in people over 65 years of age is very high.  Surprisingly, as many as 40% of older people even in sunny climates don’t have enough vitamin D in their systems.

While the latest analysis concluded that vitamin D research was similar across the globe, there were some other key observations researchers made.  Individuals in European and Middle East countries had lower vitamin D values than those in North America. Also, age-related vitamin D levels (older adults versus middle-age adults and younger) were observed only in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions.

How does it work?

Vitamin D is required for the regulation of the minerals calcium and phosphorus found in the body.  It also plays an important role in maintaining proper bone structure.  Sun exposure is an easy, reliable way for most people to get vitamin D.  The necessary exposure time varies with age, skin type, season, time of day, etc.

People who don’t get enough sun, especially people living in Canada and the northern half of the US, are especially at risk.  Vitamin D deficiency  is occurring even in sunny climates, possibly because people are staying indoors more, covering up when outside, or using sunscreens consistently these days to reduce skin cancer risk.

If you’re at risk for Vitamin D deficiency, talk to your doctor. Supplements, dietary changes, and safe exposure to sun can all help boost levels in the body–
Many experts have recommended older adults receive more than the RDA of vitamin D; between 400 and 600 IUs daily to ensure their bodies are getting adequate vitamin D.

For men, Dr. Bellman recommends that they should take at least 200 IU any where upwards to 5000 IU depending on blood levels and sun exposure.

For an appointment or consultation with Dr. Gary Bellman, please contact the office or call 818-912-1899