- Guest Columnist, Liz Hopwood, BioVeda Health and Wellness Center
People are living longer than they have ever lived before, but is the quantity of life worth more than the quality? Many of our seniors suffer from painful joint disease like arthritis and osteoporosis. We are going to explore the benefits of Vitamin D and how not getting enough Vitamin D could affect our lives.
Vitamin D is essential to our bodies and helps keeps our bones strong. The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without enough Vitamin D we have a domino effect that negatively impacts health:
- Your body cannot form enough of the hormone calcitriol (known as the “active vitamin D”).
- Resulting in insufficient calcium absorption from the diet.
- Which leads to the body taking calcium from the skeleton, which weakens existing bone and prevents the formation of strong, new bone.
There are three ways to get Vitamin D:
- Skin – after the body has been exposed to sunlight, Vitamin D forms naturally
- Diet & Nutrition – from Vitamin D rich foods such as fortified cereals, butter, margarine and fish like salmon, tuna, and herring
- Supplementation – specifically Vitamin D3 (a high quality formulation is coming soon from BioVeda!)
There has been a study done by Dr. Denise Houston from the Sticht Center on Aging at Wake Forest University and her colleges on the relationship between vitamin D status and physical function in a group of relatively healthy seniors. The study was originally started to determine the relationship between body composition, long-term health conditions, and mobility in older adults. The study was conducted over a four year period. During this period of time participants’ blood was drawn to determine 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a precursor for activated vitamin D. They were trying to determine whether or not circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D was related to the participants’ physical function. It was concluded that the participants with the highest levels of Vitamin D had better physical function.
It cannot be stated that getting more vitamin D will actually lead to stronger muscles and preserve physical function. This is due to the fact that our if we get enough sunlight our bodies make vitamin D naturally. It can be concluded that participants with better physical function had higher vitamin D simply because they were outside more often. As Houston points out:
“Current dietary recommendations are based primarily on vitamin D’s effects on bone health. It is possible that higher amounts of vitamin D are needed for the preservation of muscle strength and physical function as well as other health conditions. However, clinical trials are needed to definitively determine whether increasing 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations through diet or supplements has an effect on these non-traditional outcomes.”
My husband’s grandmother has osteoporosis and it is one of the most painful and heartbreaking experiences we have ever watched her go through. Her back is completely curved and she can no longer lay down. She lives in Illinois and it makes you wonder if she would have gotten more vitamin D she could have prevented the severity of her disease?
Not getting enough Vitamin D is detrimental to our health and can cause serious and painful health issues in the future. We need Vitamin D to survive. Go outside, without sunscreen on, for a FEW minutes a day! That is all it will take to get the adequate amount of vitamin D naturally from the sun!