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Vitamin D in the Elderly

Vitamin D deficiency is an issue of concern for more than just the elderly.  Many people who live in extreme Northern climates are very aware of how the lack of sunlight can affect their energy levels, their immune systems, their sleep cycles, etc.  Those who work nights & sleep days are also aware of the detrimental affect it has on their lives.  It's not surprising, then, that the elderly are a large group of individuals that struggle with a deficiency of this vitamin in their bodies.  They are often indoors more than out of doors, have slowing metabolisms, & have trouble absorbing vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin D contributes to good health in a number of ways in your body.  It helps your body absorb calcium & maintain strong bones & teeth.  It also helps to reduce inflammation, builds your immune system, & helps to regenerate cells.  All of these areas can be beneficial, especially for the elderly!  So, how do we make sure that they are getting adequate amounts of this amazing, life-giving vitamin into their systems?

Start with sunlight!  Look up the most beneficial times of year & day to get Vitamin D from the sun in your area.  During those times, be outside, when possible, during the safest parts of the day.  Be sure to have exposed skin in order to absorb the rays of the sun, but not for such lengths of time as to get sunburnt.

Eat up! A number of foods are fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, but the best food source of naturally occuring Vit. D is in cod liver oil.  We all know that the stuff is good for us, but some people just can't stomach the taste.  If you are one of those people, but would still like to enjoy the benefits of Vit. D from a food source instead of a supplement, try the cod liver oil that is lemon flavored, or even the capsules.  It may not take away the unplesant aftertaste, but you should at least be able to swallow it down!  You can also try sockeye salmon  & tuna as beneficial options.

Supplement!  If you've tried both of these ways & are still having a hard time getting your levels up to par, talk with your doctor about supplementing with Vit. D.  Find out if there are other things that can help increase the absorption rates of the supplement, as well as signs to look for that will assure you that it is helping to improve your deficiency. The benefits from Vit. D are so widespread & diverse, they are certainly worth taking notice.  So step up and begin utilizing their benefits for yourself & your elderly friends!


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