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Micronutrients are an important part of anyone’s diet. For seniors, these micronutrients are especially essential. One particularly crucial nutrient for seniors is vitamin D.

Between a healthy diet and beneficial habits, it’s not difficult to get the correct amount of vitamin D. And making the effort is worth it–vitamin D offers a wide range of health benefits ranging from mental health to stronger bones. Let’s take a closer look at vitamin D and its applications for your senior loved ones.

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Health Benefits

Optimal vitamin D levels are known to improve your health in a variety of ways. For example, making sure you have adequate vitamin D intake is recognized way to lower your risk of broken bones or bones softening with age. And when vitamin D supplements are consumed with calcium, doctors believe they contribute to lowered appetite, lower cancer risk, improved heart health, lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis, and a stronger immune system. This micronutrient can do your body a lot of good!

How to Get Vitamin D

Vitamin D occurs naturally in several different types of foods. Some of the best sources of vitamin D include:

  • Salmon
  • Swordfish
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Cod liver oil
  • Orange juice
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Egg yolks

Unfortunately, these foods may not provide enough vitamin D. Doctors usually encourage people to limit their consumption of these types of foods, since they can trigger problems like high cholesterol in large amounts. This limiting approach can keep you from getting all the nutrients you need from these sources alone. If you’re still suffering from vitamin D deficiency even after adjusting your diet, a supplement may be necessary.

Pro Tip: Your body can produce vitamin D naturally from sun exposure, but don’t overdo it! 15-20 minutes of direct sunlight, 3 times a week, gives your body the sunlight it needs without increasing other health risks.

Too Much Vitamin D

It’s possible to have too much of a good thing, and vitamin D is no exception. Vitamin D toxicity occurs when too many supplements cause excess calcium to accumulate in the body. When this calcium builds up in the bloodstream, the body responds by triggering frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Excess calcium can also lead to the formation of kidney stones as the body tries to expel the high levels of minerals. Always talk to your doctor before adding high-dosage or frequent vitamin D supplements to your regimen.

Take Advantage of Vitamin D’s Health Benefits

A vitamin D deficiency in a child or young adult poses enough health risks on its own. But for an already frail senior, a vitamin D deficiency can cause age-related health problems to worsen and decrease the patient’s quality of life. Ensuring your loved ones get the proper amount of vitamin D will contribute to stabilizing their overall health.

For more information on our senior health and nutrition programs, contact us.