It is vital for seniors to get all of the proper vitamins and nutrients that they need to ensure that their bodies age in a healthy manner. While each and every nutrient plays an important role, one key vitamin that seniors especially need to stay on top of is Vitamin D, as it is responsible for so many aspects of health. Those with a Vitamin D deficiency can face health issues such as bone softening, nausea, cognitive decline, and so much more.
Here at our retirement community in Oceanside, we have some reasons why seniors should consider taking a Vitamin D supplement. Continue reading to learn more about why maintaining Vitamin D levels is so important, as well as a few tips about how to make sure you are getting enough each day!
1.) Improves Health and Happiness
In this day and age, concerns regarding mental health are rising to the forefront and are being prioritized at long last. Mental health matters, even for seniors. Issues such as senior depression can be extremely concerning, especially if that person lives alone, as it can lead to isolation.
In one 2017 study, it was found that there was a connection between low levels of Vitamin D and depressive symptoms, such as a lack of sleep, loss of enjoyment, and an overall disinterest in spending time with others. Those with higher levels of Vitamin D did not have these same tendencies.
2.) Promotes Bone Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 16% of American seniors suffer from a condition known as osteoporosis. This is a disease where one’s bones are less dense, meaning that they are more prone to breaks. Falls are also the leading cause of death in elderly Americans. To decrease the risk of breaks and to combat osteoporosis, it’s imperative to get enough vitamin D.
3.) Prevents Cancers and Infections
Staying on top of your health means being proactive and taking preventive measures to help fight off any kind of cancers or infections. Many doctors and scientists believe that Vitamin D can serve as a good resource for fighting a wide array of diseases, ranging from the common flu all the way up to more serious issues, such as colon cancer.
This is due in part to Vitamin D’s ability to manage immune cells. By getting the recommended amount of this nutrient in your body, you will be able to decrease the risk of getting some cancers, colon cancer and blood cancer specifically. Plus, Vitamin D can bolster one’s immune system in general, meaning that you have a better chance of combating most illnesses as you encounter them.
4.) Protects Oral Health
As we age, it can become all the more difficult to manage our oral health. Tooth decay, gum disease, and gingivitis are a few common oral health concerns that seniors are prone to face. Luckily, however, Vitamin D can actually serve as a strong line of defense against these types of diseases.
In one study, 67 participants were examined. Those who had higher levels of Vitamin D present in their bodies had a much lower chance of contracting oral diseases, the primary concerns being tooth decay and loss. Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption, which is instrumental for bone health – and yes, that includes your teeth!
5.) Lowers the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease is more well known and being closely studied thanks to the work of individuals such as Michael J. Fox and his foundation. This disease occurs when neurons in the brain deteriorate, leading to muscle tremors and rigidity. It is most commonly found in older adults. As a matter of fact, over 5% of adults over the age of 65 are at risk for developing the condition.
We have good news, though – getting the recommended amount of Vitamin D on a daily basis can actually help to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. In fact, it can even work to reduce symptoms in those who have already been diagnosed.
How to Increase Your Vitamin D Intake
Okay, now that you know why you should increase your Vitamin D, let’s find out how you can do so! Below are a few suggestions we have, all courtesy of our team here at our retirement community in Oceanside.
Soaking up the sun can be a great, all natural way to increase your Vitamin D levels! Summertime is in full swing, so now is the perfect time to get outdoors. Take your family pet for a walk around the retirement community in Oceanside or go for a quick dip in the pool. Just remember, if you plan on staying out for too long, it’s best to pack some sunscreen.
If you are a veggie lover, then you will definitely want to add a few mushrooms to your favorite dish! Even 4-5 sliced white mushrooms will give you the daily allotted dose of Vitamin D you need. Use mushrooms to spice up your favorite pasta recipe or add a little more flavor to your flatbreads and pizzas.
Milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, ice cream – you name it, and your favorite dairy products come loaded with Vitamin D. Include these into your regular meal plan and you are bound to get all the Vitamin D you need.
Fish and Seafood
Did you know that just three ounces of cooked salmon comes loaded with about 80% of the daily Vitamin D you need? Other seafoods, such as shrimp, oysters, and tuna are all great sources as well. Next time you think you are low on this essential nutrient, cook up a seafood feast!
If you have dietary restrictions, such as being lactose intolerant or if you have a shellfish allergy, you might have trouble naturally getting all of the Vitamin D you need through diet alone. That’s okay, there is still a solution: a Vitamin D or calcium supplement. These come in many different forms, including a chewy tablet, a gummy, or even a traditional vitamin pill. Either way, they are available over the counter at your local pharmacy or drugstore.
If you have any questions or concerns about starting this daily vitamin supplement, be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor prior to beginning!