How Important is Vitamin D for Seniors?

seniors on a walk outside to get vitamin d.

How Important is Vitamin D for Seniors?

7 Feb, 2021

When considering the vitamins that seniors need, the most commonly discussed ones are usually vitamin C and vitamin B12. While these are assuredly essential to any healthy senior, vitamin D can often be overlooked, despite how crucial it is to overall health. Here we’ve listed some interesting information about why vitamin D is so important to keeping seniors happy and healthy.

Vitamin D and General Health

What is vitamin D, you might ask? The term refers to various fat-soluble hormones that are produced naturally by the human body when exposed to the ultraviolet rays of sunlight. Vitamin D can also be found in a number of different foods. These hormones help facilitate the body’s absorption of calcium, and can act as an anti-inflammatory agent, helping promote healthy cell growth while reducing the accumulation of plaque. Vitamin D also promotes healthy immune function and increases muscle growth, two things that are especially important for seniors.

Vitamin D can Improve Mental Health

Vitamin D also affects certain enzymes in the brain that can affect mood and mental health. Low levels of vitamin D can cause or exacerbate various mood-related problems like depression, insomnia, seasonal affective disorder, and irritability. Healthy vitamin D intake can even help stave off the effects of other brain- and mood-related conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and multiple sclerosis.

The Daily Value of Vitamin D can be Easily Found

Most people do not need a large amount of vitamin D to enjoy all the benefits of this powerful nutrient. Most nutritionists recommend a daily dosage of 600 IU or 15 mcg, but small amounts of extra vitamin D generally won’t be harmful. Significant overdoses of vitamin D (over 1000 mcg) are fairly difficult to reach but can lead to serious health issues.

Vitamin D can be Found in Many Sources

Vitamin D supplements are commonly available at most drugstores, but with a little research, you might find that you’re already ingesting a healthy level of vitamin D! The simplest source of vitamin D is found naturally in the human body, which makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. A relaxing walk during the day can provide the vitamin D required by most people, but for some seniors, a skin condition may preclude extended time in the sun. Foods that contain vitamin D include fish and fish oil, dairy, mushrooms, egg yolks, and fortified foods. With a balanced diet, most people will get their daily value of vitamin D from sunlight and food, but a doctor may prescribe supplements depending on your individual needs. 

Contact Community Care on Palm to learn more about how we keep our residents well-nourished.

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