Seniors in northern climates like the Hoosier state have a higher risk for developing a vitamin D deficiency than their peers in warmer climates. This is especially true during the long months of winter.
Because most seniors stay indoors during the frosty winter months, they are not exposed to direct sunshine. The lack of sunlight results in less vitamin D being produced in the body. By the time spring rolls around, an Indiana senior may have developed a vitamin D deficiency.
Knowing how much vitamin D you need in a day and what steps you can take to work it in to your daily diet is an important part of successful aging.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?
Unfortunately, the experts disagree a bit on the numbers. Here’s what two leading agencies have to say:
The U.S. Food & Nutrition Board
They recommend daily doses of:
- 600 IU/day for children and adults
- 800 IU/day for seniors
The Vitamin D Council
Their recommendation is much higher for adults and children alike:
- 1,000 IU/day per 25 pounds for children
- 5,000 IU/day for adults and seniors
The Importance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a key role in successful aging. It impacts everything from sleep to heart disease and cancer prevention. Here are a few problems that can occur when the body is deficient:
- More incidences of Type 2 Diabetes
- Increased rates of hypertension
- Higher rates of cancers such as breast, thyroid, lung, colorectal and prostate
- Greater risk for a variety of cardiac-related diseases
- Noticeable cognitive decline
- Higher risk for Multiple Sclerosis
Recognizing a Vitamin D Deficiency
The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency are quite vague and are often dismissed as normal signs of aging. This can create a significant barrier that prevents you from recognizing a vitamin D deficiency in an Indiana senior you love.
A few common signs of a vitamin D deficiency include:
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Aches in joints
Talk with your loved one’s primary care physician if you are concerned about their risk. They can order a simple blood test that will quickly determine whether your fears are warranted and begin treatment if necessary.
The Best Vitamins and Minerals for Seniors has helpful information that you can review to learn more about vitamins and minerals and their impact on successful aging.
To stay updated on the latest research on successful aging, we invite you to follow the Five Star Senior Living communities on Facebook and to continue to read our blog. We share news and information in both places.