By Edeline Anne Goh
Vitamins C and E have always been under the spotlight for supplement lovers. However, it is only in recent times that Vitamin D started receiving the attention it deserves. Just like C and E, Vitamin D charts up a long, impressive list of benefits for your health.
Sunlight is actually the main source of Vitamin D. Unfortunately, exposure to sunlight is not always the most effective source for ‘Dynamic D’ intake. For instance, if you shy away from the sun for fear of getting too much of a tropical tan or simply prefer indoor activities you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits that sunlight provides. Even if you do venture outdoors, the use of sunscreen and sun protective clothing reduce the skin’s production of Vitamin D.
On top of that the required period of exposure for you to actually get a healthy supply of Vitamin D from the sun which is 30-60 minutes during bright, sunny days and up to 20 hours during winter and cloudy days makes direct sunlight as a source of Vitamin D somewhat unmanageable.
Thankfully, there are various other sources for you to obtain this great vitamin. Fresh produce like eggs, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring and dairy products are all rich in Vitamin D. Incorporating these into your diet is a brilliant way of avoiding Vitamin D deficiency. However, you must ensure that you take the ideal serving required. For instance, two servings of fatty fish are required to reach the recommended intake of 800 IU Vitamin D each day.
If this is not possible however, a good alternative are Vitamin D supplements which are best consumed with food to help absorption. These can be easily obtained from your neighbourhood pharmacy and do the trick just as well.
One of the most essential benefits of Vitamin D is calcium absorption which helps increase bone mineral density, slows down osteoporosis and reduces any incidence of bone fracture by up to 20 percent.
Apart from bone health, studies have proven that Vitamin D improves your immune system and is believed to be effective with weight management too.
It is also linked with the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. So, if you are suffering from hypertension, don’t be surprised if your doctor includes a bottle of Vitamin D supplements in your prescription.
Everyone needs a healthy amount of Vitamin D throughout their lifetime especially in their golden years. However, women are at a higher risk of health problems — especially bone health — if they suffer from Vitamin D deficiency.
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 suffer an osteoporotic fracture during the remaining years of their life. Post-menopausal women are especially in danger as they are prone to hormone imbalances, which may lead to a loss in bone mineral density. Therefore, people who are 60 years and above are recommended to consume 800IU to 1000IU of Vitamin D each day.
This does not mean that Vitamin D deficiency will not affect those in the younger age group because studies show that Vitamin D intake affects both genders from all age groups. So, it’s a good idea to consume the proper dosage of this significant supplement to prevent health problems. After all, prevention is better than cure!
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Are you at a higher risk?
People at a higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency include:
- Seniors especially those living in nursing homes.
- Individuals living in high altitudes with minimal exposure to sunlight.
- Individuals who are obese.
- Individuals who, for medical or cultural reasons, are unable to expose their skin to the sun.
- Individuals suffering from diseases that restrict Vitamin D intake through the intestine; for instance those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.