Is Vitamin D Required For Healthy Aging?
Vitamin D is under the microscope and a huge amount of information is emerging. Most of you would know that we get this hormone (it’s not really a vitamin) by the sun’s interaction on our skin and from some foods.
The trick is to get the balance between getting too much sunlight (and risking skin damage and skin cancer) and getting enough sunlight for adequate Vitamin D production.
Last year my friend’s 17 year old was very sick with an immune disease, and it was discovered that she was deficient in Vitamin D. She lost a lot of time from school as she recovered. Many young people today do not spend enough time outdoors to get adequate sunshine because they are indoors using computers and watching TV. They are at risk of becoming deficient in Vitamin D.
What does Vitamin D3 do?
• Helps to maintain strong, healthy bones. When our bodies are tall and straight we look younger than when we are hunched over. A study reported in the Annuls of Internal Medicine in their August, 2008 issue showed that those women who had the lowest levels of vitamin D had the highest risk of hip fractures. Nearly 40,000 women were followed and the vitamin D status was measured by looking at their 25-hydroxy vitamin D level. They were divided into four groups depending on their vitamin D level. Those women who had the lowest vitamin D levels had the highest incidence of hip fractures.
• Supports efficient calcium absorption
• Necessary for normal bone mineralization
• Important for the maintenance of muscle strength
• Supports robust and healthy immune function (e.g. flu prevention)
• Supports a healthy heart. A study reported at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Conference in Orlando (March 2010) reported a strong association between reduced vitamin D levels and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Brent Muhlstein, MD and his colleagues followed over 27,000 subjects for a little over one year. Those with very low vitamin D levels were 45% more likely to develop heart disease, twice as likely to develop heart failure, 78% more likely to experience a stroke, and 77% more likely to die than those with normal levels.
It is wise to get your levels of Vitamin D tested. Vitamin D deficiency has become a serious nutritional problem throughout the world. In fact, the more we are learning about the health benefits of vitamin D it is becoming apparent that we need to get our vitamin D levels above 60 ng/ml, rather than above the 30 ng/ml most researchers are using as normal.
If required, I do recommend that Vitamin D3 is a part of an overall nutritional supplement program that includes a broad-spectrum multivitamin, multi-mineral, omega-3 and calcium/magnesium.